The Hidden Costs of “More”

posted by Andrea | 12/6/2019

the hidden costs of more

As a human being, it’s so easy to fall into the mindset of thinking “more” is always better and desirable — after all, shouldn’t we be striving to grow and improve and stretch ourselves each and every day? 

Yes, I’m a huge advocate for life-long learning, I’m forever a fan of working towards specific goals, and I know from experience that many of my successes in life have come from stepping outside my comfort zone and stretching myself to do or be just a little MORE. 

HOWEVER, there are many hidden costs of “more”. Some of these hidden costs are very obvious… others might not be! 

Personally, I think striving for “more” is desirable… most of the time.

My goal is to help you think through some of the potential hidden costs instead of blindly assuming “more” is always the best choice for you and for your family. 

the hidden costs of more


More (bigger) House:

For the majority of our married life, Dave and I have had regular conversations about our “dream house”. When we moved into our farmhouse 9 years ago, we thought we had found our “dream house”. It felt so HUGE for just the 2 of us — plenty of space and possibilities for growing our family. 

Now, 4 kids and 9 years later, it doesn’t feel all that huge anymore — and I often find myself daydreaming about larger homes with MORE. More bedrooms, more useable basement space, more room for entertaining inside, more acreage for playing outside, a pool, etc.

I know how well our house works for our family right now, and I know there are so many hidden costs in a bigger home… I just need to continually remind myself of these costs! 

  • More expensive insurance.
  • More expensive utilities.
  • More time and energy spent cleaning, doing yard work, etc.
  • More upkeep (inside and outside).
  • More expense paying others to do the upkeep for you. 
  • More places to store extra stuff that will eventually need to be purged.
  • More furniture and decorations needed to fill the large spaces.
  • More regret if you want to change something later.
  • More frustration if something breaks or gets ruined. 

RELATED POST: The Benefits of NOT Owning Your Dream House

chalk painting of our farmhouse

More (nicer, newer) Vehicle:

Yes, older vehicles usually require a bit more maintenance (definitely something to think about when buying a used car) but newer vehicles might just kill you with high insurance premiums! 

I was recently SHOCKED to realize friends of ours pay more car insurance each month (for 2 new vehicles) than Dave and I pay for the entire year (for our 10-year-old vehicles)! 


There are also other hidden costs in nicer, newer vehicles…

  • More expensive maintenance if you need special parts.
  • More expensive oil changes if you need to go through the dealer versus any mechanic.
  • More expensive gas (if you need premium).
  • More propensity to over-spend on other car-related purchases like fancy car mats, regular car washes, additional accessories, etc.

One other “hidden cost” for me personally is the fact that I know I would be more uptight about keeping a newer, nicer car looking new and nice.

I would spend a huge amount of time and energy vacuuming it regularly and harping on my kids to stop making messes. Maybe some of you can relate!?!?

In a way, I suppose my older van allows me to be a calmer person and a nicer mom! 

RELATED POST: How we keep our van organized

traveling in our used minivan

More Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories: 

There are SO many extra “costs” involved in owning more clothing, shoes, and accessories…

  • More to store and organize.
  • More to wash, dry, fold, hang, and put away.
  • More to keep track of (especially true for kids).
  • More choices and options (which might be a pro for some of you — not for everyone though).
  • More to purge eventually (or more to store if you hang onto clothing).

And of course, there is the additional expense of buying the clothing in the first place!

There is truly nothing wrong with enjoying lots and lots of clothing, and I personally don’t promote a minimalist wardrobe. But I find it’s good for me to think about all these hidden costs — especially when I’m at the thrift store and can buy clothing for $1 or $2 an item. I must remind myself that there are often many other hidden costs with these purchases! 

RELATED POST: 5 Steps to Quickly Clear Closet Clutter

color-coordinated clothing

More Toys, Books, Games, Movies: 

I’m definitely not a minimalist when it comes to kids’ toys, books, games, or movies. We have lots of all of the above! However, we truly do use what we have on a very regular basis. We have designated storage spaces for our things… and we actually put everything away at the end of the day.

