My DD has a My Generation doll from Target and we got her a Madame Alexander doll from Costco at Xmas. Both were under $30-.
My DD saved up $ to go the the American Girl Doll store in LA. It was CRAZY in there. She had $80 and it was only enough for 2 outfits (I splurged for a third one for her). I felt bad for her because there were kids there who were just pointing and saying "I want that, and that, and that" and their Mothers, Grandmothers, Nannys were filling up bags & carts for them.
I also found great deals on Craigslist for 2nd hand American Girl items in perfect condition.