and yet I did something similar too. I think in the beginning the worth of a good tripod isn't realized and many may never use a tripod enough to justify spending more than a grand on legs, ballheads and plates.
I think you can get a good tripod and ballhead for $250 or so, and that may be all that most need.
Yep, my first Manfrotto with head cost me $200 and it lasted me 20 years. In fact still have it and use it for my medium format film camera. Got myself a lighter CF tripod for trekking, but other than the weight, the Manfrotto is a beast of a tripod.
You DO NOT need to spend $500 -$1,000 on a tripod. It's like anything, the higher priced items ( tripods ) provide marginal improvements over the middle priced items. There are huge deminishing returns on expensive equipment including tripods.