Adafruit Industries has a nice toolkit for those venturing into electronics. The “carefully selected hand tools” in their kit, shown above, include a 30W adjustable temperature soldering iron complete with indicator LED, a soldering stand with sponge and iron holder, a solder sucker, a 1/4 pound spool of 60/40 solder, a 5′ spool of solder wick, a PanaVise Jr. PCB holder and general-purpose 360° mini-vise, a basic digital multimeter, wire strippers, diagonal cutters, needle-nose pliers, three 25′ spools of solid-core wire in black, red, and yellow, and a half-size solderless breadboard. As a bonus, you also get the parts needed to build a 5-volt power supply. All this for $100.
I did not try to add up the best online prices for all the individual parts (a couple of links to parts available on Amazon are listed below), but others on the web have done so, and the range for buying all the parts piecemeal is ~ $90—$110. So, given the time for ordering individual items and the separate postage involved, this toolkit seems like a good value.
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