I won’t ever tell you to trash or purge all your kids’ favorite things, but I will encourage you to think through the hidden costs that come with having more toys, more books, more games, etc. in your home. 

  • More space needed to store them.
  • More energy to clean up and put away when you’re finished playing. 
  • More time spent nagging your kids to put the above items away. 
  • More batteries, power cords, and accessories required.
  • More time wasted looking through so many things to find the one thing you want.
  • More indecision when presented with too many choices and options.

I’ve seen first-hand how overwhelmed my kids get when there are too many toys, books, games, crafts, etc. They function much better, play much longer, and are happier with fewer options. 

Just something to think about as we gear up for the gift-giving season! 

RELATED POST: How we organize all our games and puzzles

organized games and puzzles

More Gifts: 

And speaking of the gift-giving season… “more gifts” definitely come with MORE hidden costs!

Please know that “more gifts” doesn’t equal “bad” or “wrong”. 

If you love giving gifts — gift away… just know that more gifts come with more hidden costs. 

  • More to store until it’s time to give the gift.
  • More to wrap and cart to the party.
  • More to find a storage place for in your home (once the gifts are opened).
  • More to clean and organize around.
  • More to maintain. 
  • More expectations for additional gifts in the future (this one is a biggie for kids!)

If those hidden costs don’t bother you, then you have nothing to stress or worry about! However, if you’d rather not make time, space, and energy to care for, store, and maintain a bunch of new things this holiday season, it might be the perfect year to scale your gift-giving back a bit!

RELATED POST: All my posts about clutter-free gift ideas

gifts under the christmas tree

More Activities: 

On one hand, there is usually value in many of the different activities and events we participate in on a daily and weekly basis. 

On the other hand, there certainly comes a point when enough is enough and the hidden costs of more activities outweigh the positive value these activities bring to our lives. 

For example… more activities could lead to:

  • Less sleep
  • Less time with family and friends
  • Less time doing things you actually enjoy
  • Less time for yourself
  • Less freedom throughout your days and weeks
  • More stress and anxiety as you worry about fitting everything into your day
  • More expenses if you opt to pay others to take on certain tasks you no longer have time for (house cleaning, lawn care, meal prep, etc.)
  • More money and calories eating out (or eaten frozen food) if you don’t have time to cook

As many of you know, Dave and I tend to be more introverted, so our preference is always “fewer activities” and staying home as much as possible.

I know not everyone values alone time and being home as much as we do — however, even for you extreme extroverts, it’s important to think through all the hidden costs of adding more and more activities to your life. 

RELATED POST: How We Handle Extra-Curricular Activities

family outing at the zoo

More Fame or Popularity:

When I first started my blog, I had aspirations of creating a huge enterprise, hiring employees to work for me, bringing Dave home from his job, writing books, and speaking for huge conventions. 

Obviously, my aspirations have changed a bit over the last decade!

Yes, it has been exciting to SLOWLY grow my business over the years, but I’ve learned first-hand that more fame and popularity definitely come with hidden costs as well. 

  • More people telling you what they think you should do or who they think you should be.
  • More people you feel you need to please (you’ll never please them all).
  • More negativity aimed at you.
  • More stress about living up to expectations.
  • More pressure to continue growing and doing more and bigger things.
  • More push-back when/if you fail. 

Of course, there are many ways you can use fame and popularity for the good of so many others, 

RELATED POST: Being Average is Awesome Too!

andrea in the kitchen


Once again, I want to reiterate that “more” does not necessarily mean “bad” or “wrong”. 

If you feel a bigger home, a newer car, more clothing, more activities, or more gifts are better choices for you and your family — that’s just fine! 

Truly… it’s OK to have “more”!

The point I want to make is that “more” is not always as amazing as it might originally seem. 

There are lots of hidden costs to “more”. 

There are also hidden costs to “less” but that’s a post for a different day! 

