A couple of years ago, I wrote an article on financial vs. economic costs. I was tempted to just use that article again, because it may provide the key to be able to answer the question posed in the title. For those who didn't read that article, or who can't remember it, I will refresh your memory with the definition of financial vs. economic costs. Financial costs are your costs that you incur this year, the checks you write, the cash you spend, the debit cards you use, the total amount that leaves your bank account.

Economic costs would likely include most of those financial costs but would value all of your inputs at market prices.

For example, if you were planning on backgrounding some calves this fall, what are your financial costs? If you raised the calves and feed yourself, the costs that went into raising that calf and producing the feed would be financial costs. Any purchased supplies, vaccinations and feed supplements would also be financial costs. If you did not borrow any money and you, the owner, are providing the labor, you may not have any other financial costs.

To read the entire article, link here.