I've personally been a slow convert to the idea of using fire-starters. As a boy I thought they always burned in a kinda cool way, but as I got older for whatever reason I thought of them as a way of cheating somehow. Like a real man just found a way to light things on fire on the first go-round or something. However, I've come to see the proverbial light and ease of comfort that a fire-starter can bring to adverse conditions...
Or at least I've found a way to meet in the middle between full on survival mode and buying a fire-starter from the store: DIY fire-starters! As it turns out there are quite a few good ideas that all work well in their own ways and have their own personalities in terms of when and how to use them.
1) Campfire starters by Wood & Faulk (pictured at top): a simple combo of wax and wood chips. A great way to use up all the saw dust generated in the workshop. Get the how-to here.
2) These pinecone fire starters are straightforward to make, and have the added benefit of a few essential oils to make every extra aromatic and awesome. Get the how-to from The BBB Craft Sisters at Design Sponge.
3) The Dryer Lint Toilet Paper Tube: Put some dryer lint inside a toilet paper roll. Stuff a small wad of newspaper in either end and let it expand to keep everything in place. Light on fire. Done.
4) Alcohol-soaked wine corks: This video shows you an easy way to fill a jar with wine corks and rubbing alcohol to have on hand whenever the firepit calls.
5) Fire Kit: Here's a slightly different take from Instructable-r Laurex2002. It's a complete waterproof kit include matches, a candle, some birch bark, and a pencil sharpener to help make tinder. Cool idea.
6) Seattle Backpacker's Magazine shows you how to create this survivalist classic: petroleum jelly embedded in a cotton ball. Get the how-to here.
Or actually master starting a campfire with just one match.