1) If you own an old SLR film camera and have some good lenses, buy a digital camera of the same make Providing the camera is less than 15 years old, the lenses should fit the new body.
2) Buy the camera body by itself and choose then lens that best suits your needs. Avoid bundled packages unless the lens you want is included.
3) Spend 1/3 of your budget on the camera body and 2/3 on the lens. the lens will outlast the camera and this is the bit that creates the photograph, so buy the best lenses you can afford.
4) Consider 3rd party lenses, as some of these from companies like Sigma are as good as the 'own make' models.
5) Don't get too bogged down by choice of camera manufacturer, as all the big names produce some fantastic models. Make a list of what you think you want the camera to do and then compare the make and model for the one that best suits your needs. Don't be tempted by bells and whistles you will never use, or pay too much attention to mega pixels unless you want to produce Bill Board size prints.