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How Much Does Your Stuff Cost?

Recently, minimalism has become all the rage around the PF blogosphere. Lots of personal finance bloggers have discovered how minimalism and being frugal can go hand-in-hand to help you save money and balance your budget.

What your “stuff” is truly costing you, beyond just the sticker price, may shock you.

Cost of the Space it Takes Up

One way to calculate the true cost of your stuff is to figure out how much it costs you for the space it is taking up.

For example, if your home costs $100k and it has 2 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 living room/dining room, and 1 bathroom, you are spending about $20k per room. If there’s anything stopping you from using and enjoying those rooms, is it worth $20k to store? If not, maybe you should re-consider what you are keeping and why.

Yes, this is a simplified way of looking at things, after all your bathroom is probably much smaller than all the other rooms and has fewer places to store things, making is less than $20k of the home’s value, but you get the idea.

Cost per Purchase

A simple example of cost per purchase is your lunch. You eat lunch everyday (at least I do) and you know that eating out costs way more than bringing your lunch to work with you. But how much is eating out costing you exactly?

If you eat out 5x/week (M-F) at a cost of $6/meal, which is on the cheap side anymore, you are spending $30/week on lunch.

4 weeks @ $30/week = $120/month just on lunch. That is my entire grocery budget for the month!

12 months @ $120/month = $1,440 just on lunch for the year!

Cost of Your Time

This one was a big eye opener for me. The cost of your time is easy to figure. If you get paid $40k/year (take home pay) you make approximately $20.83/hour ($40k/12 months/40 weeks/40 hours). If you’re like me, you do not want to put in anymore time at your job than necessary. I do not find it fun to be doing this at my desk job for 40+ hours each week:

For example, let’s say you went on a shopping trip and spent $100 on new clothes you don’t truly need. That $100 worth of clothes is going to take you almost 5 hours of work at your job to pay for. Is it worth spending 5 hours working to pay for those new things that you didn’t really need in the first place? Even if you enjoy your job, wouldn’t you rather be using the money from those 5 hours of work to pay for other things you need, or better yet take those 5 hours off from work and spend time with your family or friends? I know I would!

There are many, many other ways to calculate the cost of your stuff too. But these are just a couple quick examples to get you started thinking about the true cost of things before you buy them. Who knows, maybe you too will hop on the minimalism train!


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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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The content on is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not financial advice and we are not certified financial advisors. strives to keep its information accurate and up to date, but it may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with companies listed on our site. We may receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products or services. We work hard to write authentic and accurate articles.