First I'll say that the comprehensive lift kit thread should be stickied; I didn't find it in any of my searches, only through someone's signature. It was a big help, and I plan on sliding under my jeep this week and looking at it again.
I was planning for a while in just getting a BB, but I like the idea of more articulation, even though I don't plan on doing an enormous amount of wheeling. My question is; is there a recommended lift that won't mess up my on-road handling? And also, would someone just be able to buy a set of springs and shocks (seperately, possibly secondhand) and call it a day?
Welcome to the forum/club. The Lift Kit thread used to be stickied, but I got really sick a few months back and my forum membership expired...which madea a mess of the thread (pictures and such), so it got unstickied.
The more you lift the Jeep, the further out of whack it takes the alignment....anything over a true 3" and you need to add control arms and track bars to keep everything properly, then you have to replace things like sway bar links, brake lines, and even driveshafts (if you keep it under 3.5" you can probably get by with an exhaust spacer for the front and sliding the evap canister over in the rear).....which can get expensive in a hurry.
Everything depends on your needs, and future plans. You could simply keep your current springs and shocks and add some coil spacers. This is the simplest and cheapest solution, it also keeps the factory ride. Depending on what your current springs are you could look for some stiffer takeoffs from another JK (JKUs with the tow package typically have the stiffest springs, and each increase in spring # adds about 1/4 to 1/3" lift to a 2DR). You can add up to 2" of lift using the stock springs and shocks. The next step up is a BB (Budget Boost), a lot of people looking for a cheap lift love the Teraflex offering in 2.5". The Rancho offering is also very popular. For simple springs and shocks, OME makes a really nice kit...I've used it and was very happy with the on/off road handling. You can also mix and match springs and shocks, although you need to do a little research there to match the right size springs with the right travel shocks. From there, you are getting into the full kits (shocks, springs, bumpstops, track bars/brackets, etc)....but the prices jump quite a bit depending on how extravagant you get.
Also, keep in mind that you can buy a BB now to give you a little lift (more room for articulation), and sell that when you are ready to graduate to something a little more beefy.....a lot of people follow this upgrade path.
Again, welcome to the forum....do lots of reading, ask lots of questions....there is a wealth of friendly and knowledgeable people here.