Our local Walmart has some of the sewing machine on clearance right now .. Worth taking a look at.
I have had my sewing machine form 13 years or so now .. works great with no problems. It is a kenmore purchased at sears as a gift for me. I also have a serger that came from walmart either brother or singer brand. I love it and have used it tons in the 4 years or so i have ad it with no problems.
My Mother has always sworn by singer but i find that it you just check that it is made well that will last a good amount of time. They are like most things treat them with care and they will be with you for a long time.. Well that is at least my experience.
Hope that helps. Good luck and happy sewing