My 2 cents are that flying an RC plane is very different than flying a real plane. For one the dreaded problem of control reversal is not an issue in real flight but a plane killer for people getting started in RC. For beginners self-correcting planes are more suitable than EDF or warbirds that fly fast, have heavy wing loading, and unforgiving flight characteristics. I can understand the desire to conserve money but if you buy a plane that is not suitable you might crash it and have to buy another therefore spending even more money. If you have access to someone who is experienced in EDF and can help you get started it might just work otherwise the chances of success although are not zero they are smaller than my liking.
Using the simulator and working with experienced pilot as you have stated will greatly increase your chances of success. Sometime like a Thunderbird, firebird, or lynx would be great as they are simple, sturdy, and easy to fly.