I've always cut strips of paper for test strips - about 5 or 6 per sheet. I've gotten fairly good at finding a stripe of the print where I can have light and dark areas all along it. Works for me. My practices haven't changed with prices, but I'm pickier about what images I print to begin with, I think. Though I have less time to print these days anyhow. I'd guess I'm spending less on photography now than I was 3 years ago.