Yea, I know what you mean about the shipping fees. I'm actually doing a big order from LiveAquaria in the next few days. Lucky for me, I wanted to pick up a bunch of fish that I can't find locally as well as some plants, so I decided I'd just go with LiveAquaria, as what I want totals just over 225$, so I get the free shipping (well, paying 3$ extra for overnight on the plants).
If you know any other people in the hobby in your area you could always try to put together a group buy
Definitely check craigslist in your area too. You may not find people listing plants explicitly, but if you see people selling off freshwater setups that look like they were planted, you can always message to see if they have any plants they could sell, or even some stem cuttings you could get.
I'm sure you'll be able to find some stuff though. Oh, could always try Ebay too! If I had any plants that were all that interesting I'd offer some cuttings or stems of mine, but thus far I've only got the run-of-the-mill stuff like Anubias, Wisteria, Hairgrass, Microswords, etc.