I think your experience with other hobbies is right on the money. Larry's advice is also dead on. (BTW Charlie Craven's book is an excellent book----- if you tie trout flies. Since you're from the South, if you chase something else let us know, there are some other books that might be a better choice for bass or saltwater for example.)
Kits for 60 bucks or so are a great way to test the waters if you're not sure you'd like to stick with it as a hobby, or on a limited budget where you want to keep everything to 60 bucks or so all in for vise, tools, and materials.
They'll generally include enough materials to tie maybe 100 flies spread out over a dozen different patterns or so.
The quality of the materials can vary from kit to kit, but the the main issue is likely to be the vise. Most kits come with a cheap Asian import vise worth about 10 bucks with poorly machined parts and soft metal jaws. The most important feature of a vise is it's ability to hold a hook securely- and if you stick with tying you'll likely want to upgrade the vise pretty soon. Most kits also come with a basic set of tools. Some will be OK, some you'll probably want to upgrade fairly soon.
Down the road you'll want to add additional materials of course and probably some additional tools not included in the kit depending on what you're tying--- but the cost of this stuff would be a wash whether you bought a kit or not.
In contrast, buying things separately:
Decent quality beginner vise - these will hold the hook securely, and you may want to upgrade at some point, but these will still be serviceable vises when you do, and you can pass it on or use it as a travel vise. Many are in use several decades after purchase. (Some examples include a used Thompson Model A for around 25-30 bucks (many of us learned on these), a new Griffin 2A for $60.00 and others)
High quality, no frills vise (examples Regal InEX $110, Dyna-King Kingfisher $120, HMH Silhoutte SX $130, Peak at $150 and others). If you do decide to upgrade down the road or stop tying, you should be able to resell these and recover a significant part of the original purchase price.
Good quality tools (bodkin, bobbin, threader, whip finisher, bobbin threader, scissors, hair stacker, hackle pliers) $30-50 bucks
Hooks and materials to tie dozens of flies in 2 or 3 easy to tie patterns (using core materials that will also build up your inventory of "stuff") about $30 bucks
And finally, I see you're from the South--- most kits are designed for folks that fish for trout since that is where the bulk of the market is. Kits designed for bass or salt water are generally not as common--- and there are some specific issues related to the them. Larger hooks with thicker wire on bass and saltwater flies and some of the techniques used to tie them (lots of thread torque to spin deer hair, tight wraps of heavy thread to hold dumbbell eyes in position etc) place greater demands on the holding power of the vise. A cheap kit vise will give you fits in short order if you're tying these flies.
A couple other thoughts... groups like the Federation of Fly Fishers have affiliated clubs all over the country, and Trout Unlimited has chapters mostly in areas with coldwater fisheries. Both groups generally offer tying classes-- or at least have folks that tie that can help get you started--- a HUGE help when you are beginning to tie. Here's some links to search pages to see if there is one near you:
Locate a Club
Council/Chapter Contacts | Trout Unlimited - Conserving coldwater fisheries
Do you have a local fly shop? It would be great if you did. You can poke around a bit to see the different styles of vises, and have a go to place to get materials, and have someone that can demo a few flies, and a ton of your questions answered as you get into it.
What do you fish for? This will help zero in on some suggestions for tools, materials, effective beginner patterns (easy to tie, use inexpensive materials and catch fish) and resources on the web (step by step instructions etc).
Hope this helps--- keep asking questions!