I started in other toy lines then migrated into SW.
Going back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I collected (played with) 12" GI Joe's. They were toys, though, not collectibles. I hit puberty about the time of SW, so drifted out of toys at that time, though still loved them and comics as well.
Around 1986 I started collecting comics, as much to read as anything else. Every so often I would pick up a Marvel character or two: Venom, spidey, green goblin, Cable, wolverine. Comic shops also sold these hideous little figures (I sent Scott a couple, much to his dismay) of Marvel characters, grossly overpriced, but that would be my first "collection".
I started on SW in 1995, with the orange cards, a story found elsewhere here. I would have to say others influenced my purchasing habits, predominantly folks from boards that I traded with. Drewlam would be responsible for my vehicle collection, having seen his and how cool they looked. Needless to say, as I often do, I carried it a bit overboard
McFarlane is due to conversations on snowtroopers.ca and Brew, over there. I still like the figures, and love the adrenaline rush of finding chase figures, but the line is becoming repetetive, overproduced and with questionable, IMO, players. So scaling back is a natural.
I had an original Homer for some time and decided to get them all at some point, having seen others collections. That line always has stayed well in focus. Again, other people influenced the decision, but ultimately it was a line I liked.
Marvel Legends/spidey figs are my first love, so getting these has been a no brainer. Also a fortunate selective attitude was in place from the get go, so it's saved some money. Not enough money, mind you. But this can be traced back to my love of comics, first in the 80s-90s, and previously as a young child 5-10 at my aunt+uncle's cottage, where if it was raining we read comic books. Had me hands on Amazing Fantasy #15, I did. Dog eared and tattered, but worth more than you could ever get for a mint copy to my relatives.
LOTR I've been in and out of, then back in, in a selective fashion. So very many figures and honestly, I wish they'd made a 3" line, I would have gone whole hog on them. The size issue is just overwhelming though, so limitations are in place
Just about everything else is related to SW, so here ends the tale.