New England Cheese Co. is an excellent store. Ricki Carroll's cheesemaking book is an excellent resource. If you're serious about learning this craft, you should buy it.
Soft cheeses are the easiest. Here's a really simple cheese curd recipe:
1 gallon 2% milk
1 pint of heavy cream
1 tablespoon non-iodized salt
Heat the milk to 140F and allow to cool to 80 degrees. Add 1 tsp liquid rennit (or 1/2 rennit tablet) in 1 cup preboiled water. Stir for one minute. Cover and leave it alone for 1 hour. Cut the curd into 1 inch cubes. Add the salt and heat gently (double boiler style works best) to 100 F. Try to regulate the heat so it takes an hour to bring it up to 100 F. This drives out more of the whey. Move the curds into a cheesecloth lined stainer and let drain 5 or 6 hours. You'll end up with really mild curds that taste like the best cottage cheese you've ever had.
Boil your cheesecloth and your stainer so you don't infect your cheese.
As far as costs go, I've been making cheese for quite a while and haven't spent more than $100 on equipment. The most expensive piece of equipment I've purchased is a press from Jack Schmidling's website. It was about $65. Except for the cheesecloth and wax, all the other equipmet was already in my kitchen and I appropriated a thermometer from my brewery.
I'd rather be a bad example than a horrible warning.