It is not possible to realistically compare the cost of recurrent training in terms of dollars. Too many variable are involved - type of plane, type of recurrent training done, how sharp the pilot is, etc. However one thing is beyond dispute. Recurrent training in a sim allows the instructor to introduce system failures as well as multiple failures in a far more realistic fashion.

Through the years I have done recurrent training for a number of pilots. Sometimes we get together once a year, while others prefer training twice a year. Sometimes we fly in a plane, but always the recurrent training involves one or more sim sessions. There is a reason Flight Safety is such a success -- insurance recognizes the value of sim training.

Recurrent training in a plane certainly has its place and cannot be dismissed. The sim is typically a quiet atmosphere and does not force the pilot to deal with the real world of ATC communications. To achieve the best results, recurrent training would ideally involve both sim and airplane sessions.

I generally advise newly rated instrument pilots to periodically come back for refresher training. The same thing goes for newly-minted multi-engine pilots. At the time of the multi-engine checkride, the emergency procedures are fresh in the pilot's mind and have been honed to the level of automatic response during the training. But the sad reality is that once the checkride is done, many multi-engine pilots tend to let those emergency skills erode, often to the point that if an emergency really does happen, they are not prepared to deal with it. It's a recognized statistic that the fatality rate in multi-engine accidents is higher than in single-engine accidents. Coming back for a wringing out in the sim covering multi-engine emergencies is pretty inexpensive insurance that you will be better prepared to deal with the unexpected.

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