What are planning to sew?
-a project or two a month means you can start out with a less expensive introductory machine. These machines have plastic interior parts and will not generally hold up to heavy duty sewing or thick heavy fabric projects. I have used this Brother entry level sewing machine for several years for light duty. This exact style is discontinued but you can see similar ones here.
Your budget is certainly your biggest factor.
There are many entry level machines in the $100-200 range. These machines will serve you well if you are just starting out. You should decide which you can afford and then do some research. I decided I was ready to upgrade my dear sweet machine and wanted more features.
Martha Stewart says "The $200 — $700 range will give you a machine meant for the seamstress that sews occasionally (once a week), and it will offer the durability and features for that type of use."
As I was really happy with faithful Brother machine, I decided to stay with the same brand. I choose the Brother PC 420 this past Christmas and you will see in Sew with Mimi classes! I love that the foot pedal is optional although that took me a bit to get used to. And as my eyes are older now (just my eyes, not me) I love the auto needle threader. The stitches are great and the settings are easy to follow.