I've written before how I don't understand how I can buy a chip on a board from China for $5, or I can buy the chip alone, in quantity, for $15.
Yesterday, I ordered parts. I looked at eBay, and ordered over 7,000 parts - resistors, capacitors, LEDs, and transistors (plus two more breadboards). The purchase was less than $60 and the shipping cost for all of it - from 8 different sellers in China - was $7.59.
I balked at the idea of ordering microcontrollers and chemicals from China (thanks to reading some counterfeit chip blog posts back in 2012), so I ordered 5 PIC16s, some thermal grease, and a few other small items from Newark. $8.72 to ship these things from South Carolina.
This time, my decision to purchase a ton of SMD parts from eBay wasn't just motiviated by price. It was also motivated by the fact that out of the three major webstores I look at - Mouser, Newark, and Digi-key, only Digi-key comes close to having an assortment in the price reach of a hobbyist (they have assortments in the $9 and up range, Mouser starts over $100, and Newark starts over $200). Maybe it has something to do with Digi-key's founder - he is an amateur radio operator.
The difference is that the stuff I ordered from South Carolina, while shipped in two packages (a true WTF? moment there, as 5 chips, 9 battery holders, and a 6.5g tube of thermal grease should fit in a small box, not two) will be here two days after I order it. The stuff from China is expected to be delivered 6/19 or after, for orders placed in the late morning of 6/3.
Honestly, every month has been busy since January. I don't expect much time to work on stuff this weekend, and then two weekends will be busy with other things going on, so the timing of the deliveries from China will likely be fine.
One thing of note, I will likely be testing every. single. part. I wouldn't be doing that if I ordered from Digi-Newark-Mouser, but since the true origin of the parts that I ordered is unknown (except for the 5 PICs, thermal grease, and battery holders), it seems that I'd be better off with an ounce of prevention (of problems).