I've posted an article on my website about budget thru-hiking (http://www.sourcetosea.net/Articles/...ing-cheap.html
) The biggest way to save money on a thru/section hike is to avoid spending too much time in towns. Hammocks can be a big part of this equation.
If I were to do another thru-hike, I'd use a hammock. I really think that the comfort level is worth the extra few ounces, and I know that I'm more likely to spend the night in the woods instead of a hostel/motel if I can get a good night's sleep. Hammocks also open up a world of places to camp that are close to town so you can get in, do your errands, grab a big meal, then head out before dark without worrying about finding a campsite.
Check out the article and tell me what you think. It's a work in progress and I'll be revising a few things in the next month or so.