Caveat: I realize we're in alpha, and this is a balance issue, so I don't expect things to be perfect, yet. That said, I just want to see what your thoughts are on the subject.
So. Taking some other players' advice from another thread, I started a new game (prev build...10.2?) and immediately started creating my 2nd base right off the bat. It worked great! By the end of the first month I have two operational bases. Only one Chinook team, but 2 F17s and 1 MiG in one base, and an F17 and a MiG in the other. Not too shabby!
I have Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East pretty well covered in the east, and much of North America and South America protected, as well.
So! Fancy shmancy, at the end of the first month, I get a slight budget increase! Lots of happy countries! (Oddly, North America went down, but several countries in Asia boosted their contributions.)
So things keep going pretty smoothly. I get a Chinook team in my 2nd base, build a couple of more hangars, and I'm pretty comfortable. Through personnel hiring and construction I burn through my non-maintenance budget pretty quickly, but so far I've managed to keep a small buffer in case of emergencies.
(I did just lose a couple of jets, so we'll see if I manage to find a way to replace them.)
However, now I've researched everything through Heavy Laser weapons, and have managed to work up a few alien grenades and a couple of sets of wolf armor. I can't really afford to do much more. On my next play-through I think I'll cut back on hiring scientists, since clearly my research outstripping my ability to pay to build equipment is a sign that I'm getting ahead of myself.
Obviously the budget itself is designed to be a sort of soft guideline as to how much stuff the player should be trying to accomplish. But it's tricky, because if you don't spend a lot of money fast to build a new base, you find yourself in a downward spiral that it's hard to get out of; and the game is so effective of generating a stressful environment that the player always feels the need to be pushing forward and getting new stuff to try and combat the escalating alien threat.
I guess my biggest worry is that any kind of relatively minor setback (losing a chinook full of troops; losing half of your jets, being unable to respond to a significant portion of UFO sightings due to a lack of resources) may just force the player into an endless series of re-loads of previous saves.
As the game has an iron-man mode, that's clearly not how the game is intended to be played. We're supposed to cut our losses and keep trucking. So far I've been able to do that in this play-through, but if I lost even a one more jet than I currently have, I think I'd have to just re-load and try again.
Should the player have access to more money? I see pros and cons there. Should the player's ability to rush into research be limited? I could see this working. (For instance, don't let the player have more than X scientists initially, therefore the fastest the player could get to certain technologies would by Y-time, and by Y-time player should have enough of a budget surplus that he'll be able to afford to build equipment without breaking his bank.)
See what I mean? I don't know the best way to go about this. I do expect that veterans have simply played the game enough to know what works and what doesn't. Maybe limiting the option to shoot yourself in the foot as much might ease entry into the game for newer players?