Here's a shot for scale with a 15mm figure and one of my lightposts. The pallet was hand built out of thick cardstock cut into short strips and together in the traditional style. It raises the height of those drums and breaks up the height of the cover for just a smidge more variety.
Back to the cost, the killer on most 15mm purchases is the shipping. One pack of figs might cost six bucks, but add in the reasonable six dollar shipping charge and you double the cost of the figures. I've got a lot of figs on my wish-list, but have to wait until I've got enough figures on the list to justify a single larger order. These drums and dumpsters (and other small hard to handcraft terrain pieces) don't justify a purchase on their own, so I wait for a full order and then toss in one or two packs of these. One or two more dollars is a lot more seductive than paying eight dollars for four drums.