I would totally suggest that! Great reference Lisa. In downloading the 30-day trial, I'd make sure you have enough time set aside so you really get the full benefit of testing the program and the time it takes to learn it. It's pretty much what you might call an "industry standard" now along with Photoshop Elements, which is cheaper than buying the whole CS bundle. A lot of people start off with "Elements" and it's a totally great way to start
I'm not familiar with the GIMP application, so I'm sorry, but I can't help you out with that. Hopefully you will find something within your budget that you can use, because it does open some wonderful doors that's for sure! Good luck!