At the least, do get the circular reflector. It will help tremendously with balancing your shadows.
Surprisingly, far more people than we ever think are willing to sit to have their picture taken. You just have to ask, and ask nicely. Find ANYONE you can get, initially, even if it is your parents, your siblings, friends, or the town drunk, and practice on them. Having a portfolio that represents the kind of work you do is the best way to get other people to model for you.
Once you have a body of work to show people, so they can tell you're not a slobbering closet pornographer trying to con them, people will very willingly pose for you. If you are having a hard time getting sample subjects, I would recommend taking a portraiture seminar at a community center, art school or other university near where you live, to get access to multiple models.