I'd want to play a lot of grunge and hard rock music. My budget is $280 for the guitar and amp. I know I won't get the highest quality, but the sooner I start, the better. My friend said I should just get the Epiphone Les Paul II value package, but I hear Epiphone isn't that good for the price from other people.
Epiphone do awesome guitars around the $600 price range. However, the lower end guitars are apparently rubbish :P
you can pick up a squier for around $200, they're pretty good for a first guitar i just got a Affinity Series Tele, i love it.
yer the cube is a good choice, or the peavey rage is simpler if you're just starting
as for guitar you can't beat the pacifica for that price range, i'm serious, you can't
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
id recomend going to your Local store and just trying out "Copy" Brands like Samach. you arent going to get the best quality from any company, especially more well known companys because the brand does affect price. I Started on a Samach Super Strat kinda guitar, and it was fine for my purposes. My friend whos played for three Years just sold his Copy brand guitar (i think it was either Samach or Renegade) last month.

And the Roland Cube is an Excelent Amp. though my Biggest piece of advise, if you can, save up a little more and get an Epiphone G-400.
Personally, if I was starting over again, I'd go with either an Epi G-400/Les Paul Studio or a Squier. Peavey are kind of nice though. Just don't touch cheap Behringer stuff, it's usually terrible.

As for an amp... the Roland Cube amps are great.