It doesn't have to be expensive. A nice 2m mobile set up is only going to be a couple of hundred dollars. Even new, a Yaesu FT-1802M is going for about $150 and single band antenna is maybe $40. Hams are perpetual tinkerers, so finding very good used radios is super easy, saves you a ton a money.
"Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." -- Capt. John Parker