I use 9's on my telecaster and 10's on my sg as the sg scale is slightly shorter and so the tension is reduced and the 9's would just be floppy. To be honest, it's better to go with what feels most comfortable. The very slight difference in tone from string thickness isn't worth loosing the ends of your fingers. As long as you fit your strings properly and don't go mental with your bends there shouldn't be a massive difference in the life of your strings. Don't think that buying thicker strings will save you money because they won't, they'll just hurt more.
To answer your original question, yes, lots of people play with 8's. However they are very light strings and, I would say, more suited to shredding and wild bending (of the metal variety) then other types of guitar playing. It all depends what you're in to I suppose.