The kit I bought from thecheesemaker.com was cheaper than the sum of it's parts by about $35 not counting the free shipping, at the time. I'm particular about getting a good deal as well. As much as I already had a cheese thermometer the one included in the kit was a better one, and having two can be handy. My total order was a little over $300USD if I recall. It included enough rennet, starter culture, and mold spore to make about 75 lbs of cheese by my estimates. I was skeptical of the value of the ripening box it included, but it included fitted draining mats and is really quite handy. I ended up saving myself more than 50 bucks. But I'll agree that with many retailers the kits may be more expensive than buying a la carte, and many other kits I looked at included products that were not what I really wanted.
The taper on my tomme mold is very slight, hardly noticeable on casual inspection but enough to stop the progress of the follower just beyond the halfway point. He sells the straight-sided and tapered one each labeled as such. By the dimensions provided one the ones I viewed on the moorland's site, they look to be straight sided.
I use sea salt for almost all of my brines and dry salting. It's what I regularly have on hand. I haven't had any problems using it either. I run the coarse sea salt through a grinder. I'm not using fluer de sel or mined himalayan pink here, I use a relatively inexpensive variety that I buy at the grocery next to the table salt. It contains no anticaking agents. The commercial grade sea salt certainly has some other trace elements in it, but not nearly to the level that many of those pricey grey sea salts contain. (Of course all those elements in the high end salts are what make them such wonderfully complex condiments, yet rather bad choices for cheesemaking.).