I think the kits make sense for a first try and small quantities. You save allot of dough when you buy the metal solutions 100ml or 500ml at a time but that can be a hefty investment. I bought a 100ml bottle of #3 pt and it's going to last me a lifetime cause I prefer mostly palladium prints.
As far as developers: I didn't like the citrates because of the way the highlights looked but I didn't give them much of a chance either. B+S will substitute Pot Ox in the kit if you ask.
For Clearing I just use Hypo Clearing Agent so that I can support my local camera store. For me it clears faster that EDTA and almost as fast as citric acid with the benifit of leaving the prints slightly PH+. I don't know if that's voodoo but it make me feal better.
You're gonna get addicted.