If you don't want to spend a lot yet, here's an idea. First, go and by yourself on your own account buy one of the $5 skins (any one of them) to lock you in for milestone pledges. I'm going to be able to do this at least until Nov26. Save up in the meantime. By that time, we'll probably see new variants for the Hornet, and maybe the Freelancer Variants as well (similar to the Aurora and 300), plus some of the Special Limited Ships may return again (ie If you could afford it, if you wanted the ultimate cargo hauler, the Starfarer is the way to go. Cost $175 when it was last sold though. There's also the Caterpillar, the heavily armed and armored pirate-side counterpart to the Freelancer, for $225 though). If you want to go now, that's fine. However, if you want to wait a bit that's quite all right.
Unfortunately, since your account is not flagged as an Original or Veteran backer, you won't be able to "upgrade" without going through an Original Backer like me to buy the package and gift it to you. Now, RSI promised us OB's a year's access to OB deals/LTI at least. Nov 26 2013, we don't know what happens - we may lose the ability to offer these packages. I'll keep going as long as I am able, but if that is when the game is up, that's it. etc....
The Aurora is designed to be the "starter" ship, but a solid and useful one. After all, new players just out of the campaign (or just into the universe) will start with one, so they have to have a good experience. The 5-10T depends on the variety and/or upgrades. Check out this... https://robertsspaceindustries.com/ship-specs . For instance, there's a version of the Aurora that comes preloaded with a larger cargo hold and other mercantile improvements. Now, you can config any ship in the game with compatible parts (ie. If you have a base Aurora, you can put the parts on it to make it the same as a LX if you could afford to buy them in game-money), but the thing about Lifetime Insurance is that it only works on what is considered the "base hull"; upgrades aren't covered. This will be the norm in game, for ALL ship insurance. You'll need to buy separate upgrade, cargo etc.. insurance. It won't cost a lot.
The Cutlass has excellent cargo capacity (keep in mind that the game is designed for new players to make a buck trading with an Aurora, 300 series etc...so even a smaller cargo hold is useful) for its size, but if you want to start with a focus on trading/exploration/mining then the Freelancer may be a better start if you can afford it. You can always buy ships, pledge or in-game (with in-game currency) later, or fly with friends etc...
If you want to start off trading/mercantile, the Freelancer is a fantastic option. If you stay within the UEE space (ie gov't controlled), you'll have less to worry about pirates until you feel ready to go into gray/unmonitored space. Starting with the Freelancer will put you well ahead of most people who are starting the game; trading/hauling can be done with MUCH less.
*note - there is a 1000 character limit for Visitor Messages like this one, that's why things are broken up.
If you want to go with something less expensive ($60-80 USD), there are also multiple variants of the Origin 300 series ships. If you would like more info on any of the ships, check the Star Citizen website, or look at the links in my post. If you have any questions, just let me know.
Next is the Freelancer, included in the package you picked out. This is a great "general purpose" ship. As a trading vessel, it can carry significant amounts of cargo as well, has 2 crew seats as well as the ability to carry passengers. Its defenses aren't bad either, but it is more of a "jack of all trades" kind of ship, leaning towards mercantile use. Finally, there's the Cutlass, (Pirate pack/ Digital Pirate) which as you can tell by the name, is thought of as one of the piracy-focused ships, though it can do much more! As a large fighter, it has a cockpit for a crew of 2. Good weapons, a considerable cargo-hold for a fighter anyway, defenses, and a tractor beam mounted by default, making it good for mining/merc runs, longer duration hauls, or just picking up the fruits of piracy.
With the budget you've given me, there are 3 ships that are sort of "at the top" of that price range. Feel free to check them out on the website at "Ship Specs" under the "Star Citizen" button. The Hornet is a single-seat fighter. This is your dogfighting ship, though the version that comes by default is the "civilian" version (there may be upgrades available soon, as the Hornet variants are unveiled). Hardly any cargo room (though, you can modify all ships), but good starting armament and general combat focus.
Hello! I am offering these packages to everyone, not just long-time forum accounts. You can also feel free to contact me at " firstname.lastname@example.org " as well as via these messages. As far as the package selection, it all depends on what you would like to do, as well as your budget. Keep in mind that you can always buy extra ships and/or packages in the future.