#1 tip... more places than record stores sell records. Hit up thrift stores, salvation army, goodwill, etc. You can get albums for a dollar or less. Also, if you have public transit, then take advantage of that.
As for your topic... nothing will simulate it imo. eDigging is just too musical. It sounds dumb, but there's something to be said about going to a record store or goodwill, and just going over hundreds of albums, looking at the covers, the album notes, the instrument credits, and the albums themselves. All while having no playback of the records. I'm far from a vinyl purist (started sampling by recording classic jazz/orchestra music on the radio to cassette tapes overnight, then messing with MP3s, now doing vinyl and MP3s) but there's a very physical and completely non-musical thing going on when you're digging through record crates.
To me eDigging is more like what happens once you have albums and you put them on the turntable to see what you've got. Instant playback makes it more of a utility and you're cutting out a lot of the process. To make an analogy, eDigging is like seeing what you have in the fridge, then going online to find recipes to make with what you have, then you cook. Digging is like actually going to the farmer's market, looking at the fish and produce, talking with the butcher about good cuts of meat, putting your hands on the vegetables to find what you hope will be the best ones... then coming home, going online, and finding a recipe to cook. Half of the process is completely removed.
MR. SICKVISIONZ ON THE DAY FUTURE MUSIC