@Four - Glad to hear that you didn't get antsy and buy from the vendor
Yes, player purchases are the best way to keep your expenses low. As Tea mentioned, know your prices and don't overpay. One thing you could do to help in this is to write down the vendor prices of the Ancient armour... then you know that you should be paying less than that.
Just a little info as to why Kass and I suggested getting your totem: basically, your Druid goal is to have the one handed totem, and a decent off hand. You will rarely see a high level Druid using a staff, and even then he/she is probably just training it. These off hand items add to your stats/replenish your energy/give you extra damage depending on the item. You will need to save a lot more to buy one, but the last thing you want is to be a higher level Druid with your totem ability at 0/800. Getting the totem and ability now was an excellent choice/opportunity. I was level 30 when I had enough cash for a totem/got to Stonevale, so I had to train it for 300 points.
Once I got my totem, I used a small shield to give me some armour (banded targ, I think it was called, and it dropped in DC). Using a shield is a bit of a catch 22... it increases your armour (so you will take a little less damage) but the weight of the shield reduces the amount of energy you have for skills. It's a personal decision.
Read through the Druid forum posts, and ask any questions you have. There are a lot of experienced players here, with different builds and advice. Welcome to the Nobel Class
(Oh, and what world are you on? If Herne, you can have the Silverleaf shirt I got yesterday, and I probably have an energy pendant you can have as well).
@Kass - Thanks for the shout out. It means a lot, considering you were my first in-depth Druid teacher
Remember when you talked me out of buying that 20k offhand orb? I would still have that in my inventory if I bought it. lol.
@howard - I guess Ancient depends on the player. I liked it a lot. It adds some good resists, and is very good while waiting for Warden. I agree with you that he should save up for a regen item.
@Tea - Ya know, that is a solid bit of advice re: letting people know he isn't begging. And yes, I am generally a jaded Druid now. I was giving away necklaces to under 20s the other day, and they started asking for better ones.