I paid $625-650 at Costco for a set of Blizzak WS80 (205/50 17) in Nov. 2015. Yes 215/45 17 are a little more, but if you paid close to $1000 you got ripped off.
IMO your best bet is to find 2 used winter tires around the same tread depth. You said you don't drive much in winter, so you should be fine until you can afford to replace all 4. When you do get a new set of tires, 205/50 17 also fits and are cheaper.
Friends don't let friends drink cheap beer.
Last edited by stanjk3; 01-10-2017 at 12:24 AM..