I am a linux newbie myself. I have been playing with it off/on for a few years but nothing serious. I am getting more serious about it this year. Here is what I have learned in my playing with Linux...
It is possible to run some Windows software in Linux. To do that you use a linux application called Wine. It is free software. That creates a "compatibility layer" for at least some Windows software to run in. I have never tried this myself.
The good news is that there is a LOT of GOOD software available under linux for free. Depending upon your needs you may not need to invest any money at all. You will just have an investment of your time to learn linux and how it works. Just like you originally did with Windows. There is very good office software, photo editing software, browsers, etc.
There are many distributions of Linux. Some are more beginner friendly than others. You can find information on the various distributions at www.distrowatch.com
When I was specifically looking for a beginner friendly version of linux for some older laptops that I was re-purposing to others and for myself, I ended up using Linux Mint 17.2 Mate Edition. It has worked well on about a dozen different computers that I have tried it on. By that I mean the wireless cards work, the video works, the sound works, everything works without any downloading additional drivers. And it has a very good software library.
The good news is that you can download a few different live DVD's /Install Discs of the linux distributions that you are interested in. You can try them as a Live DVD in your computer without making any changes to your computer. You can make sure that they work with your hardware. You can choose the one that is best for you right now. And then if you want you can install it onto your hard drive.
So if you are comfortable with downloading ISO files and using burning software on another computer to make some DVD's I say try it. You might just like it.