I would (I am sort of biased on this) suggest:
1) ODTUG -- www.odtug.com -- They offer a ton of free webinars and a fantastic conference with a beginners track. Membership is free (associate) or paid ($99 = cheap) and gives you access to more
2) Local consulting companies such as interRel -- is the Palace Hotel near you: http://www.interrel.com/events.aspx (Note, I worked for them at one time.) US Analytics is also local to you (I think): http://us-analytics.com/events/
3) There's OAUG Connection Point -- I have never attended but am told it is good: http://connectionpoint.oaug.org/2012/orlando
Then there are the boards (N54, OTN), the blogs, the Look Smarter Than You Are book series (again, by inteRel), and once you've reached the mid-level, the book I participated in writing: Developing Essbase Applications.
In short, there are a lot of free or relatively inexpensive places to get information out there. I happen to think that Network54 is one of the best. The EPM community is pretty good with sharing.