I would think that driving till it breaks would allow you to save up a few dollars just in case. If it were something resellable, like a motor I'd agree. But who's to say he would have broken em even if he hadn't replaced them? Like I said, it really depends on how he drives. The bad reputation comes from abuse and improper driving. A properly driven VF/16G setup should not break. The real gear killer is shock loading, but that's a combination of how you're making power and how you drive.
As for the clutch, you are supposed to use the minimum clutch that will hold what you need it to. That doesn't mean that anything over stock will automatically cause you to break a gear, it just means that for a stage 2 car you don't need a 4-puck clutch.