I hear ya on ham radio budgets. Just keep in mind that the radio is just a pretty face you look at, what makes or breaks your station is the antenna. Any radio made in the past decade or two is far more sensitive and stable than we need.
So get what you can afford and spend the time & money on wire and a tuner. A $50 single band Altoids xcvr hooked to a decent antenna will run rings around a KX3 connected to a subpar one. Plus you won't cry when it gets crushed and dunked in a lake backpacking... The majority of hiking contacts I make are 20m so having a bunch of bands really is just a luxury.
Haven't had time to practice, nothing to practice on.
'91 Pickup - Imelda
'08 Tacoma TRD - Donna