I have been able to put together almost the whole set without spending more than $8 on any one card. I have bought commons and some stars in pretty cheap lots. I have found some stars cards at what I consider bargain prices. I have picked up some of the harder to find high number series through COMC for reasonable prices.
My only concern was the big card of the set, a Rookie Third Basemen card of Ron Cey, John Hilton, and MIKE SCHMIDT. With this card holding up the value of the set, I knew that this would be where I would have to spend the bulk of my money if I were to complete the set. I have probably looked at a hundred Schmidt rookies since deciding to put this set together. All of which were either way overpriced, or in poor condition (and still overpriced).
I almost pulled the trigger at a card show last fall, but the dealer would not budge off of his $75 price for a decent but not great card. I was willing to go $60, but he wouldn't come down. I almost decided to settle for a miscut and off-center card as I haven't been too worried about the condition of some of the cards. However, I decided that I really wanted to have a decent Schmidt Rookie to cap off this set. I decided that if I could find a card that was in decent shape with no creases or major corner damage for less than $50 then I would do it.