May I ask which affordable puerh, that you sourced from the net, are you talking about?
I prefer not to, as i do not want to name particular dealers here, which i would have to, as none of them are any big name teas. I have tried many dealers, and many teas. I haven't tried though old teas that would be way out of my price league (i would not pay more than 100 to 150 US$ at most for a cake - this is just my limit, and i better am patient, buy them younger and wait some years until they get older).
On the positive side - i have bought some nice inexpensive semi aged teas, in particular from Yunnansourcing. I just got 2 cakes of the now sold out 2002 Yiwu Ancient Spirit, as an every day Pu Erh, which is already very nice to drink, and cost 40 something a cake. I also got 2 cakes of 2003 Wu Chi Dao "Menku Zheng Shan" for 44 US$ a cake, which will in a few years be very nice, i hope. Both of those teas were stored for some years in a more humid climate, which accelerated the aging process. I would not buy these teas if they were stored in Kunming as the dry climate makes for very little change - i have tried ten year old Kunming stored teas which were still very green tasting.
Also Red Lantern has some nice not too expensive semi aged teas.
Usually, when i like a tea after it is ten years old, i try to put one cake aside for long term storage, so that one day i will have access to 20 year plus tea of a quality i would not be able to afford to buy. I have a few already that are now up to 15 years old. A few more years...