Yes i understand owning so called higher end equipment when u lack the experience is not going to improve your photo taking but i have thought along these lines.
Getting a DSLR would be a wiser investment rather than simply getting a plain digi cam simply cos in future when i start to improve i do not have to go out and buy a dslr since i already own one.
Take note i'm not going to go all out and get all sorts of camera equipment just something decent which is not too shabby.
Using an entry level dslr would provide me experience in getting used to all the features that such a camera has so if i decide to upgrade in future it won't so difficult to adapt to newer features.
Nowadays all pictures are taken digitally. This means that there's no danger of wasting film taking a bad shot. If a shot looks bad i'll simply delete it.