Beside buying cookware new, you can always buy second hand. As I said before, my other pieces of enameled cast iron have been collected along the way via eBay, thrift stores and garage sales.
I swiped this great design piece at a garage sale this summer. I bargained the price down to $5.00, pointing out the severely rusted bottom, which had not been coated in enamel; a scam on my part as rust is really easy to remove with steel wool. (Never use steel wool on enamel coating though!) I got it home, scoured the rust off, and was able to recognize the old Revere Ware logo.
This is a real vintage piece, as Revere Ware doesn't make enameled cast iron any more, favoring modern non-stick Teflon (yuck!).
Cheap Le Creuset and such are a bit of a find at thrift stores, as they have gained mass popularity lately and are known to most clerks who take advantage marking them way up. However, every now and again, you might get lucky. This is a replica of a pot my Dad is constantly gloating about buying for only $2.50 at a small town thrift store in Michigan. So there are some deals out there, but good luck finding them at city thrifts.
Vintage Le Creuset originally posted by eBay seller Maggs775.
I got this picture off a current eBay auction which currently has no bids and has a minimum bid for $16.00. Not as good as $2.50, but what can you do? There are a few chips on the edge but I don't think its a big deal as it won't affect your food. You may have to watch for rust developing there, but sometimes you have to suffer for a nice vintage design.
eBay is also a great place to find used cookware, as they have tons of Le Creuset and other enameled cookware listed.
Here is an awesome vintage red skillet (in perfect condition) my sister got me for Christmas last year for only $15.oo!
You'll find a lot of eBay sellers hawking liquidated wares for near to full price, but scattered within, there are some good deals. I just did an advanced search for cast iron Le Creuset under $50 and there are four pages! Here are some great finds:
Vintage Blaze Sauce Pan listed by eBay seller Bozo1234
With three days left, this vintage sauce pan has no bids yet, minimum bid starts at $9.99. Ah, this fine specimen will temporarily fix my vintage cookware craving.
5 Piece Vintage set posted by eBay seller Halloo2.
Here is a 5 piece vintage set with two sauce pans and a fry pan (with no enamel coating in the base) with only 2 days left for $25.00. Wow! In case you haven't noticed, I have a real affinity toward the vintage Creuset with the hollow tube handles; they look great and aren't supposed to get as hot.
This Baking dish is currently at $0.99 with one bid with only a day left!
Le Creuset Baking Dish posted by eBay seller PittsburgPugs
Plus all the proceeds go toward benefiting Bruce the Pug, so basically its a win win!
Literally the list goes on and on. Beside eBay, Craig's List is also a great place to search. Check out this awesome post on BackGarge.com which tells you how to do multi-city Craig's List queries and set up an RSS feed to alert you if any of your preferred items comes up! Thanks BackGarge, informative as always.
So get out there and perhaps this Le Creuset Pear Casserole dish could be yours!
I know its stoneware and not cast iron, but lets not quibble over details!