I'd suggest to start with Ableton + a bunch of free VSTs. Ableton is a great place to begin with, I've done a few shitty songs there and it's pretty intuitive... The thing is: the learning curve can be huge, so take baby steps.
Ableton's reddit is great for resources and quick questions, you'll find there all the info you need. And if you still want hardware synths, the Micro Korg is a really cool option. For less than 1k if you are lucky you can buy a Korg MS20 mini (which is awesome) and a couple of other synths. What I suggest you is go to your local music store (or to their website), find the synth section and read/listen to the synth on YouTube. IMHO, Roland's Boutique stuff is amazing and as far as I know it's less than 400 bucks.