Well.. a lot of good points in this thread.. I suppose I will throw in my 2 cents.
My suggestion on most things in the hobby are BUY USED. This allows you to get good condition products for less. That way you don't have to give up quality.. just make sure whatever you guy is in good condition and the seller has good feedback.
I agree with most.. alot of the "Name brand" stuff you are paying for the name and for what you get..they are overpriced.. like Apple computers haha
But, I'm a brand fan boy so I buy my stuff used so I get the name for cheaper..
I would say the one place I wouldn't skimp out on is the Transmitter though...
For a basher.. sure..I would recommend buying cheap.. something with cheap receivers like the Flysky Gt3B.
For a racer.. buy the best you can. Think about it.. if you plan on being in this hobby/sport for any extended amount of time.. the transmitter is going to be the one thing that you can keep. No matter what happens to what ever car/s you have you always need a transmitter. With racing your going to be holding the transmitter very frequently..so why not have a high quality system, that feels good in the hand and will last you YEARS.
I personally have owned two Flysky Gt3B's I got them right after they came out.. mainly because the receivers were so cheap. Once they are great for bashers with lots of cars.. but, once I started to race competitively, I found that the GT3B felt a bit cheap in the hands...it wasn't something that I wanted to hold 3 days a week for many hours at the track... and wasn't quite as accurate as I wanted.. I also didn't want to hack it. So.. I got a used Futaba 3pks with a xtreme power systems module and receivers.. the receivers are $30 and are smaller than the Flysky ones. I am happy about this switch.. the Futaba is higher quality and feels more comfortable in the hands. I know the 3pks is a radio I will be able to use for years no matter what car I race.