I'm going to be the oddball here. I went cheaper. As in $300 or so for the unit, cheaper. Could use it with charcoal or splits. I usually ran a combination of the two, giving me about 2 1/2-3 hours at temp before I had to start feeding it every 45-60 minutes. I enjoyed it, and the only reason I went WSM, was family time. I wanted to be able to spend time with my family during my smokes instead of being interrupted every hour to spend 5-15 minutes feeding the smoker.
and a few mods such as high temp sealant fireplace gasket, and tuning plates, I was keeping the temp within 20* from one end to the other. The tuning plates were the biggest factor in that. The sealant and gasket were just to make sure to keep better control of the draft. If I were considering to dip my toe into an offset again, (which I may do in the future) the Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn or Highland reverse flow smoker from either Lowes or Home Depot (home depot has better pricing) would be my primary candidates. With reverse flow, you shouldn't need tuning plates, as the smoke doubling back helps considerably to even out temps across the grate, as well as help with hold over, for when you have to open the door.
As far as woods, if you don't have a supplier, I noticed yesterday that one of my local Ace Hardwares has splits in bags, I *think* for about 20 a bag. Might be worth looking for. I believe they were from B&B.