I like to keep a running list of the materials that I need and buy them in the winter at one of the fly shows. You can find some deep discounts that way.
.... and talk about Christmas...
Halloween is a good time to find materials too
When i started tying there were no genetic necks, at least that I knew of. We used India necks. I can't really recommend them to a beginner as they're frustrating to work with, but in the most common colors you can find some that aren't too bad... Again, look for them at a show as it's almost imperative that you go through them and pick out what you want in person. ( the barbs can be deceptively long and spaced out )
For a cheaper genetic neck, take at look at the ones from Cabelas catalog, they don't tie down all that small, but the price is right.
I go out of my way to tie dry flies that don't need to be hackled. Flies like the comparaduns, the haystack and the usual.
This year I've also been using an all synthetic dry fly that I've been developing.
With just a dab of floatant, they're unsinkable