Blizzaks are hands down the best overall winter tire I've ever used. The only major flaw is the rubber compound is SUPER soft and wear down super fast if used in warmer weather so it will wear faster than normal tires. ALSO, they're expensive compared to other winter tires. Toyo apparently has a lookalike they just released that I've heard good things about. My other favorite is the Hankook I-Pike...best price point for performance imho.
Studded tires perform slightly better on thin ice over the blizzaks, but the blizzaks are superior when there is more than a dusting of ice or snow on the ground - especially in snow.
As far as saving money, I wouldn't get the OEM size. Downsize the width, it will be cheaper and skinnier tires actually perform better anyway. Hell, I'd throw a set of 16" steel wheels on and rock a 205/55/16.
But...that's me. To each their own.