A lot of fellow astronomers love those cheap achros that aren't cheap performers, thats what counts not the $ sign All the numbers and diagrams are meaningless when you are gazing sky ward on a dark, clear nite
As long as the cheap achromat is on a solid mount and comes with an acceptable star diagonal and focuser it should provide plenty of great views of star clusters and other DSO. And for a beginner the views of the Moon and planets will be quite inspiring.
I think what happens is with more experience it becomes easier to see the advantages that come with the ED glass. The blurring effects and loss of contrast from CA become easier to see and the improved hardware that come with the ED scopes start to become important.
Despite mostly using ED doublets I have a couple standard achromats that I very much enjoy when I decide to get them out. The key is that they do have good optics and focusers and I have the mount needed to hold them stably and star diagonals that do not hamper the image.