(Update 2019: I upgraded to the next highest model and I love it! Bigger drawing space!)
(Update 2019: I bought an Ipad Pro and Apple Pencil and I can't recommend these enough. Procreate has changed the way I work. It's so nice to be able to digitally sketch from anywhere.)
(Update 2019: I did finally buy a fancy camera. I got a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera. I only got it because now I take so many product photos, though honestly, my iphone photos still turn out great.)
adobe illustrator and photoshop
There are a million versions of Adobe programs and now creative cloud. Don't get anything below CS3. I have CS3 and CS6 (for Illustrator only). Photoshop CS3 has been fine for everything I've needed to do. Illustrator CS6 is better because it has the pattern making tool, which can save you hours on designing repeating patterns. You can find cheaper used versions of both programs on Ebay or Amazon.
(Update 2019: Now that I know Illustrator better I use it by itself. No need for Photoshop anymore. I use the free Lightroom app to edit my photos (even the ones from my fancy camera!))
(Update 2019: Sadly the aspertame in Diet Coke started to make me sick so I switched to regular Coke. Hopefully I'll be off of all of it soon. It will be good for my autoimmune diseases)