you can also make a lot of embellishments. Punches can make flowers. There's a ton of tutorials on you-tube.
There are a ton of things in the dollar bin at Michaels that are great for newbies,,,,,I like the little gems.
buttons are cheap, and are also tons of fun, and provide depth and color. You can use them for the center of a flower or a few in the corner for interest.
stamps you can use over and over again are wonderful for newbies. So are border punches, and they are often on sale 40% off. You can change the whole look of a card or a LO by using different border punches.
Michaels and Joanns and Hobby Lobby offer coupons every week. Use them for larger purchases to save money.