You're right there, not $30. If prices from Poland can be a good indication for you, absolutely basic, new hotair stations start at about 130PLN here (shipping free). 1$ = 4PLN, so that's about 32,5$. And a CH341A serial memory programmer starts at 20PLN, so 5$ + 5PLN shipping (1,25$). That's below 40$ total. Soldering compound might even not be needed for that operation, but a small piece should cost a marginal price.
I don't know where to reliably look for such equipement in other regions of the world, but I imagine prices wouldn't be much higher.
(Not to mention that you can actually do this with a normal soldering iron with some patience and courage.)