I am a beginner aswell(32yrs), and have only been out a few times but bought a board, binding and boots today because I was sick of renting. Honestly wearing rental boots really grosses me out
Mind you I didn't buy a vapor, I got a K2 AfterBlack, some Ride Beta UL bindings and a pair of ThirtyTwo Lashers. It was all 50% off mind you. less then $400 CDN for the set up. I completely understand your desire to have your own gear and not rent.