If I were to just buy essentials off the list...
I would invest in
2. page protectors
(although post bound albums and some 2 rings already have these)
3. Cardstock - Bazzill
is a good brand but I haven't found any I really don't like
4. Paper cutter (make sure it is 12")
5. Scissors - straigh - I like Cutter Bees
6. Ruler - clear is nice for seeing marks
7. White plastic eraser
8. Glue Eraser
9. Lettering/Fonts - I like Rub ons a lot (I am a huge fan of Making Memories
Thickers are very popular - blacks and whites are probably the most versatile
10. Black pens and colored markers (actually I prefer a writing marker for my journaling too) People here have also convinced me to purchase the Signo Uniball white pen for dark paper.
11. Grease pencil (again I prefer a marker made just for this purpose)
12. photo corners (clear are the most versatile - big ones can attach memorabilia as well - like invitations and programs and such if you would like to be able to remove them at a later date)
I don't use vellum much at all. The use of the exacto knife escapes me, and I am a clutz so that's a bad idea. The self-healing mat kind of goes with the exacto knife and other such cutting tools. And the tote is really only useful if you travel with your scrapbooking. I don't go to many crops and the like. So other types of storage are much preferred for me.
In addition, I like a small circle paper punch (use it a lot for all kinds of things... eyelet and brad placement, simple designs, Stickles placement guide, fiber threading, etc. etc.) and my Xyron
sticker maker for easy application of small pieces of cardstock and the like.