Effective, cheap databases
I am working with a friend who is a webdeveloper on getting a site up and running. My original plan was to have it include some comprehensive search functions that synced up to get results. However, he has told me that getting such a database system started will cost upwards of $15,000. He then told me that the alternative (and much cheaper) option is to have a maximum of ten pages of filtered results that won't sync up the information. He said it would have to be a max of 10 pages, so that the search results didn't take a painfully long time to load up each page.
My question is: is this the only option available to me? I really want to start something great that is user-friendly and would be willing to download a database system. My budget for a database would be a couple of hundred dollars - are there any available out there that I can use to bring up refined search results?
Apologies my terminology isn't as advanced as the majority of the users on this site!
I look forward to hearing either some interesting suggestions, or to knowing with 100% certainty that I need to forego my original concept.