Yes I guess it was, but I do feel strongly about same. However to a large percentage of people reading this forum, cost should simply not enter the equation, because as already mentioned by several people, over two/three years its a zero sum, so just a short term cash flow issue.
And snow/ice is not the only issue, under 7° braking distance on a winter (should quit calling them snow tyres, just add's to the confusion) tyre vss a summer tyre can mean upto 30% braking distance...that's huge.
By the by 4WD does not give better traction per se, just makes better use of the available traction, I have fond memories of my E36 with a limited diff and (very) good winter tyres going up the alps and having to overtake 4WD on m+s or summer tyres sliding all over the place. Its also good to have DSC (or equivalent) off in snowy conditions, and if possible ABS (but that is nite impossible on modern cars) Driver training on snow is also a good investment...fresh snow has a surprising amount of grip (with winter tyres)