I had the HP PSC1215 and it had quite heavy use. I now have the Epson CX3600.
From a personal point of view, I find that the HP gave better quality printouts, but like you've noticed the cost of cartridges (even compatibles) is around double the cost of replacements for the Epson.
However, I am more than happy with the quality from my CX3600, for what I need.
So really you need to decide which is most important, quality or running costs. If you need anymore info, please let me know.