OK, for eyeshadows I recommend NYX brand. Their color payoff is great, they blend easily, and you get three coordinating colors in a palette for under $10.00.
However, you can get great color payoff with cheap eyeshadows if you use a really good base. M.A.C. makes my favorite, it's really an eyepaint called "bare canvas", but it's $16.00, so while it's a great investment and lasts a long time, I can also understand if that's a little steep. L'Oreal H.I.P makes a similar product, forget the shade name, but it's basically a creamy eyeshadow that comes in a tube that looks like paint. Get the lightest color- L'Oreal owns M.A.C. and it's pretty much the same thing as their eyepaint, honestly. Anyway that's usually around $12.00 but I've seen it on sale for as little as $7.00 or in "buy one, get one" promotions.
One last thing: brushes- girl, get thee some eyeshadow brushes. They make things so much easier, and they don't waste pigment the way Q-tips do, so your eyeshadows will last a lot longer. Try E.L.F. cosmetics- you can buy their stuff at some K-Marts, but if you don't mind paying shipping costs you can also buy them online. Oh, and I forgot to mention- they're all just $1.00 and really awesome. Buy several, and you won't need to worry about cleaning brushes in between layering light and dark colors.