Really, it depends on whether you want to make a specific project or just any project. Most places in the world there is a huge amount of e-waste. If you keep your eye out for things being thrown away, you can get a lot of free parts. It could be fun to design projects around available parts rather than determining the parts you need to buy from the project you want to do.
Just do some research about the dangers of large charged capacitors you might find in some electronics salvage.
If you're persistent, you can get some ridiculous deals by placing low bids on eBay auctions with free shipping. There are so many auctions that sometimes parts end up selling for pennies. You need to expect to lose a lot of auctions for every one you win, and the Buy It Now prices from the Chinese sellers are already so low, so it's definitely something for someone with more time than money (or set up an automated bidding system if you want to get fancy).
I have a couple of projects in mind, but I'd be happy to build damn near anything at this point lol I'm aware of capacitors needing to be 'unloaded', I may or may not have looked into a disposable camera stun gun at one point, which suprised me when I learned it was just a capacitor. Thank's for the heads up though, that's the type of thing that could easily be overlooked.
Microchip is hobbyist-friendly WRT samples, at least if you have a professional or educational email address.
I have ... scrounged and harvested parts of a long time, and I have started to think that it was never worth it.
You wind up with a lovely collection of parts, many of which are obsolete by the time you retrieve them, you're not quite sure whether they still work, they aren't the parts that you need for a particular project, and if you bought them new from one of the discount dealers you would only have spent the cost of a meal, anyway :-( And the parts used for typical arduino projects tend to divide into "esoteric stuff that probably isn't available used" (like the humidity sensor), and common "jelly-bean" parts that are very cheap.
Yeah I've been there. Years ago I was tearing apart electronics like TVs, etc, to take the copper out. I ended up saving a bunch of parts I thought might be useful one day... After holding on to them a year or two they ended up in the trash... If I would've only held onto them for another 6 years or so lol
I'll have to look into that, do you happen to know the website for microchip?