I think SpeedStick is just unable to pay because he wants to get EVERYTHING free :-)
But anyway, there is a free solution.
First of all, set $registerInactiveUsers=TRUE; in setup_options.php so this setting remains uncommented.
Second, enable $emailadmin=1; in setup_options.php, so admin will receive an email about new user's registration.
Third, modify email_admin_userregister_eng.txt template and paste URL to user's profile. Like
When you as admin receive a message, you will be able to click on this link straight away (but you need to be logged in as admin of course).
Additionally, modify $l_thankYouReg var of language pack and add the sentense about users become active after approval. Something like:
$l_thankYouReg='Thank you very much for registering! Your registration is forwarded to our administrator for approval. Only after approval you will be able to sign in use our forums in full mode. It could take from 24 to 72 hours for this.';
Everything above made will work out the following: when user signs up, his account is blocked immediately. However, clicking on the link in notification link, you will see "Member" - "Yes/No" menu (when logged in as admin of course); if needed, you need to click on a "Yes" link and activate the user.
True additional code is needed if you want to notify the user his account has been unblocked, but I think this is a custom question already, and if you can't pay, you need to work on it yourself.