Sounds like you have two issues: 1.) cost 2.) wanting the "set it and forget it."
As far as being cheap is concerned: a UDS is cheap and make great cue. It has the ABILITY to ALMOST be set it and forget it. You'll have to spend some time with one to really get a feel for doing the minion method with charcoal basket.
As far as set it and forget it: a pellet smoker. I've had the opportunity to cook a few times on these dudes.... It's literally set it and forget it. A few around $1000 are Rec Tec and a Yoder480.
Husband, Father & Pastor. UDS, offset stick burner. Cook KCBS, & Lonestar BBQ Society.