For small stickers the small "X" xyron is around $12 or less and most box stores take coupons on them. That size is perfect for small strips of things, ribbon, and individual letters and other narrown things.
The 5" wide one (the one I use) was about $59 I think and I had a 50% sticker so mine was about $29 and I use it a lot. A very good purchase.
There is also a 8 1/2 x 11 xyron and I think it was about $120-$150 when I was looking at them and since they take 50% coupons on other sizes, I'm sure they would on those.
I bought 5" filler cartridge for the xyron last week and they took a 50% coupon at Joanns.
When I put words on my photos I use Microsoft Office "Paint" and that is easy enough for me. Doesn't offer enough options to really get fancy but it gets the words on there the way I like. Then I have them printed.