Alright, got my ranger up to lvl 12 last night from lvl 10 - and went through about 400 arrows. Also died twice, but that was just bad luck.
It's true, we go through arrows like a SAM50 through wild hares, but it doesn't have to be that bad. Some guidelines I try to follow:
1) Learn to make your arrows. If you can, learn to make your armor too. This can be really expensive to start with, but so far, I've been living on a shoestring budget (never more than 7k gil, and more often around 34 gil :P) and managed to survive. Know where to buy your materials cheap and don't be afraid to stock up when you do have the gil.
2) Take up fishing. Okay, yes, fishing is EXPENSIVE to start - the rod, the bait, etc. But, at the moment, a stack of moat carp goes for 4k on Unicorn in San d'Oria and costs about 800 gil in bait to catch (just made lvl 1 in fishing skill). Not a bad profit margin, and it's something to do while you're waiting for your AH items to sell :)
3) You've got that sword/dagger, USE IT. Not all dmg a ranger does needs to be with the bow. A DRG friend and I team up and kill tough mobs and, generally, I get away with 2 or 3 arrows a mob by throwing in a few melee blows as well. Granted, the dmg isn't as high, but when you're in a party, you aren't the only person dealing dmg either. Know when you need to fire and when you can get away with a stab. Your arrows are expensive, so don't just waste them.
4) Wide scan is your friend. No, really. If you're farming for synth materials or trying to make some money, use widescan and the track function to locate and kill the mobs with the best drops. Also, if you're pulling for a pt, use widescan to make sure there's no unexpected mobs in the area you're heading to. Not 100% effective, but far better than flying blind.
5) If you're REALLY concerned about gil shortages, get a THF05 or higher as your sub. Gilfinder works. Go farm orcs or gobs and start raking it in. There's no shame in hunting for money. Also, "Steal" comes in handy for sellable or synthable items.
6) Be prepared to tank. No, we don't have the HP for it. But we deal THE most damage of any melee class and, since we're also usually the pullers and getting first shot(s), we're probably going to get aggro and hold it a while. Make sure your equipment is up-to-spec, your hp is as close to healed after every battle as possible, and that you watch the mages' MP for any sudden dips.
Rangers really do get the short end of the stick. Few other classes *HAVE* to spend the equivalent of thousands of gil per level just to fight, and most other classes get more respect in pt. Because you're so likely to get aggro, WARs can look at you as another liability and WHM may get tired of healing you EVERY fight. Rangers aren't really "melee" and aren't casters, so the pt dynamics take a little more effort and thought.
It is worth it, though. Watch your team's jaws drop the first time you do an eagle eye shot, or as you rake a mob with arrows. As we learned during our quest, rangers exist for the hunt and excel at it where others are only mediocre in comparison.
Live by the fang, die by the fang, leave only the fang behind.
"There's a new twist in the game."