It doesn't have to be exxy. I had a wahl before my ghd. I paid $120 for it at hairdressers and after 2 years of everyday use it died, so I bought another. You can get them off ebay, brand new for under $50 and they also curl like a ghd does.
ETA: I just checked, they're around $30. I had a pink, then a green (I have kept it as a back up)