In order to minimize bandwidth usage, I have recently restricted myself to building a local repository consisting only of source packages as opposed to the previous times when I only did binary package downloads. This was helped by my recently-acquired skill of building Debian packages from source, most often just 3 simple commands:
I've been practicing the above procedure on several packages, including monsters like Linux, GLibC and OpenOffice.org, and it worked pretty well.
I did the same for GNOME 2.16/2.18 packages (Debian GNOME maintainers haven't completed the job of migrating to 2.18 yet) available in Debian's Experimental repository. This effort was initially targetted at building 2.16 version of python-gnome and 2.10 version of python-gtk2 in order to try to build Scribes, after a previous failure. But then, since I had much GNOME infrastructure (libgtk2, libbonono, libgnomevfs2, ...) already built, I proceeded on building some of my favorites as well (nautilus, gnome-terminal, gedit, etc.), and, even though I only had ~3 hours of sleep, I woke up a happy being.
I almost forgot to mention that Scribes managed to run properly, though I didn't have enough time to check it out properly. It sure looks good and am looking forward to it.
[a day later]
Although I managed to get Scribes to hang at least once, here's the more positive facts: