I'm sure you know that cameras all vary in prices and sizes. It all depends on how deep you are going to get into the photography lifestyle. If you simply want to try it as a hobby, buy something $300-$500 dollars. Most cameras at that price point are pretty decent and have most of the features that those in the 1k have.
depends what your aim is too, like what kind of shots your taking, portrait, macro, action (wide angles) or normal day to day stuff, lenses will kill you in the end. you can get started on cheap stuff but you'll realise how quality comes at a price but doesnt mean your shots are bad, just colours and brightness.
get any all-manual 35mm camera and some film. that way you can take good pictures, but also have to be conscious that you are using film every shot and won't go willy nilly like you would with digital. also cell phones have pretty good cameras in them these days, just start being more conscious with your instagram.
^I say go digital before film for that exact reason you just stated, you can't go willy nilly taking pictures haha, it'll be harder to learn if you're conscious of your film IMO. If you do go digital, use M to learn whats what, and get a 50mm lens. I've been using a t1i + kit lens/50mm for years now and it hasn't failed me yet.
It's easier to learn with digital because there's no cost in time or money to shoot as many photos as you want. The only way anyone gets good is by shooting a lot and learning from what they've shot. I'd never recommend film to anyone who is just starting out. As was mentioned, what kind of camera is "good" depends a lot on what type of photos you take. The average camera is not going to be GREAT at anything other than photos that are taken outside during the daytime. Indoor / low light performance or super high resolutions are things that you will pay extra for. It's probably best to start out with something that is cheap but has the ability to use full manual controls, so you can learn how things work before you plunk down all your cash on something. Consider used cameras or renting as well.