I'm a beginning spinner myself, and I have an Ashford Traditional wheel that I found at a consignment store for 120 dollars. (They gave me a box of things that came with the wheel too, including very nice hand carders, and lots of fiber samples.) I was a very happy girl!
Now, I never use my spindles, because the wheel is so much easier. Is there a spinning shop near you? If so, you can go in there and try different wheels to see how they feel to you. Good luck!