This may be a stretch, but I think chopping for little dough is a tech. Let's get some ideas flying around! It's easy to see the benefits of bringing the price down on a build. Everything from lower divorce rate (I am glad my wife is understanding LOL), to less KRAFT dinners, to money left over for the next project.
SCREW THE ECONOMY, LETS PARTY!!!!!!!
Some ideas I have found/learned/ran across:
First may sound a bit odd, but sacrificing quality parts for cheaper ones is often a bad bet. A good part will probably outlast a lot of cheapies if ya know what I mean. A $100 part that outlasts even two $40 ones is cheaper once you figure in shipping/gas/lost riding/time to piss with fixing it.
Have a clear idea of what you want. This lets you buy less crap you won't use. This is the hardest for me, especially since I have a hard time getting stuff that fits right.
Try to do as much work yourself, but if you cant do something safely, pay somebody who knows how, maybe you can watch them at work and learn for next time. Hell, who knows, they may dig your project and not charge much. It may seem crazy to pay someone when trying to save money, but think how much a medical bill could cost you.
Sort of goes with the above, but try to learn everything you can, ask questions. The more you know, the more you can do yourself.
Help your friends out. If you are a wiring genius that can't weld, maybe your welder buddy who can't wire would swap some work.
Look at swap meets. It can be a bit harder than Ebay, but NO SHIPPING CHARGES.
Buy and modify stock parts, no matter what bike they are from. I got a Night Train wheel (minus rubber) on my chop for $40 after shipping... on a stock Night Train they look O.K. but on my Honda I think it looks real bitchin. Definitely not the norm on them. People take parts off and most people don't want stock parts, there is you opportunity to score them cheap!
Look if sport bike parts can work, for some reason they can go real cheap, but are usually really high quality or performance.
I pieced my first bike together, basically part at a time. I probably had $4K in it... My second one I bought a roller, sold the parts I didn't need (mostly all of them but the tank). Bought a cheap stocker, sold parts from it. I think I will have $1500 to$2K in it.
It is a crapload cheaper if you get someone's project that is either done or close to done and re-do it to your likings. All the little parts nickel and dime you to death...
Keep at it, don't give up. Chopping is hard as hell and really frustrating at times, but don't be the guy above who ends up selling an almost finished project for way less than he has in it. Slow and steady wins the race.
And the last thing I will add, if you spread purchases out over a long time, or save small amounts of money at a time for a bigger purchase, you don't feel it in the wallet as bad.
Let's hear some more ideas!