If you are just getting into building your own homelab for testing and learning purproseses prepare the wallet. You will spend ALOT of money and time on it. I can tell you from personal experience you will never be truly done you will always end up finding/ugrading something. I started with just my desktop and home theater pc. Eventually i was finally able to pickup a cheap computer from a computer store I was interning at. That became the start of my rabbit hole. I ended up turning that into my dedicated perimeter firewall box. After doing putting a fair number of hours into research I decided to go with untangle.
My next phase was a file server which I got lucky and picked up a dual opteron server since someone was moving out of town extremly quickly and sold it for dirt cheap on craigslist. you would be amazed what you can find sometimes if you have patience. That night i loaded all the drives i had into it and loaded Windows Home Server 2009 at the time on it. This became a huge sink hole over the years and many upgrades later I have made it into the r/datahorader status
Last year was the start of me finally having a vmware server again.I was fortunate enough to be given a nice Dell T5500 machine which I decided to start out with Proxmox hpyervisor. After using that for awhile I wanted to get my hands back into VMware ESXI again. I am now running ESXI 6.0 U2 since that has built in webconosle.
As you can see you are never truly down with upgrades and buying gear. First started firewall box, then storage server, then oh wait I need backup storage server for redunancy, then came vm host, then came a second dhcp/ad/dns server with a spare laptop. The list really does go on. I can honestly say though i have picked up a large portion of my gear through co workers, or dirt cheap online. It really does come down to a large portion of luck and timing. I will try to find photos of my gear over the last few years to show all the changes in the next post.