You just need to keep an eye on the refurb section at Apple. The stock will fluctuate, but it doesn’t look like any lower cost models are available AT THE MOMENT.
In general, Apple laptops are well regarded for their reliability and longevity. Even buying an older MacBook model is probably going to serve you fine. Even the last generation of Air is perfectly serviceable if you can tolerate the lower res screen (and the keyboard is held in much better regard than the current model). Best Buy has the prior gen Air for $800
Otherwise, the usual caveats apply: watch your models for sales, wait for holiday sales and don’t be afraid to jump on a good deal. I saw the newest MacBook Air hit $850 over the holidays, and the prior gen Air I think hit $650 at one point. The bad part is that the major holidays are over so sales and deals are apt to be few and far between until the fall when stores start to clear out older inventory with updated systems.