I got my Kitchen Aid at Lowe's and they had an excellent deal on it including a rebate offer. so when it was all said and done I paid about $140 for my KA( it's the 5qt Artisan)
I've got my eyes on one of the heavy duty models,but right now my cake decorating monies go to furthering my skills so I can make even more gorgeous cakes,desserts and pastries.
Someoen recommended i get the Hamilton Beach stand mixer that was something around $99 i declined because I did my reaserch and I knew what types of work i'd be doing with the stand mixer so I opted for the KA.
I keep a hand mixer around which catches dust now.
I may use it to whip some eggs up if I'm about to scramble some or if i'm making pastry cream and even with that one all i need is a good whick.