Well, having spent too long doing exactly what you describe (printing), and damn well too, if I may say so, I do not wholly agree about the temptation with real paper printing. I have to go back to my statement about that certain gut feeling: it was there as a confirmation that one had nailed the shot; the time to stop was just understood without any sense of maybe about it.
Neither can I agree with the thing about obscene costs of the wet medium. Okay, I'm clearly speaking of my time when I was doing all that darkroom stuff, which was really until the mid-late 70s, and cost was never a problem because a client was paying for it all. (Post late-70s I worked pretty well exclusively on transparency material.) For me, transparencies were not only the medium of necessity for reproduction, but specialising also allowed me to concentrate/hone my technique to suit it. I almost invariably used Kodachrome 64 Pro with a few Ektachromes when 6x6 was demanded, which was not often.
(There's a funny/sad tale associated with my b/w printing. I was invited to a soirée at the advertising offices of House of Fraser in Glasgow, one night, and as I was chatting to one of the design staff, I asked him who the author was of one of the shots pinned up on the wall. It was of my favourite model, looked amazingly good, and I wondered who had crept up behind me when I wasn't looking and had done such a cool job in nipping some of the work. The guy looked at me, said Rob, what a cheap way of looking for a compliment! Hell's bloody bells, it was one of my own shots and I didn't even remember having shot it or printing it! I felt an absolute asshole! Which just goes to show that there are indeed very good busy times in any business. If only they lasted!)
I have now made the jump to Word; I hadn’t expected this post to be very long. What follows will probably be somewhat disjointed because I can’t see your post any longer, as I don’t want to keep jumping from here to LuLa, which would be as awkward as just using the currently hopeless little box that marks the new paradigm of progress ;-)
As far as digital print tweaking goes, yes, you can undo what turns out to be a step too far, but the point is to know where that step lies before you feel obliged to take it.
Many people claim that their calibrated systems save them from having to do any testing beyond what they see on the monitor. This may mean two things: they have wonderful systems; they are geniuses. Myself, though the monitor is calibrated, even with b/w I have to tweak way beyond what looks optimal on the monitor. In other words, WYSInotWYG in my case! In the event, I probably, no, certainly end up wasting far more time and paper with digital print testing than I ever did with wet. And this time, there are no external clients: I’m in the mug’s game of being my own!
Not having researched equivalent paper prices for wet v. digital printing, I can’t tell you which is, sheet per sheet, the more expensive these days, but it would be irrelevant as I can’t realistically consume the water that non-plastic prints require for washing. But I tell you this: I would love to produce Kodak WSG 2D prints instead of these Hahne Rags that I do!