"Costs a fortune" is relative: people have real short memories about how expensive VHS tapes are compared to even premium DVD-Rs (the cheapest decent T120s still cost about $1.79 each). There is really nothing left in USA retail stores that could be called "quality media", except perhaps Verbatim, and thats only if you intend to burn them on a PC or a brand new Panasonic DVD recorder. If you have any other brand of recorder, especially more than a year old, skip "bargain" retail 16x media and get in the habit of ordering premium 8x media online. We are very very lucky to still have two brands available in 8x: TY and Verbatim DataLife. The TY usually runs about $36/100 delivered, sometimes less if on sale. The Verbatim DataLife is a bit harder to find and can run as high as $50/100 delivered.
These two 8x media are in a different league from the discs you see on sale at Staples or Best Buy every weekend for $15-25/100. They cost more, but you never EVER get a coaster, they burn well in any DVD recorder or burner no matter how old, and the quality of the burns varies from a little better to much better than what you can achieve with store-bought 16x bargain media. The Verbatim 8x uses metal azo dyes that are about as archival as you can get, the TY uses a more organic dye infused with exclusive stabilizing agents that make it nearly as archival. A few years ago, some hardware burned one better than the other, but today its a wash. Some people make a hobby of running burn quality tests on their PCs, those tests sometimes show a higher error rate with the TY but this is questionable due to accuracy issues with consumer-level testing materials and software. Certainly no one has yet complained of a TY disc "going bad", so I wouldn't hesitate to use TY or Verbatim interchangeably.
Retail 16x media is not so much "bad" as it is inflexible: it often relies too heavily on having the latest up-to-date burning hardware and firmware. Since updates are usually not possible with standalone recorders or laptop drives, you avoid potential problems by opting for 8x. And as drives age, they suck in dust and fingerprint oil which slowly compromises their ability to make good 16x burns: its mechanically easier for a drive to burn the 8x.