@Oxfordian I appreciate you're doing it the right way. Home demos are a must. Have you considered a little bit of fun buying used gear? You could get a great system for fraction of the price however it could take you a good few times to get it right. Buy cheap and sell at little loss if at all. You would learn a ton though and by the end you could still sell on all your used bits and have much more understanding of what you like.
Not tried buying hifi used, tried photography gear and got badly burnt so not an area I would willing go to again.