I wanted to keep the cost down too. I worried and worried -- I finally got my wife to give me a printer for my birthday which up'ed my budget to maybe $200 -- then I cheated -- I got the 2880 at the end of its life when it was both lower priced and had a $200 rebate -- so $499. Yes, that IS more than my $200 -- but now even my wife says "what a difference".
I expect the printer to last me at least 5 or 6 years and I no longer regret the outlay.
On the other hand, I pay a bit more for ink than the newer R3000, but there you are looking at $699 to $899.
So above your budget? it was WAY! above mine -- I was using a $70 canon before that. Better? easier to use? wider? yes to all -- my wife now says it was the right choice.