One thing that started to happen as I have been placing larger and larger parts orders is that, for a while, I lost all control of shipping costs. And when you are starting out, an extra $30 shipping charge here and there, really adds up - fast.
So, my favorite supplier is Mouser. I really love those guys. I've used others, but their search engine agrees with me and how I think. One thing I *do not* like about mouser is that they don't give you a real estimate of your shipping before you check out. They add the shipping charges when they bill your CC - you never really know what it's going to be. After a while you start to get a feel for what an order will cost in shipping - but there can be some real surprises. One of them is the whole concept of "dimensional weight." That's when your package doesn't weigh that much, but it's so large that the carriers will charge you extra just because of the size. You combine that with some fast shipping, and your shipping bill can start to climb towards $100. Ouch.
One thing I've noticed is that (IMHO) mouser uses way too much bubble wrap. Sometimes, the packages I would get would have 3-4 layers of bubble wrap. This package (see below) put me over the edge - I was livid when I looked at the bill and saw my charge. I later measured the bubble wrap. It was 25 friggin' feet. 25 feet! I paid for 2 day shipping on 25 feet of bubble wrap??? I already own bubble wrap! I just wanted the parts! Grrrrrr!
This is all the extra unneeded packing I removed
All that extra space was 25 feet of bubble wrap.
So what I've been doing to help avoid these unexpected charges is just add a note to my order when I check out. I've received about 5 orders now, all very carefully packaged, all making the best use of space - and best of all - no more huge shipping charges! Woot! Now I'm saving about $30 an order.
A kind note seems to work every time.
I know mouser is being responsible packing things so well. But I don't feel that I need all that bubble wrap for bags of passives. Almost anything in a through hole dip package is inserted into foam before shipping anyways - so I haven't seen any bent pins other then some large caps that were loosely packed in a plastic bag - and those get bent anyways.
Hope that tip helps someone.