I've gone from a pair of cognac square toe, medallion monstrosities (£75.00), and a pair of black non-descript work shoes (don't ask), to a pair of £100 burgundy Aldos (stop sniggering) before I googled SF because my shoes were in a parlous state and I needed to up both my game and my knowledge with immediate effect.
After reading a number of threads, I bought a pair of Loake 1880s Aldwych last (£195 from Jermyn Street), and then 2 pairs of Meermin classic line (whole-cuts, sorry Manton, I love whole-cuts, and single monks - both in black because I really dislike all of the styles of Meermin's range in dark brown). Absolutely no complaints with my Meermin purchase - both pairs of shoes are incredible value for the money, comfortable and polish well using a basic cloth and leather cream (I dislike the mirrored polish look). Alas, I can't say the same for the Loakes. Whilst they are well-constructed, conservative and are feeling more comfortable, the sole is still very, very hard. My feet still feel sore if I walk around Regent's Park after work - unlike if I wore my Meermins.
My next shoes will be Carmina from the Armoury (I love the dark brown Oxford cap-toe and the tan wholecuts), or dark brown Oxford cap-toes from C&J (bench-grade).
Like yourself, RDiaz, my budget kicks in, as well as the law of diminishing returns. There are other more essential functional pieces of clothing to buy - such as seriously considering to go MTO on non-work trousers. Just cannot find anything that I like RTW.