"Anyway, I digress, I have little to no money constantly and thus want to start using photography to try and get what I can (on top of other work). I am by no means professional, and cannot guarantee great/good pictures but I still think (perhaps naively) if I push myself into it I can do well.
What would you recommend for someone of my experience/ability to charge in case I do get offers? I'm just trying to cover my back now, so that if I do get something I know what I'm charging etc - and can be professional"
Notice the bolded sections. You didn't ask how others started, or where they started. You asked how much someone "of your experience ability" should charge.
And what you have been told is to forget about anything related to charging at this point. After you've been doing this for a few years and have developed your skills, then you can revisit this question. Until then, develop your skills, research the business side of photography, invest time and money, and when you are ready, charge the market rate (as opposed to "cute rates").