The tools you need always depend on what kind of projects you work on. For example, If you work alot on electronics, a basic kit would be composed of a Soldering iron, wire strippers etc... If you enjoy fixing cars, wrenches and a socket set would be more appropriate. I will try to list as many tools I can possibly think of, If I miss anything or you have other suggestions don't hesitate to write a comment and I will add them to the list.
Step 1: Budget / Where to Acquire
Keep your eyes peeled for sales, this is when you can find good deals, multi-packs and clearance items that will last you forever at a fraction of the cost. This technique is the one that i am currently using. I am trying to spend the least amount of money as possible and making small purchases over a period of weeks.
If you need a specialized tool that you do not own, ask around, maybe a relative could lend you theirs for a short while, trade schools, high schools and small businesses around your neighborhood might be willing to lend them to you. If all else fails, you could even rent some power tools and scaffolding at certain tool rental companies.
Step 2: Storage
Im currently Storing my tools in Toolboxes, I have one of those red metal lunchbox-like ones, a big bulky plastic case with a handle and also a medium sized contractors bag. Mechanics drawers are also a good but expensive option
Here are some links to other instructables on tool storage.
Tool Box that doubles as a bench!
A 5 Gal Bucket and a pair of jeans for tool storage/
Shopping Cart transformed into a tool cart
If you have room:
Peg Board tool cart
Magnetic tool rack
Build a Work table for your shop
Tank tough Workbench
Step 3: The List.
Steel Toed Boots
Respirator (w/ appropriate cartridges)
Circuit tester / Voltmeter
Ball Peen Hammer
Mallet (wooden or rubber)
Wrenches (Metric and SAE)
Locking Pliers (Vise Grips)
Pliers ( Needle Nosed, Cutters, Side snips)
Hole saw kit
-Basic Power tools
Sander- Orbit /Belt/Reciprocating
CIrcular saw (SKIL)
Drill (corded or Cordless)
Hole saw kit
Compound miter saw
Sawzall or Reciprocating saw
Dremel (rotary tool)
Regular chop saw (for metal)
-Shop Power tools