I don't have recommendations but do have sympathy. I'm researching different breeds and finding the prices for well bred puppies in the same range you are. I think the Covid demand for dogs has caused breeders to raise prices considerably, and wait lists for some breeds are crazy long. Even rescues are wanting what seems to me to be high adoption fees. Personally, I plan to pay the price necessary to get a puppy from a decent breeder, but I wouldn't pay more than rescue prices for a mix, but that's just me.