Projects are fine, if you love projects. Scrounging can help with parts costs. Otherwise, spend the money on a rider.
However, sometimes one gets lucky. My current cage is 1992 Achieva for which I paid $250. It had straight, rust-free metal, 56,xxx miles, garage kept, tits on the tires, one owner, and maintenance receipts up until it was parked. Did not run after the original owner parked it and went to a nursing home "a little over a year ago." Owner's son figured a year parked with E10 in the tank would ruin the fuel system. Bought the car to part out. Got it home, the date sticker on the "new battery just before it was parked" was 4 1/2 years old, and the latest service receipt matched that age. Figuring there was no E10 in this area at that time, it might start, so borrowed the battery out of my sons truck and fired it right up. Stuck torque convertor clutch selenoid cleared itself up over time.
23 ignition switch
14 wiper blades
27 Mobil 1 oil
12 Fram Toughguard
375 total project cost
6 months and $4000 miles later, all is well.