The Households article includes a wealth of detail about the costs of maintaining appearances or simply subsisting.
Players sometimes question why their characters should be obliged to spend their hard-earned money on good food, untorn clothes, pleasant accommodations, and life in general. Frugality and wise planning, they might argue, should permit them to save perhaps 70% of their incomes to really get ahead in the medieval rat race.
It stands to reason that the time and cash characters spend on living in general profoundly affects their health, reputation and psychological well-being. This should at least be considered in roleplaying, and that is the purpose of this article. A cynical Gamemaster might also see house-holding as a legitimate (or at least workable) way to separate PCs from their surplus wealth, assuming, of course, that surplus wealth is not a contradiction in terms - from the GM's point of view at least.
Spending adequate cash wisely makes the household healthier and safer; spending too little exposes it to disease, malnutrition, and scorn. It is human nature to improve living standards to the limit of income (despite what some players may argue). However much is spent, chores must be done and household duties are labor intensive. For a resident of a medieval castle to attain a living standard reasonably close to that enjoyed in 21st century North America or Europe, he would need 350 servants and lots of money.