This is the soldering iron I've been using for several years:
Only $84. It's a good starter unit. There's also a similar model for a few dollars more with a digital readout.
For desoldering, I really like the hakko FR-300 (the updated FR-301 looks good too), which I've been using for a few years now. It makes desoldering very quick and easy. I tried other cheaper tools before I splurged on this one, but those didn't work very well (I spent more time fiddling with them or doing tool maintenance than actual desoldering). Even though it's a little expensive, it's well worthwhile in the amount of time and effort you save.