about the gumball machine, I thought that the question will be multiple choice, so that the answer will be easy , just entering a number ..
I found the SD card breakout to be pretty simple and that would allow future modification without reprogramming and the exportation of stats.
However I recently found in target a little electronic candy dispensing toy.Howver like strykeroz said, this isn't something that you're going to be able to throw together immediately. I suggest breaking the project down into pieces and figuring out each on individually, then work on putting them together.If you use a premade candy dispenser, I would expect it to be easier, but don't expect it to be simple work to get it working with the arduino.
...I recently found in target JCP a little electronic candy dispensing toy.
Also, what do you mean by breaking the project into pieces ?