The Real Price of Stuff

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This article is part of the Just 18 Summers series. A series where we examine how quickly time is evaporating.  Where we start to adjust our lives to take advantage of the precious little time we have left with our children. Along those lines, I want to challenge you to evaluate what the real price of stuff is and determine if it is worth it.  You see, every single item we have has a price tag on it.  Not just the price we paid for it that we won’t ever recoup, but a price that goes along with taking care of it, cleaning it, storing it, and protecting it.  And what is worse, that price paid comes at a cost to something else, somewhere else. This is a zero-sum game.

Just 18 summers


Price Plus Time

The various phases of life brings with them different priorities. We have a huge home that was bought in a different season of our lives and it sits on 40-some-odd acres in a picture perfect postcard setting of rural America. Besides the house and land, on it sits a barn almost as big as our house, a white picket fence around the pool in the backyard, and a steel gate out front to protect it all. And that same house is filled to the brim with stuff. Not to mention how full the barn is. What is the cost of it all? Once you realize all your extra time, money and energy is spent maintaining it, cleaning it, mowing it, painting it, renovating it and generally fussing with it,  you quickly come to the realization … this price is just too high to pay.

Price Plus More Money

Maintaining a home this size with all the associated stuff costs a lot of money… money that could be better spent. In ways that build relationships and create memories. Maybe taking trips, especially going back home to visit my siblings in North Carolina. Family my children don’t really know because we haven’t been home in a while. Or even traveling to sites to learn about history and bring to life the places we are studying. Making memories. Connecting. Seeing. Doing. Yet, when you have no money left over to spend on the things you love to do, you realize the cost of this stuff is just too expensive.

Price Plus Energy

Not only is every minute and every dollar spent maintaining the stuff in, around and associated with this size home… but every ounce of energy (especially on the weekends) is spent maintaining this beautiful monster and all its sirens. Every weekend it is all hands on deck. It takes all of us to get it done. And yet there are still things not completed. Some, not even started. Some we don’t even realize they need doing until something else crops up!  And when you realize you have no energy left to do the things you love doing, you know the cost is too high.

Just 18 Summers

The Real Price of Stuff

Which brings us to the core problem and the real price of stuff … we have become slaves shackled to a beautiful monster that is extremely exacting. A beautiful monster who becomes more needy every day. When you are looking at your stuff and you suddenly realize you have to sacrifice what precious little time you have with your family, unable to do the things you love and want to do, to be able to afford to take care of it and maintain it… then you know in your heart the price is too high and it’s time to make dramatic changes.

You’ve heard the adage… time is money. However,  in reality, time is so much more than money. Time is a fleeting commodity. More money can always be made or earned, however, more time cannot be bought! Therefore, we are choosing to spend this commodity more wisely!  The Real Price of this lifestyle is just a price we are not willing to pay.

We are starting a dramatic shift in lifestyle, in focus, in purpose… Join us as we navigate this unfamiliar territory!

Until next time….




If you are curious what led us to even start this evaluation process, be sure to read the first article in this series. 

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Trish Corlew

Founder and Author at Live and Learn Farm
Trish has been married to her best friend, David, for 16 years and they have three sons (aged 13, 12 and 9). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. They also own a small business that Trish runs from home. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!


  1. Becky says:

    I wish we could own land like that. I’m so afraid my kids will never be able to own a home. With the price of everything going up and jobs disappearing. I really wish we had land to expand on. Other than educational things. We try to limit what we spend just so we can make memories together.

  2. We have a bit of land as well and struggle daily to maintain balance. After years and lots of long talks we have come to two agreements. Our country life will not be traded for the suburbs and there will always be more work than time. We try to take atleast one day every other week for just fun, trips ect: We purge monthly and try to accomplish one project monthly leaving one weekend for maintenance. Sure our grass gets high and Dad has to work….after work to keep things up. We try to prioritize and delegate as much as we can with the little guys. I am curious to see how your family shifts and what changes you make on the farm.


  1. […] And there is a price you pay for each of those. I wrote about this topic in another article, The Real Price of Stuff.  And that price is TIME. Not just the time it takes to make the income to live the lifestyle you […]

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