I have a live blade katana from Bugei that i purchased after recieving my first dan in Iai. (I forever have the scar on my left palm from where I sliced myself practicing a ippon me mae. Never felt it, but the amount of blood said something was wrong). I think it was just under 2k in 2006, but a quick check shows prices have gone up a bit.
If you can't practice cutting techniques without it shattering or snapping the blade, it's not worth it.
A cheap sword is exactly that - a cheap sword. Buy yourself a machete instead.