You will generally find that a given lens manufacture sticks to a few filter sizes... or tries to.
For Nikon, you'll find quite a few 52mm threads, then it jumps up to 62mm threads and then to 77mm threads. Sigma is a bit more over the place though has a number of 58mm threads and 72mm threads. And Tamron is mostly 62mm and 72mm threads. (I've only mentioned the 3rd party lenses and Nikon hear because thats what the lens system in the question - other lens systems can be seen following the links at Tiffen - Lens to Filter charts)
If you stick with one lens manufacture, you will find that you don't need stepping rings for your lenses. The difference between 52 to 62 is significant enough that it merits a new filter... and to 77mm its really awkward to put a 77mm on a 52mm thread.
Thus, I've found that I've purchased the key filters in the various sizes that I use for my lenses... and they are consistent - paying attention to this and planing lenses does make this an easier thing to do.
Another approach is to get a square filter system. The two that stick in my mind here are Lee and Cokin. Cokin has a number of sizes, you will ultimately want to get one that matches our filter sizes. For Lee, there's only one size... avoid the Cokin A size (36mm - 62mm threads) and look instead at the P size (48mm - 82mm threads) or Z-Pro (49mm - 96mm threads).
Lee takes 4" filters which are very common and made by a number of manufactures.... Cokin, less so.
Always, look at the rectangular filters and the filter holder.
The basic idea is that you get a filter holder and then adapter rings for that filter holder, and then square filters for that system. This way, you are only buying one filter of a given type.
Here you see a Cokin Z-Pro filter holder with a 77mm thread adapter ring in place. There are slots to hold the filters (this one has two spots). On the higher end lineups (the 'Pro' Cokin and Lee types) you can adjust how many filters are held by removing the screws and adding or removing slots (in case the slots are getting in the way for a wide lens, or if you want to to stack several filters together (Lee twilight set - example there's the mahogany filter in the sky, the twilight in the water, the the stripe in the middle))
Adapter rings for square systems will run you between $30 and $60 depending on the system and the features of the ring (one that is designed for wide angles will be more than a generic one).