There were some interesting perspectives on this question in this thread a few years ago: http://www.routerforums.com/starting...odworking.html
Here's what I wrote:
I'm trying to think back to what I bought when I first got started.
I think I already had a mains-powered drill for jobs around the house. A cordless drill is very convenient, but if it's your only drill make sure it's a good one, with a 2- or 3-speed gearbox and capable of at least 1200rpm. If you have a corded drill for when you need speed and power, then a cheap cordless is a good supplement to it for smaller jobs and screw driving.
My first project was bookcases made from plywood, so the first new powertool I bought was a circular saw. If you're going to be working with sheet materials, you'll want a table saw or a circular saw. I bought a cheap circular saw with a pressed steel base, and looking back I wish I'd bought a better one. A rigid, accurately-machined sole plate and precise adjustment mechanisms give cleaner and squarer cuts.
My second new powertool was a router. Again I bought cheap, and in this case it was OK (maybe I was lucky). I used that router for years. It was fiddly and time-consuming to make accurate adjustments, but it could be done, and it cut just fine. In terms of bits, I reckon 99% of the routing on my early projects used only these: 1/2" straight, 1/4" straight, 3/8" round-over, 1/4" roundover, chamfer, and a flush-trim.
3rd would be a sander. In my case it was a basic Bosch 1/3 sheet orbital, which I still use. I've had good luck with Bosch sanders.
Hand tools: a try-square, tape measure, a couple of chisels, a back saw, hammer, utility knife, some F-clamps and quick-action clamps. Plus a couple of folding workbenches for support.
In the case of squares, chisels and saws, I think it's worth buying a little bit above the cheapest end of the market, even when starting out. Go for something basic from a reputable brand name. You'll need some method of sharpening the chisels.
Believe it or not I never bought a jigsaw until this year, and now I can hardly imagine how I got by without it, so that's also worth considering as a starter tool.
Stuff I bought early on, and wished I never had: there was the cheap circular saw mentioned above. And a hand mitre saw a bit like this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pike-Co-Com...=1&*entries*=0
- I could never get a square cut with that. Later I switched to a plastic miter box with a tenon saw, which was a bit better but still not good enough. Now I usually just mark the piece all round with a knife, hold it on a bench hook and follow the line by eye. Cheaper, simpler and the result is better too. Powered mitre saws come fairly cheap these days though, I'd buy one yesterday if I had a place to keep it.