Helpful advice but I think that "DSLR" photography has confused a lot of people new to photography and then ironically there is the "auto" button!
The DSLR can distance people from a better understanding of photography with its all singing, all dancing complicated array of menu options.
"You'll get better by taking plenty of shots"... not sure about that though it worked for Bobby Charlton!
To get started in photography you can't beat a quality manual film SLR... Nikon, Olympus, Canon... even Praktica... later if you do go for a DSLR you'll be able to see through all the cobblers in their menus and use the camera with more understanding.
As you warn... "DSLR photography is expensive" so just one suggestion:
Praktica MTL5 + 50mm lens
Rolls of 35mm film and develop
Michael Langford's 35mm handbook!... all at an absolute fraction of the cost of the excellent D3100 or any other DSLR
Any beginner photographer will learn so much and more quickly with the simplest of SLR 35mm manual film cameras.
If by now Mr Skywasher has left the building I totally understand!
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