Honestly, your best bet is to see if you can stretch the budget a little. All of the Windows laptops in that price range are terribly compromised models with super-slow HDD's and bottom-of-the-barrel Intel CPU's--dual-core Celerons that perform at a lower level than a six-year-old Core 2 Duo. If you absolutely can't top $300 and you want something that will last a few years and not frustrate the heck out of you, you might want to look at refurbished and/or closeout deals.
To give you an idea, this laptop
benchmarks about 80 percent faster than an Inspiron i3531 with a Celeron N2830, even though the CPU in it was originally released in 2009.
When I was in the same situation, I took a lightly used older C2D laptop (the one in my sig), added an SSD and one of the fastest CPU's you can drop in it, and it has more than twice the CPU performance and several times the disk performance of any of those cheap Celeron-based laptops being sold now.
If you want something shiny and new, though, and you can stretch to $400, you can get something like this Dell
, which has two and a half times the CPU performance of the Celeron with its 2c/4t i3 processor. Believe me, it's worth that extra $100 to get into that performance class.