With this in mind, I'd like to direct you to a beautifully rambling diatribe on The Cost of Living, more accurately known as The Cost of Luxury over at my brother's blog, The Perpetual Rambler.
Here are a few quotes:
Now we, as citizens of the 21st century like to criticise our efficiency, apparently our grandfathers could <insert grandfather anecdote here>, but you know what? Our grandfathers didn't have smart phones. Not that I am suggesting that smart phones are the peak of human technical achievements. We also have a multitude of other devices that allow us to kill zombies, or launch birds into pigs.
What is called the cost of living is in fact the cost of luxury. The cost of the ability to eat like pigs, drink like donkeys and surf the internet like some sort of distant mammalian cousin that doesn't exist but if it did it would make the perfect simile. We don't need to live this way: we could live much more simply, but we choose to live in a way that exploits other people and the environment, and we choose to do so at the detriment of everyone, including ourselves.
Go and read the whole post, and while you're there, take a look at some of his other posts, they're well worth the read.