What do you know about RFID antenna design? An RFID reader with matched antenna is pretty cheap. It seems to me that your asking means that you don't know enough about designing an RFID system to make the savings worth the hassle. I'm willing to be proved wrong, though.
My physics is a little rusty, but I do know for starters the antenna will need the correct inductance, which the formula changes for based on the shape of the antenna. Companies like TI
(well that's for HF), NXP (currently can't find their PDF), and Microchip
do offer resources for antenna design and building with their ICs.
For the time being, I believe I only need a read only IC, since this is more for identification purposes and not communication. Additionally, none of this data will have to be confidential so it can be public.
While it may be cheaper and easier to just buy something off the shelf, I feel it does not entirely suit my needs. It is sometimes not always about saving money, but more reaching a goal or accomplishment. Basically, I want to do something only because I can