cheap optics suck
Being a bit stubborn, it still took me a little while to learn that cheap optics sucked. Throughout my teens and up until I was 22 or so, I figured that optics were like hookers; cheap, disposable, and you could always get another one if they died tragically. I purchased a few BSA scopes, low end Tasco, and gun show special red dots, and they all ended up having one thing in common: They sucked. When I put together my second AR, I finally sprung for a good optic, an EOTech. As to be expected, it didn't suck. This was more wifey material than hooker, and I like it and still have it to this day. I started spending a bit more on optics, and became hooked. In 2011, when I purchased a Nightforce, I was completely enamored. Having a superb optic really spoiled me, and as a result, I am hooked on good glass.
One thing to think about with good glass, is you can always put it on something else. Through personal experience, every single time I have bought a cheap optic, I have always ended up buying something else. When you add up the cost of all of the junk optics I purchased, I could have easily have bought an entry level Zeiss or Leupold. And you know what? I would still have it today, and it would not be in a landfill somewhere along with the rest of the junk optics I purchased.
sir, set down the beer and place the dremel on the table
As I grew older, I found that there is no substitute for the proper tools, reference material, and knowledge. There is no way to make the trigger on an Ishapore Enfield break at a crisp two pounds with zero overtravel just by using a Dremel and copious quantities of alcohol and cussing. When I set out in 2011 to build a 1911 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the design, I did it proper. I purchased all the specific tools, stones, and reference materials, and as a result it came out very nicely.
buy once, cry once
Every single time I have purchased something, simply on the fact that it is cheaper than what I have really wanted, I have not been satisfied, and eventually ended up purchasing what I really wanted, spending more money than I initially would have in the process.
Just bite the bullet, and buy the gun/scope/hooker/cheeseburger you really wanted, and in the long run you will be much happier.
Buying a firearm is an investment. In a world of convenience and disposable goods, it is sometimes hard to see past the price tag. Think of it as a long term purchase, where a quality product will have an amortized cost over the years. Looking at the guns of my dad, he has owned them for over 30 years, and they are still in serviceable condition, that can be passed down.
research, research, research!
When you are using the google to research anything, also try adding "Problems", "Failures", "Jams", "Recalls", and things such as this to the end of your search terms. If you start seeing quite a few topics on this, that might be a clue.
Compare and contrast a few different products. You may find that you actually like a comparable product better than what you did at first.