:) There are a couple of very good threads here about anarchists pursuing non-anarchistic (ie. reformist) projects; (and i can't find them at present).
Ingrate's comment about "pure snowflakes of anarchy" here ( http://anarchy101.org/7933/should-anarchists-support-boycotts
) speak well to the utopian vs. the lived world.
So, that out of the way, we will play the mug's game. Governments have no real influence over cost of living (or wages for that matter); so working toward a lower cost of living, within a reformist state, is simply delusional. Higher wages sound nice, but as you noted, the cost of living _always_ manages to creep up enough to eat the increase and then some. Bank interest on savings is ground down below the rate of inflation.
It is a mug's game because it is fixed; standard accepted business practices require mindless actions that result in the above noted consequences, class conformity locks in the above noted mindless actions. It is a false dichotomy: no matter what we choose, we lose.
So we need to find the outs, the loopholes, the in-betweens unseen. The free-cycle, grey-market, black-market, back-alley deals; the under-table, handshake, hoodwink-and-nudge cash jobs.
And we should probably find ways to let other people know that they have good reason to slip underneath the corporate/state's gaze - that their actions aren't criminal, but sensible and ethical.
Now, if you can use a reformist project to fuck with an established power structure, for no other reason than because it is there (to be fucked with) - well, have fun then.