if you are using a computer now with basic SDRAM, you might as well upgrade. SDRAM is now being pushed aside for DDR ram, which is basically just as cheap but much faster. In reality a faster CPU won't help much if you are using slow ram and slow hard disks.
Your best bet is to get a GOOD motherboard (meaning name brand, no crazy cheap no-name) that supports DDR and 1ghz+ CPUs. For what you will need it for a basic 1.2ghz machine with half a gig of DDR RAM won't cost much at all and do everything you need it to fairly quickly.
Then get a decent graphics card, 64MB. You can get a basic GeForce3 or ATI Radeon for 100 bucks, you won't need the top of the line if you don't do much gaming, but the more video ram the better for your overall system.
Other than that, if you are using old outdated slow hard drives, you can still use those but I would advise not using them for your main OS drive. Get a cheap 30gig ATA133/7200rpm hard drive for 75 bucks or less and install your OS and software on that. Then simply pop in your current old drive in there for extra storage for music, photos, and stuff the speed won't make a big difference.
That is just my two cents. If you at least get a good motherboard that supports DDR and CPU speeds of 2ghz or more, you can still throw in a slower CPU and not much ram so a year or two from now you can simply add a new CPU and more ram w/o doing the whole upgrade procedure again.