Well...I'm getting an early christmas present, a new guitar that I need. Next weekend we have a concert and mine just busted. I don't have much money either so it's either a Epiphone Les Paul or a Fender strat. Like both, but what will give me a better quality.
Both guitars range in price dramatically (ie. a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand) and obviously the quality varies with the price.
Both are high quality guitars which live up to the reputations they hold and either would be a good purchase. My personal favourite has recently changed from the Les Paul to the Strat purely because I love the feel of the strat. I love the look and tone of the Les Paul but have always used a strat and find them as a result much easier to play on.
As for the decision in your case, go to your local music store and try out both, the decision has to be based on how YOU cope with each guitar and which you personally prefer. It has to be the guitar that you will feel most comfortable playing as you will have to live with it (until you get a new one!). Sorry I can't give you a difinitive answer!
As long as you are talking about getting a decent REAL Fender (i.e. American ideally or at least Mexican) then the Strat all the way. Les Pauls are heavy and expensive, and at least personally I much prefer the look of the Stratocaster.
But then as said it is ultimately down to you, and buying one without having tried both first would be pretty foolish.
Well, I'm taling about an Epiphone Les Paul which is like a Squier. I like Fender for the versatility but I also like Les Pauls, Gibson or Epiphone. I'm just wondering what would be a better quality instrument:
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Fender Mex. Strat.