Flow bindings are absolutely fine. In fact, I believe that some places use a basic Flow setup as beginner rentals.
If straps are not your thing, and you want a quick easy in/out, then I think Flow is the only way to go.
I checked out the Flow website real quick; there are several models that I expect would fit your price range. The Flite 2 (and the ladies Flite 2LS) were the only bindings where beginners were mentioned specifically in the description. These both fell into a low price range.
There may be better models, anyone care to chime in?
More important than the binding fitting your board though is your boots fitting the binding. A good way to ensure this is to just buy Flow boots with your bindings. Don't forget to check and see if there is anywhere you can try them on; nothing worse for your riding than a boot that don't fit.
In the case of boards and bindings, one thing to keep in mind is that Burton has all kinds of wacky hole patterns that would require a conversion plate. Nothing hard to fix but just extra time, you know? Plus Burton isn't as special as some people think.
Another thing to think about, generally if your boots are bigger than 11 you probably need a wider board.
Of course, if you can head to a local shop they will fill you in on all of this anyway.
EDIT: Also, and I know it sucks, do not hesitate to be a big spender when it comes to boots. For all you know you may be really comfortable in the cheapest pair of boots there is, but if for some unfortunate reason the only thing rubbing you right has the highest price tag than you may have no choice but to buy it.
If your feet aren't comfortable then you won't be comfortable and snowboarding won't be comfortable.
Last edited by LouG; 09-17-2008 at 02:29 AM.