When I played Mass Effect 3, I didn't spend nearly a year of playtime and was able to afford Elite Spectre Packs after every couple of gold matches or so. I've yet to spend money on it.
If anything, this is genius marketing by capitalist standards. It's a perfect blend between "work hard and get it later" or "pay money and get it now." There's nothing game changing that's only available by using real money.
Incidentally, did you know that delaying gratification is a sign of maturity?