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Debt, Consumerism, and Self Storage

There are two things that confuse me; actually there is a lot, but that is for another post.

Debt why does nobody care about the massive debts piling up in North America and around the world? In my opinion this represent one of the most significant risks to the global economy, and no one seems to care since it’s not politically convenient.

Consumerism– Why due North Americans purchase McMansions they cannot afford, fill them with objects they cannot afford, and then rent storage units to store the extra objects they will not use. This is not only a financial issue but an environmental issue as well.

The average American according to


-$4220 in there saving account
-24.3% have no savings
-$117,951 in debt
-$2650 in credit card debt.

With 52% finding it hard to pay the bills and the average amount saved for retirement is $36,250. Why are people still consuming? These are scary numbers.

The average home size in 1970 was 1400 sq ft, in 2009 it was 2700 sq ft. Where does this consumer stuff end up? First in rented storage units then in the landfill. Take a look at neighborhoods, how many people actually park cars in their garage vs storing stuff in them?

U.S. Self Storage Statistics


– 8.96% of households rent a storage unit
– There are 58,000 storage facilities,
– 566 units at each facility, which equates to 32,820,000 units.
– Total square footage available is 2,300,000,000 sq ft.
-$1.42 is the average revenue per square foot.

Self Storage Industry Statistics

-Annual self storage revenue $22,000,000,000
-Total number of self storage facilities in the US 58,000
-Average number of units per facility 566
-Total amount of self storage space available in the US 2,300,000,000 sq ft
-Average revenue per square foot of self storage $1.42
-Occupancy rates for self storage facilities 87.4 %
-Percent of US households that currently rent a self storage unit 8.96 %
-Total number of people employed by self storage companies 172,000


Largest Self Storage Companies

Number of Locations

-Public Storage 2,305
-Extra Space 1,375
-Sovran 590
-CubeSmart 420
-U-Haul 375

Self Storage Auction Statistics

-Average auction price of a self-storage unit $425
-Annual number of self storage units that go to auction 155,000

Final Thoughts

The average cost of a storage unit is $1,192.80 per year.
So 8.96% of households in the U.S. pays approx $1,192.80/year for the opportunity to store stuff!
There are good reasons to use a storage unit, especially as a temporary solution around life changes (moving, marriage, job opportunities etc.) But I have a suspicion that most is useless stuff that will one day be in the landfill. If anybody wants to reach FIRE that $1,192.80 a year will make a nice extra retirement contribution and you won’t have to drive and check on all your stuff at the storage unit!


Don’t wait for retirement to enjoy life !!

Giving up Technology for one Week


As you read this I am sitting on a beach, north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for one week of fun in the sun. Mrs PR and I like to get away a few times during the winter to sit on a beach or at a swimming pool. I will give a full update and cost breakdown next week.

Las Vegas

November we went to Las Vegas and to stay current and plugged in I decided to bring my iPhone. Unfortunately with an old iPhone it has to be plugged in every night and I forgot my charger. After the initial panic I shut my phone off and enjoyed the rest of my holiday. This made me realized how attached I am to my phone and I didn’t like it.

Since Las Vegas, I have intentionally not been carrying my phone with me everywhere and try not to check emails as often. I didn’t realize how time consuming technology is. I have never been a user of social media, and just opened a Facebook page this year. Between checking emails and surfing the web I consume a few hours a day of technology.

Here is a few Stats from Statistic Brain

Percent who said their mobile phone is the first and last thing they look at each day 29 %
Percent who said they need to have the latest mobile technology 18 %
Percent who check their mobile device every 30 minutes or less 37 %
Percent who said they could only go a few hours without their mobile phone 34%
Percent who said they prefer to communicate by text message 32 %
Percent who have asked someone on a date via text 20 %
Percent who say their mobile device make them better parents 65 %
Percent who would take their mobile device to work over their lunch 66 %

Percent who do the following on their phone at least twice a week

Browse the internet 46 %
Listen to music 32 %
Search the internet 41 %
Read news or current events 36 %
Take pictures 36 %
Visit social networks 37 %
Play games 32 %
Navigate using GPS 18 %
Shop online 12 %
Receive payments 5 %
Video chat 9 %

Percent Who Use Their Phone While Doing Another Task

Seeing a movie 8 %
Driving a car 32 %
Playing with my children 35 %
Attending a party 37 %
Eating at a restaurant 36 %
Watching TV 61 %
Riding public transportation 36 %

Where You Place Your Mobile Phone While Sleeping at Night

Next to my bed 68 %
In the bedroom 16 %
In a different room from where I sleep 13 %
Other / Various 2 %
In the car 1 %


Giving up Technology for one Week

To continue with this experiment I am not bringing my laptop or cell phone with me to Mexico. I will enjoy the sun and the beach without electronics. We are staying with family so I will have access to internet and I will be checking the blog/emails at-least once well I am gone. Mrs PR will have her phone if needed and for emergencies.

What do you think, Have you gone any amount of time not plugged in ?

I hope you all have a great week and I will let you know how it went.