I started in Dec 2004, and have acquired quite a stash:
Various straights in bamboo and metal
Various dpns in wood and acrylic? (bryson)
Boyes set (which I also don't like)
A few Addi's.
My biggest suggestion is: EBAY! Many of my needles came from Ebay - alot of times there will be huge lots of needles sold.
Also make use of your Joann's and Michael's 50% off coupons.
Unfortunately these are the tools of the trade - you gotta have them in all different sizes, and often in multiples of the same size.