Forget what Bink says.
Just go out and by a rEvo CCR. No one ever regretted that purchase.
In all seriousness, wrong gear selection can cost you huge amounts of $$ and it can also cause people to give up diving due to frustration and lack of comfort.
Buy quality products that are a good comfortable fit. Dont be afraid to buy second hand gear as long as its quality stuff. I'd much rather spend $500 on a second hand set of top quality regs than $300 on a new set of mid range regs.
If you plan to dive all year round ( and why wouldnt you) you will need a thick wetsuit and perhaps some undergarments and a separate hood or an integrated hood. I prefer a front zip suit. One reason is if I need to take a leak I can unzip from the bottom of the zip, pull the old fella out and relieve myself while protecting it from curious fish and not have to worry about pissing in my wetsuit. Lets face it, pissing in your suit gives you a lovely warm feeling, but it really stinks afterwards!
Sequal Wetsuits are made in NZ and are a quality product. I keep saying I will by one but my current suit keeps on going, and when it does get a tear in it Sequal repair it for me.
Dont bother buying tanks unless you are doing 15 or more dives per year, it will be cheaper to hire them. If you do, get the largest steel tanks you can comfortably use. Best you have 2 of them to allow for 2 dives a day and let should be the same tanks so you dont have to change your set up and weights when you change your tank over.
IMHO Items you should buy first..
Mask..... Must be a good fit. I prefer a black skirt than clear.
Snorkel ( if you really must, I dont use one unless snorkeling. They just get in the way and cause more issues than what they solve)
Fins.....Try different ones out. Some people have floatly legs so need heavy fins. Some people have weak legs so use split fins.
Knife/Trauma shears......Must have. Shears can be had for $10 or less via first aid suppliers. Small knife is more practical than a 'Dundee'
SMB....... or DSMB An inflatable "sausage" to mark your position. Useful for inflating at your safety stop so the boat crew can see where you are. Also helps you hold your stop at the right depth. Will also let other boaties know you are there and hopefully you will not get run over!!! Get a decent one with a small spool of line, your life may very well depend on it.
Torch.....Not just for use at night but also great for looking under rocks and signalling to your buddy. Its also useful for signalling a boat at night/early evening if you have drifted away from your boat.
Knife,SMB & Torch are all VERY important safety items. Dont dive with out them!!
The above items will not break the bank. After you have decided diving is something you will keep at then look at a wetsuit, regs and computer and tanks.