I really like how this post on the A Dress A Day blog (which I found via the CRAFT magazine blog) describes how to go about buying a sewing machine and getting the most for your money. The advice applies to any product that has a learning curve and comes in a wide range of prices and complexity levels. The advice also especially applies to people who experience choice paralysis:
First off, remember that most of the choices ahead of you are good. Your life will not be ruined if you buy the "wrong" machine. No one will mock or scorn you for not optimizing your purchase to the utmost.Another favorite bit:
Wow-feature creep is what happens when you see that the next machine up (that is $200 more) not only has automatic buttonholes, but also orders you new buttons from the internet every time you use one (for example) ... wow! Now only a button-ordering machine will do ... if you are tempted by wow-feature creep, can you make a list of FIVE projects you've ever made that special feature X would have helped you complete? Just one doesn't count. And a special wow-feature that requires ANOTHER purchase (like extra software, etc.) needs to have ten projects to justify it or it double doesn't count.