I definitely think that if you are a beginner you should start off with tinted moisturizer instead of foundation, this goes for both powder or liquid foundation. I think tinted moisturizer is light enough to play around with and can be followed with a mineral booster powder for a nice natural finish.
I found that using tinted moisturizer as a base and then finishing with mineral foundation was the only way I could achieve the look of not wearing make up, because none of the colors matched my skin tone.
I like to use blush on darker skin tones and bronzer on lighter skin tones to bring out the bone structure of the face.
Items to spend top dollar for are definitely foundation, brushes, and tinted moisturizer, items to find deals on are eye liner, eye shadow, blush, bronzer, mascara, lip gloss and lip stick.
Remember that it ultimately depends on the surface you are applying it to, taking vitamins, having a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water has helped me minimize my breakouts. Always start on a fresh, clean face. Most of the products that I use are from E.L.F. eyes lips face.com