With risking getting shot down in flames, I suggest that working with digital AND film in the studio will be the best start. Use the digital (if you have one) as your polaroid. As for your question, Strobes is what I would choose (and did choose).
Just a couple things from my experience, cables are the cheap option and with most monoblocks, you should only need one (optical slaves will fire the other strobes), BUT are a PITA. I was always getting the cable caught, which would dislodge and then deform the plug on the cable. A bit of duct tape to ensure that they are in the socket does wonders OR get cables with a threaded nut.
Obviously, the best option is to use a remote trigger. You can get triggers far cheaper then the Pocket Wizards, but they will not be as reliable (I.E., the ones I have seem to mis-fire every so often). With digital, that's not really a problem, but with film can become a pain.
I also back up Danielle's post. Make sure you get the strobes that are right for the environment you are shooting in. If all you are doing is a garage, don't buy 1500Ws units, rather look at something around the 500 or even 300Ws size. I have a set of el-cheapo ebay units, rated at around 300Ws. They hardly ever see a setting above 1/16th of full power when used in my garage. But, if you intend to light up bigger area's, consider going with more powerful strobes.
If you go for cheapies, consider what features they have. How adjustable is the power? What light modifiers can they take? The cheaper units I bought take the Bowens 'S' mount light modifiers. They are also infinitely adjustable down to 1/32 of full power. Some of the even cheaper units can only take their own light modifiers or you must use the clunky four screw 'fits all' type accessories. Some of them are also only adjustable buy a couple of levels, which makes it a pain.
And yes, get a decent light meter! Even with using the pixel burner as a Polaroid, a light meter will help getting that base setting closer to start of with and will also help when it comes to measuring ratio's, ect.