If you want to try it before you dump money into it, play some games at Xtreme Tactics
If you find that you like it, start playing regularly and from there you'll network with other players and find individuals/ teams of a like mind who can get you in on outdoor games.
Experienced regulars are often quite approachable and willing to offer advice on gear and tactics, plus XT has a Pro Shop which sells just about everything.
Sales people there are usually happy to answer questions and give advice, but if it's busy or there aren't many people on shift keep it reasonable and don't be offended if they need to move on to other things if you're not there to buy.
This is also why going to regular games and hitting up players for questions is a good idea.
Airsoft isn't for casuals; or at least the good stuff isn't.
It's totally cool to go to a place like XT or Ambush Anonymous and rent for shits and giggles with friends once in a while, but if you're serious about it then the necessary level of financial commitment is no different from a Rec/ Amateur sports league.
Echoing other posters, $300 is the absolute minimum I'd spend on an AEG, and it's much better to have a flexible budget of up to $450.
Clear AEGs work. They don't work well, but they do work.
The problem is they must be considered as disposable
If you're comfortable spending $200 on something that will break spectacularly and not be worth fixing or be utterly unfixable, I won't stop you, but I'd offer that if you're willing to drop $200 on something you should expect to throw away why wouldn't you just save another $200 and get something that can be fixed/ is worth fixing.