When I moved to my first apartment, my dad asked me if I needed anything for the move. I told him that a basic tool set would be a great present and that is how it all started. Since then, I have been adding to and refining my tool collection. I love tools! They help me to build my ideas and I let them do their job... it is a win-win situation.
I know that many tools are expensive and from experience, I can say that it does take a while to put together a functional and realistic tool box. The emphasis definitely set on "realistic." Let's face it, tools are awesome and it is way too easy to fall in the trap of buying every tool available "just in case you may need it."
For example, if you do not own a car, you do not need a pair of jumper cables. Yes, they are nifty and carry "magic" (i.e. electricity) from one battery to another but be realistic, is that a tool that you need at home? The answer as you well know is a big emphatic "NO!" Save the money and get yourself a tool specific to the projects that you are finishing or about to start.
Most people seem to get their first box of tools with home repairs in mind. Then, some of us start bit by bit to add project specific tools to the tool box. What I do is to make sure that when I go to buy a tool it is because I would not be able to finish a project unless I have that specific tool, and because I have already exhausted all other options to work around the need for the tool.
If you are not sure about how to use a tool or if you think that you will not need/use it as often, perhaps a visit to a tool library would be a good thing for you to do first. For those living in the north west of the United States and in Vancouver (Canada), there are tool libraries in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and in several other cities. As for Chicago, the place closest to a tool library which we have read about is the Pumping Station One. Another option is to ask around. You may be able to borrow tools from friends, family and others. Plus, they may be able to teach you how to use those tools.
Now, if you have made up your mind about owning your own tool kit, remember to visit second hand stores for they some times have tools for sale. Here is a check list that I have compiled to help you start or add to your tool collection. It includes basic all purpose tools and tools that will start you up on crafts and interesting projects of many sorts.
Remember, butter knives are not screw drivers and neither are tweezers. Yeah, you may get away with using such poor replacements some times but you cannot get away with it all the time!