If you do mail order your fork and want to install it yourself, it is easy enough. I am sure if you post up, someone close to you will be happy to help too. $25 sounds like a fair price, but it is a lot to me right now.
If you are putting your brandy new fork on an old frame, don't cut the steerer tube if you can help it or cut it as little as possible. My buddy got a used heckler frame, and when he went to put his old fork on it, the tube was an inch short. He only had the fork for 2 or 3 months, but wasn't even thinking of a new frame when he installed it. He still had the BIG piece of steerer he cut off to make it fit nice on his old frame. Now he is on my spare fork, ain't that some crap.