A decent site for audio-video manipulation is http://club.myce.com/
Here's the result of a search on the topic:
"CD" players are capable of playing more than the old CD format files (extension= .cda), including .mp3 files. Some CD players are dumb as rocks.
In addition, for maximum compatibility between different CD players, you may have to burn the CD using a compatibility enhancement mode in the burner software that I think is called "ROM" or "BOOK".
Some burners (like Nero?) will let you drag/drop files into a window and automatically set them up with a built-in template for burning as a "music CD". The "pro" versions may or may not automatically convert the files if needed, to the proper format.
For general audio file format conversion, you can use tools like freeware Xmedia Recode, Audacity Audio Editor, etc. Majorgeeks.com
has a good selection of such programs.
Multimedia conversion etc. http://majorgeeks.com/download.php?id=32
edit to add:
To address your question re: money/equipment, as long as you've got your recorded audio files on the HDD and you have a CD burning capable optical drive, you should be able to do everything needed with freeware or donateware.
By the way, once you have that basic process under your belt, you may want to look at using an audio processing program like Audacity to handle audio compression (not the same as digital data size compression), hiss, etc. problems you may find on old audio tapes. Depends how much effort you want to put into it to obtain the best possible quality.