How are you doing??
I am in the same boat as you are, and I am also pursuing this as a means to an end.
As someone who has initially started his Audiophile life out as Pro Digital (in pursuit to "Perfect Sound Forever"), I am now appreciating the feeling, the ambience (I hope I spelled this word correctly), and the thrill that only listening to vinyl can bring, I am now seeing the virtues that only listening to vinyl can bring.
I still do Digital right now as well. But now, I am doing that totally different than the way I did it in my last setup (but that's a different subject matter altogether), as I see a Digital Setup as more of a convenience medium rather than the main medium for listening to music.
Now, just to try Analog, then you need the following:
(01). Obviously, you need to buy your Vinyl VERY carefully. I shop for my Vinyl on e-Bay, and in person in Record Stores. You need to be VERY PICKY when buying used Vinyl as some Vinyl can be new or sealed and never played. Some Vinyl can be almost new, and qualify as in Mint Condition. But most used Vinyl tends to be in the Good to Very Good Range. Depending on the title and whether or not the album is a classic, Vinyl in Brand New or Mint Condition can be VERY expensive (that is, if is a 1st Press or not.... otherwise, it's consider a re-issue). I would pay attention to VG+ to VG++ and go up from there. You'll get more bang for your buck that way.
(02). Next, I would focus on the Turntable itself. Yes, there are Turntables out there that can range from $400.00 and can go up to Tens Of Thousands of Dollars. It depends on your system, your listening tastes, and how far you want to go when pursuing and setting up a Vinyl Playback System. You can get a new Turntable for at least $400.00. But if I were you (and this is something I have already done), I would look for a simple and understated vintage "Table" and have it gone over by a Professional Technician. A place call Vinyl Nivanna can go over your Thorens, AR or maybe any other classic vintage Table for about $100.00 to about $150.00 depending on the design of the Table. I got a Thorens TD-160 for about $250.00 off of e-Bay. I plan to have it gone over completely within the next year or so, and then upgraded at the same time. I am investigating changing the arm on the Table (right now, a Jelco SA-750D is the front runner). Otherwise, if you prefer a Direct-Drive as opposed to a Belt-Drive, I would seek out a Denon, a Technics or a Luxman model provided if you can one in mint condition for a reasonable price.
(03). I would be extremely critical of the Cartridge that I would eventually mount onto my Turntable. You want a Cartridge that is approximate to the quality level of your Turntable. And don't go overboard when you do. If you're getting a $300.00 to $400.00 Turntable, don't cheap out by putting a less than $100.00 Cartridge onto the the Table. But don't go overboard either. If you can get a used Table, then that's great. But if you're going to go new on anything, it would the Phono Cartridge. Because not only is sound quality should be your ultimate goal, but also the wear and tear on your LP's. Some of these LP's are irreplacible and can be hard to find if you do in fact need to replace it. If you're getting a $400.00 Turntable, I would not invest no more than $200.00 to $250.00 in a Cartridge. I would look at Audio Technica, Denon, Grado and Ortofon to start.
(04). Next would be a Phono Stage. Depending on the rest of your system, Phono Stages can range from less than $100.00 to up to $10,000.00. Decide on how far you're willing to go as well as the quality of the rest of your system, and I would investigate accordingly. For most systems, a $200.00 to $500.00 Phono Stage should be sufficient for most Audio Systems (high-end or not). Cambridge Audio has decent ones that top out at $200.00. I would start out from that point and then decide how far you want to go from there. The more refined the Phono Stage is, the more it is going to cost.
(05). If you're investing in used vinyl like I am, a Record Cleaning System IS essential. It's a MUST HAVE. Period (!!!). Again, it depends on how far you want to go. If you are willing to do EVERYTHING manually, and willing to save a boat load of cash, I would take a hard look at the Spin Clean. You can get one of those for less than $100.00. The mid point solution I would look at would be the Record Doctor Mk.V. This one has the vacuum/brush system that uses cleaning fluids like the VPI's, but instead of turning the record itself, you place the LP on the platform and place a Hockey Puck disk on top of it, turn on the vacuum and turn the record yourself. You'll have to do both sides. You can get the Record Doctor Mk.V for about $200.00. Otherwise, there are the higher-end VPI and Nitty-Gritty machines, which can do everything for you (including turning the record for you), but they cost $600.00 and up.
Hopefully, this would be enough to get you started in your pursuit of vinyl playback (and the joys that it brings).
Good Luck and Happy Shopping.