Discretionary Expense


DEFINITION of 'Discretionary Expense'

A discretionary expense is a cost which is not essential for the operation of a home or a business. For example, a business may allow employees to charge certain meal and entertainment costs to the company in order to promote goodwill with employees. In the home, discretionary expenses are most often defined as things which are "wants" rather than "needs".

BREAKING DOWN 'Discretionary Expense'

In tough economic times, it may be necessary for households and businesses to cut expenditures in response to decreases in income. Thus, it is often desirable to track discretionary expenses separately from essential expenses so that it is easy to see where and to what degree expenses can be reduced. The concept of what is discretionary is subjective and may differ considerably amongst individuals and businesses.

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  1. Which economic factors most affect the demand for consumer goods?

    The consumer goods sector includes a wide range of retail products purchased by consumers, from staples such as food and ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can working capital be negative?

    Working capital can be negative if a company's current assets are less than its current liabilities. Working capital is calculated ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I read and analyze an income statement?

    The income statement, also known as the profit and loss (P&L) statement, is the financial statement that depicts the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does working capital include prepaid expenses?

    The calculation for working capital includes any prepaid expenses that are due within one year, since such prepaid expenses ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Does working capital include short-term debt?

    Short-term debt is considered part of a company's current liabilities and is included in the calculation of working capital. ... Read Full Answer >>
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