If you’ve got the chops, Maker Shed has Arduino Leonardo boards for $20! Read the description though. They have more IO but have some exceptions.
My LCC project is growing. Too much I/O is needed! I’m exploring the I²C bus system. It seems simple enough.
Direct I/O is nice but is wasteful- I’ve used all the I/O already on the LCC project but I still need more! Wikipedia has a great write up all about it. Now I have to apply it to Arduino!