For years I have used Lyman Turbo Tumbler Media, Corncob Green. My Thumblers is forty years old with one motor change. A used dryer sheet cut in four. Three to four hours depending on load and the brass comes out with a clean shine. I load em and shoot em, don't look at them as art. I quit using polish long ago, which is available at Cabela's etc.
The media is reused and reused, a lot. The dryer sheets help that.
As to cheaper ways, to each his own.
"...from my cold dead hands" Charlton Heston & NRA
"He which hath no stomach to this fight,/ Let him depart." Henry V
Its the size of the hole & where you put it.