If you are contemplating doing work on your bike. You're going to need some basic tools to do the work. The right tool can make the task easier and since you are saving on labor, they are an investment that will continue to serve you well. A good motto to live buy is to only buy a tool when you need it, because they can get costly. But if you are going to pay a shop $500 in labor to do the work, buy the tools, do the work and keep the change and the tools.
There are tools and then there are tools. You see them at Target, Walmart, Sears and of course Harbor Freight. Most of these outlets sell tools from the People's Republic of China and for the most part you are renting the tool and not really buying it. They tend to break down quickly or wear out. American tools especially vintage tools are made incredibly well, designed to last generations. With that said there are several strata's of quality that can come from China and they are perfectly capable of making decent products.
Case in point are Husky tools from Home Depot. This is their proprietary brand that is made in China but is of remarkably decent quality. How can you tell. Part of it is the fit and finish of the product. Well forged with a smooth clean finish. Quality steel instead recycled lawn furniture. Better tools from Snapon and Matco have Vanadium and Molybdenum alloyed with the steel. Some add Nickel and cobalt to make the basic steel more resilient. The ratcheting mechanisms are more refined with very narrow engagement angles as little as 5 degrees. They are less apt to jam in dirty environments also.
Top of the line tools can get quite costly with a set of screw drivers from Matco costing you $85 vs $27 for the Husky brand. The former comes with a lifetime warranty and it will definetely serve you for many years. But if you don't do this for a living using the tools every day wouldn't a good set such as Husky suffice? The answer is yes. So can tools from Sears and there are some other off brands that are made in Taiwan that are also quite good. Taiwan btw = just as good as made in Japan which is also a gold standard in quality.
Speaking of the Depot they are currently offering some Christmas sets of wrenches that are quite a good deal, while supplies last. It is a 20 piece set of both metric and SAE ratcheting wrenches for $49.95. It's big. I bought several for the shop. A set like this would normally cost about $80 I think. No photo on their website but I will upload a photo of my set. They also have a great set of screw drivers which include a set of torx for $27. Costco also has a nice set for $20. These are good sets to start out.
Other great sources for tools are Amazon, Ebay and Craigslists. I will have more tool tips in the ensuing weeks ahead.