I got my acoustic for christmas this year (Yamaha F210). It came with all the stuff you need to start playing (tuner, bag, guitar, extra set of strings, ect...) for a first guitar it is pretty good, but when you get better you will probably want something a bit higher end. I also bought my electric (Epiphone Les Paul Special II) a few months ago. really just do a bit of research, ask around, there are a ton of guitars out there, I am sure you can find a good deal pretty easily.
I would recommend looking on http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/
They have a bunch of reviews on the site.
Also, you dont really need to take lessons, they help, but if you just work at it (working on tabs, asking friends who play, looking on youtube) you can usually figure almost anything out. Just keep trying and you will eventually get it.