Re: time for me to buck up
You can represent different species simply by varying the colors and sizes. Try tying a Pheasant Tail in natural brown, olive, and black. Pheasant tail feathers are inexpensive, and one tail feather can tie a lot of flies. Or try tying a Hare's Ear nymph in different colors and sizes. So you don't have to use rabbit masks, take the hair off of a zonker strip and buy rabbit dubbing packs. Years ago, I tied up a modified #8 Hare's Ear as a stonefly nymph.
One way to save on tying dry flies is to not tie them at all, or at least, tie only a few styles. The only dry flies that I tie regularly are the Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, Griffith's Gnats, Chernobyl Ants, and Chernobyl Hoppers. My eyes are getting worse, and I don't want to deal with the fine detail of mayflies.
The reality is that you don't save much money on tying flies especially when dry flies are involved. The expense to buy your vise, tools, and materials (especially dry fly hackles) adds up. Also you need to consider your time spent at the vise as an expense.