Is a new crate 9" a good option? Yes.
Is it affordable? It depends.
Currie, Quick, all sorta people make one. Potato/po-tot-oh
Personally I don't like the 9" ford base design rear, just preference thing. There are some design related thing's I don't like (inefficient compared to other options) but my biggest gripe is the market. I think also a ton of people spend a ton of money on a 9" when the car will live on street tires, jack stands or the garage it's whole life. If you aren't clutch dumping at 4000+ rpm or on sticky tires a 7.5 in good mechanical shape is FINE for 95% of the population.
Used 9" 3rd members that cost $1000 to set up are worth $850 after 3 years of merciless beatings at the drag strip, sorry dude, that's not the case. There is wear and depreciation.
There isn't a factory 9" left in the junkyard that has a gear ratio, width, axle spline count, diff carrier or brake style that's right for any performance application (G body, nova, Fox, hot-rod)
A currie/quick 9" has as much in common with a ford 9" as a Dart or SB2 to a OEM GM SBC.
Does time have a value of money? Sure. But, there are a lot of hidden costs with a 9" that seem to get glossed over. If you are charging yourself to work on your own car I guess, but I've never paid myself to set up my own gears or weld my axle tubes.
However I went the total bonkers route 99% of people can't do so I'm a bit in left field.
Buy $75 zr2 8.5 rear, factory disk/30 spline/g80/3.73 rear from salvage yard
Hummer H2 AAM $50 forged 1350 yoke
Cut the tubes off the 8.5 and sleeve in 7.5 tubes $free
Swap zr2 brakes onto g body tubes, new rotors & pads for $50
Moser 30 spline G body axle shafts $280
Moroso studs $35
Pick your poison of posi carrier (yukon, OEM posi, trutrac) $free-$450
Use 3.73 gears or swap to your ratio of choice $free-$250
$35 rebuild kit from QP
$25 of brake line from the vato-zone, oh-really's, or NA-PAW
Design an UCA bolt on flange and machine on your buddies CNC bridgeport, hey that one was fun! $40 drop steel + $25 endmill + some welding gas & wire, $50 for spherical upper bushings
But I can watch people's eyes glaze over when I tell them what it is which is worth it to me.