Welcome to the forums! We have been proud Airstream owners for almost a year (about 3 weeks to go...) and have a 1963
Bambi. We are retired and needed to find something "affordable" as well.
We bought our Bambi on ebay ~ we had made ebay purchases before, but never anything that big or for more than $100... so it was a bit scary. But the folks selling it seemed honest and straightforward. We emailed them back and forth a lot while the trailer was active during the auction, called and spoke with them as well. We decided to take a chance! We needed to give them $500 deposit and pay the balance upon arrival if it met with our approval. That seemed fair enough for us. We did have to travel about 800 miles to pick it up, however... So, we took along our certified check for the balance and away we went! It was a smooth and great transaction for us. They put on new tires, greased the wheels, checked the brakes, etc. because they knew we would be traveling with her... We just had to get the lights to work with our truck, and we were ready to roll!
We knew she would need some major restoration, but we figured we could pay as we go on that part, but everything was there in the interior and looked in pretty good shape.
We have been very happy with our decision. Even if making a purchase on ebay isn't your cup of tea, you might want to watch the trailers, look at the pictures, ask questions, and see what they go for to get a fair idea of what you might be able to purchase in your price category.
There are several places to look for trailers and one is in your local papers. If you have one of those "Thrifty Nickel" type papers I would scour those! If you are close to any of the cities listed on Craigslist.com I would put the word Airstream in the search window in the for sale category... check Craigslist every day as they drop off quickly! Other than that, of course, scour all the trailer websites for trailers for sale and see what you find. It may take awhile, but I am sure you will be able to find something you like at a price you want that can be towed with your current truck!
Of course place a "wanted" ad here in the forum under classifieds!
Good luck! If you aren't really sure what you would like in a Airstream, please feel free to look at the rally calendar at the top and show up to a rally and ask folks if you can ask them questions and see their 'streams. You will more than likely receive a warm welcome!
Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)