My first die cutting machine was the red little sizzix sidekick. And I waited for it to go on sale and then waited for an alpha set to go on sale too. lol Took a while but a sale made it so much more affordable.
But now I haven't used it in ages since I got my first cricut machine. And I wish i'd have gotten the expression version as it cuts bigger images where as the create version limits your size to half the potential that you'd have with the 12x12 cuttin mat of the expression.
I like the electronic version over the manual cutters like the sidekick or the big shot because of all the storage space you have to have for all the dies that you have to buy plus the fact that you just have the one size of the die verses the cricut where you can pick what ever size you want.
Since the cricut has come out with newer models of the expression the older version is much more affordable now a days thankfully.
But I still find myself not using a die cutting machine for most of my layouts anyway.