Theyre only $1000 if you insist on going overboard. For a beginner a RTR kit with a few upgrades isnt bad at all. As they learn to improve their driving skills they can easily upgrade.
Example: this is what I did...
Hyper 7 RTR 399 if ya shop around. Sometimes you can now get a PBS for that price.
New Stearing Servo (645 works well) $40
Upgraded Radio (inexpensive FM like Mag Jr) $100 or less if ya shop around.
Failsafe is always good $20
Then as you have money pick up a throttle servo, starter box and maybe some lightweight goodies.
Yes it's a basic setup but even with a starter box and 2nd servo for the throttle youve got $700 into it. $560 to get started isnt bad at all. I've whipped $1500 Kyosho's with that setup.
Their buggy was probably better no doubt. But until you start racing at a higher lvl the buggy doesnt matter enough to worry about. By then you'll be getting another one anyway
You are right tho. 1/10 trucks are cheaper. Add in a radio and you could prolly get started with a Losi or RC10GT RTR pretty much out of the box. So that's $400 or a bit less. But if ya add in the added repairs down the road I doubt you save much.