What are some “hidden costs of more” you’ve realized in your own life?

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the hidden costs of more


Filed under: Frugal LivingMisc.Goals

Leave a comment


  1. Parminder Kaur


    Hey Andrea,

    i think yours is the only one who i never unsubscribed from , just so you know i love every post of yours 🙂 …. i really want you to be on tiktok if you are not yet…tiktok will be really helpful for you..



  2. Marcia


    There would also be real estate property taxes on house (in many states) The bigger the house,, the bigger the tax bill. The same goes for cars in many states, the bigger and better the vehicle, the bigger the personal property tax bill.


    Andrea Reply:

    yes — great point!


  3. Marsha


    Thank you. Such a good reminder.


  4. Jeanine


    Great post and much needed, especially this time of year! I wonder if you’ve read the book, Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne. I think you’d really enjoy it, and I would love to hear your thoughts about it in a blog post!


    Andrea Reply:

    I have not read that book, but I might just have to add it to my (growing) list! First I need to watch The Crown though!


  5. Meghan


    Great post! Agree with all of it! While we love our home, we would like to be further from our neighbors. This summer we were looking at a home that was fabulous, but realized it would just make our life more complicated – pool, tons of amazing professional landscaping, huge yard. We realized the house would be a great place to vacation but not to upkeep. Plus we are about a month from paying off our house. We would have had to take out a small mortgage for the new house. Plus sell ours and physically move. We made the right choice to stay put!


    Andrea Reply:

    yup, there’s always something. I know people who just built their “dream house” after years of planning — and after only a few months, they already have things they wish they would have done differently.


  6. Allison


    Great post! Very timely for me. I’m going thru this right now with the hidden cost being my sanity! Seriously. I’m HSP and my house (along with my 2 teenagers and my sister) is just cluttered cluttered cluttered. Did I mention it’s cluttered? I truly cannot think straight at home. I cant even get to my goto calm-down activity, knitting because visually there’s just too much stuff around. I’m hoping to tackle some of it tomorrow. I love your blog!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much, Allison! and yes, I totally relate to needing a space to be fairly clutter-free before I can feel relaxed or like I want to tackle a hobby!


  7. Dawn


    This is such a great post! Before we bought the house we have now, we sat down and looked at our expenses, making sure to add more into the maintenance as well as the heating & cooling. We were moving from a small house to a medium house and wanted to make sure our monthly expenses were still covered. Also, we had to buy a few more pieces of furniture – all those things do add up! Exactly what you said in your post, Andrea! At first I was buying lots of decorative things (from garage sales, etc.) to fill up the spaces, but now I go around the house and get rid of things. I remind myself of that whenever I’m tempted to buy a cute thing that has no purpose!


    Andrea Reply:

    Good for you — not everyone is smart enough to realize how many other expenses are involved in a bigger home!


  8. Lynn


    I love this post Andrea! I am truly at a place where I am paying off everything in the next six years and making my home my forever home (I’ve been here 15 years already!). I am purging stuff left and right cause I don’t want ‘more’ stuff! One other thing that is more expensive on newer vehicles (at least here in my state) is the personal tax on the car. I, too, buy new as Annette does in her comment below, and I drive them a long, long time. Eventually, as each year goes by, the annual personal property tax on it dwindles to very little.

    Some people do like to have more stuff, but I am one that doesn’t and am happier when I don’t!

    Thank you for this wonderful blog!


  9. Annette Silveira


    I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said. We don’t own our dream home, but we’ve made the one we have work for us for 32 years and it’s paid off. We buy our cars new and keep them until it’s truly more expensive to have them than to get a new one. We’ve lived simply, but had a great life. The main benefit of all this is that we’re comfortably retired and enjoying the fruits of our hard work.


    Andrea Reply:

    I’m glad to hear this — I sometimes wonder if Dave and are “missing out” on things now, but I have a feeling we will benefit from our frugal, content nature later on life when we can (hopefully) retire early and comfortably!