I gave it a shot and built it myself.
The lower is from a local gun shop. CMMG lower parts kit, generic 6 position stock. Upper is a Palmetto State blemished. Without magazines I am in it for just under $450. Still got a few things to pick up but I'm pleased and I learned a lot.
I started out with a DPMS Sportical and am slowly converting it to custom built.
Only the upper is still DPMS.
Finished 80% lower with a Bushmaster LPK and MagPul MOE stock and buffer.
I have a stripped upper with forward assist and dust cover to finish assembling.
it wasn't near as hard as I anticipated...honestly, the hardest part was researching what all the stuff does TOEGTHER to make a good rifle. Oh, and waiting on stuff to go on sale or searching for good prices to keep stuff within my budget.
Congrats! I built my first last year. I had the same experience you did. Learning how to assemble it was fast. Figuring out what combination of parts I wanted and finding them at a good price took awhile. I couldn't be happier with the result.