This reminds me of that Ellen Goodman quote - "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."
I'm old enough to remember the times when life didn't revolve around money so much, so to me it's always seemed a little odd that people obsess about it so much. Not that I wasn't part of the rat race once. I even worked in the 'States for a few years in the 80s running the US subsidiary of a European financial services company. I earned more than I rightly knew what to do with so gave most of it away. Friends back home who were teachers, nurses, etc, were earning a fraction of what I was for doing far more worthy jobs. It was frankly obscene. So when my stint in the 'States was over, I quit. There have been times when I've really struggled to pay the bills since, especially with 3 kids, but I never regretted leaving that job. Since that point, I've never again been anyone's salaried employee and have been progressively working my way out of The System altogether. It's slavery, pure and simple!
I now live on land I own outright. My only regular bills are monthly mobile phone and internet which amount to less than 50€. My land isn't large enough for property taxes. I generate my own electricity; cook, heat and heat water with firewood or solar energy; collect water from a spring-fed stream and run composting toilets, etc. I'm in the region of 60% self-sufficient in food and that's rising every year. I still run a car, but only fill the tank once a month. I had to move to another country to do this, because I couldn't afford to in my own where land prices are crazy and there are precious few homesteads left, but I now live amongst people for whom living with very little money is something they've been doing for generations. Neighbours swap favours or produce; a milking goat for a hive of bees. Money is reserved for things that can't be bartered, like electricity, fuel and medicines. People gather in the cafés to watch TV together. They've been doing that since the 60s when cafés were the only places with TVs. Why change what works? People have time for each other - to stop and talk in the street, for small kindnesses, to look out for their neighbours no matter where they're from. The more I watch this in action, the more I become convinced that it's the transactions which take place when money is either in short supply and/or not central to people's lives that are the real glue holding communities together. So I would say that working for money is not only expensive, it destroys community.