Smart wife - Take the money you were going to spend on a claim and buy her something nice. win-win. Unless of course she was the one who bought you a gold pan and pay dirt, giving you the gold fever. LOL
Actually, welcome to the hobby. Best advice is explore, look around and pan lots before considering acquiring a claim. At the same time, learn the MTO system to see how things are going in the area that you are interested It of course helps to have fast fingers at 10AM if something forfeits. Try not to buy a claim for recreational mining - it can be expensive and disappointing. The nice thing about having a claim is you have somewhere to go and can use a high banker.