Caper2011 - Even though you're just starting your adventures with photography - whatever photography forum you join, there'll be people 'advising' you to get a DSLR. This is similar to a person just taking their first driving-lessons being 'advised' to get a Porsche Turbo... Yes, of course, that's a very good car - but it isn't cheap, and drivers do need driving experience and additional skills, to handle such a vehicle safely and properly.....
In the last several years, as an older person getting into photography, I've had several P&S cameras, from very basic to the high-end of the superzooms with the full range of manual functions, including RAW, other than changeable lenses. And on several camera forums - there has been a chorus of well-meaning folk pushing me to buy a DSLR.
What I've been doing is - with the help of forums "for camera brands", and the probably general-terms wider-better non brand-specific ones such as this one, and our "local area" AusPhotography one - learning about the basics, and further - of photography.
Photography is "Painting with Light" - and that's what you have to know about it - light, and how cameras and lenses use it. Learn the "Light Triangle" - ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. Whether "all automatic" or very advanced manual controls - all cameras from the $80.00 P&S to the $25,000.00 Hasselblad - work on those three basics.
At first, you don't need to know the Triangle at advanced level - but you do need to know what they do and how they affect each other. A $300.00 camera will have at least basic settings for all three - and it's best to choose a camera that has selectable Auto - Program - Shutter Priority and Aperture Priority. Some also will have Full Manual as a settings mode.
Don't expect to use "all of those" at first - you'll likely start with Auto, then use Program to get your own control of ISO / light sensitivity - and from there to Shutter Priority for moving targets. Use good forums to find out how to use each of the selectable modes in the camera, as you become ready to learn that.
This Forum is particularly good for that - I've asked questions here that probably deserved a "smart" reply - but that's never happened here... Ask politely here - and the more advanced folk are very willing to explain things.
In any forum - do use the Search Function - very often, your question has been asked - and replied to - more than once.
And DO use Google-etc to find the very many sites with Guides, Tutorials and Advice.
I can't list the many I've used and still use - but a very good place to start, is the Cambridge in Colour site. They have a whole list of "plain laguage, not too techy" Tutorials from basics, and right on up! From the main page go to "Tutorials" - or directly, to:
On that page - go to the listed "Understanding Camera Exposure: Aperture, ISO & Shutter Speed". That explains the Light Triangle I mentioned above, with diagrams to make the relationships easy to understand. From there, go to the other parts and tutorials, as you are ready.
Also, get some good photography books - one I think is an "essential" is Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure". The current version has been extensively revised to apply to digital cameras. He also wrote "Understanding Photography - Field Guide". That one - keep in a side-pocket of your camera bag or carry bag.... It explains things as you're doing them.
Above all - have fun with your camera - you will see the World in a very different way, as you become used to seeing it with a camera. Cameras are life-changers - and no, they don't have to be a many-lenses DSLR...
What does happen, is that as you "learn to paint with light" - the limits of even the better Point-and-Shoot cameras begin to intrude more and more on "what you want to be able to tell the camera to do".
You'll know when you're ready for a DSLR - the things you by then want to do with Light will tell you... It's taken 4+ years (I'm not as young as I was 63 years ago!) - but now I'm ready - and already have a small lineup of AF and Manual lenses to suit a Pentax K-R...