Welcome to the wonderful world of Arduino!
One thing you could look into for the permanent board would be a MAX232 chip for your programming. MAX232 just turns RS-232 Signals (Computer Serial port, +12/-12v) to TTL Compatible Signals (UART, just 5v). That way, you could use a Serial Port on your computer (if your computer is less than 5 years old, it probably won't have a serial port) or, buy a USB to RS-232 cable for $2 on eBay.
You need 4 capacitors with the chip, size of which depends which chip you get.
There are also USB-to-TTL converting chips.. but I haven't seen any that are DIP format (bread-board kind of chip, like Arduino's) most of them are the flat.. hard to solder, small chips. (For example, the chip on the Arduino board that says FTDI232R, that's one of em:D)