Thanks for the informative reply Wayne. Well my only concern is the budget. I will be more than happy to use the flash in manual mode. Actually that is what I was planning on doing as that is how I would learn how to take more control of the lighting. I know it will be much slower as compared to the standard "point-and-shoot" use of these things in the beginning but that is how I will learn better and more. So I am ok with manual mode.
1) Also could you please tell me some pointers to read about how to calculate the relation between flash power and ISO/shutter speed/Aperture??
2) What does 52' at ISO 100 (for example) mean??
3) Do you have some experience about these cheap flashes?? Which one would you suggest?? Sunpak/Vivitar/Bower/Opteka?? As I said I have read good reviews about Sunpak 383 but could not find much info on other brands. Just that the Vivitar flashes have some decent repo too.
4) Am I right in assuming that I could use the cheap flash on hot-shoe in almost any point-and-shoot camera??