I do quite a bit of kit building and from scratch electronics building. Really, the only reason I buy kits is cause I hate looking everywhere for the correct parts. I could make my own boards and such, but it’s just simpler to send someone the money and a few days later a box with all the parts shows up. But still there are projects to build that aren’t kitted by anyone and almost always I get down to looking for one or two items that I have to search everywhere before finding.
I’m not sure where I saw the link but somehow I found Octopart it’s a simple site, simple interface and to beat all, it works! It searches the major parts suppliers for your item and displays availible quantities and compares prices. This site is already a bookmark and has been used in the last two days to find items for a project I’m about to start.