A while back I remember seeing a link to find furring strips nearby. I can't remember if it was in the forums or on an actual plan. Does anyone remember what the link was?? I thought I had bookmarked it, but now I can't find it. We were thinking of taking a road trip to the lumber store that was supposed to carry them.
The blue and orange by me rarely have the bundled furring strips and charge $2-3 for a 1x2.
momsmess, the lumber near me is more expensive than the prices quoted here (in every store I check), and the furring strips are generally poor quality (to the point where one store's worker told me as such and explained that their use is to be hidden inside a wall, so people who use them don't tend to care what they look like). I think lumber quality and price must really vary by location. You could check with all the lumber stores in your area, including "Mom and Pop" ones. http://www.yellowpages.com is helpful for searching. If you type "lumber" in the search field you may end up with some smaller stores.
If you can't find anything better/cheaper, just know you aren't alone! Best wishes with your search!