Discretionary Expense Definition

Committed costs, such as rent, are more difficult to change because businesses need these expenditures to maintain basic operations. For example, a restaurant needs to rent space and equipment before it can serve a single customer. While these fixed costs may change over time, the change is not related to production levels but rather new contractual agreements or schedules. Examples of fixed costs include rental lease payments, salaries, insurance, property taxes, interest expenses, depreciation, and potentially some utilities. In economics, the most commonly spoken about fixed costs are those that have to do with capital. Capital can be the fixed price for buying a warehouse for production, machines , and it can be a certain total for the salaries of a certain quantity of unskilled labor,. Many things are included in fixed costs depending on the product and market, but these unexpected or predictable short term fixed costs can be the reason a firm doesn’t enter the market .

Fixed assets are physical assets with useful lives substantially longer than a year, such as computers and buildings. However, depreciation is a noncash expense that affects net income but not cash flow. One helpful budgeting tactic is to rank discretionary expenses in order of importance from the least to most important. If a job loss or income reduction forces budget cuts, household members or a company’s management team can easily identify the first discretionary expense to place on the chopping block. If sticking to your budget is challenging because you’ve already slashed discretionary expenses, consider cutting fixed costs to help you stick with your financial plan.

Which Of The Following Costs Should Not Be Recorded As An Expense? Multiple Choice Ο Product

As shown in the following table, cost 1 is a variable cost because as the number of units produced changes, total costs change and per unit cost remains the same. Cost 2 is a fixed cost because as the number of units produced changes, total costs remain the same and per unit costs change. Cost 3 is a mixed cost because as the number of units produced changes, total cost changes and per unit cost changes.

  • All associated expenses that could arise as a result of a fixed cost need to be taken into consideration.
  • Discretionary fixed cost are those cost which can be managed by the management during the period.
  • For example, a retailer must pay rent and utility bills irrespective of sales.
  • Examples of fixed factors of production include rent on the factory, interest payment, salary of permanent staff, etc.

Those costs that vary in total with the number of service calls made are the variable cost of making service calls. Nevertheless, unless stated otherwise, you can assume that the activity base under consideration is the total volume of goods and services provided by the organization. When considering fixed costs, it’s important to include any additional fees or charges that will ultimately come as a result of your initial purchase. Similarly, if your restaurant opens in a new location, the commercial liability insurance you will need for that physical storefront should be assumed as a fixed cost. All associated expenses that could arise as a result of a fixed cost need to be taken into consideration. A discretionary fixed cost varies from a committed fixed cost, in that a committed cost obligates a business to continue making payments over a certain period of time . Why did the analysis yield lower savings than the initial estimate?

Which Of The Following Would Be Considered A Discretionary Fixed Cost? Multiple Choice Internships For Students

For example spending of management development programs can be reduced because of poor economic conditions. The cost of direct materials will vary in direct proportions to the number of units produced. When we speak the term variable cost we mean that the total cost rises and falls as the activity rises and falls.

If you don’t use a program with this capability, you may be able to set up a separate budget category of your own that is used solely for discretionary costs. Consider past spending in each category when creating a new budget. Look for areas where you can cut back on discretionary costs, but be realistic. Never budget exactly what you’ve spent in the past, as this can lead to forced reductions in discretionary expenses down the line if necessary funds simply aren’t available. Most business plans contain costs that you can control and costs that you can’t. These expenses are known as discretionary fixed costs and committed fixed costs, respectively.

Sufficient Margin To Offset The Fixed Cost

Difficulties arise when struggling organizations go beyond cutting discretionary fixed costs and begin looking at QuickBooks cutting committed fixed costs. Note that regardless of the activity level, total fixed costs remain the same.

Further the spending can be change from one budget period to another budget period. an example of a discretionary fixed cost would be: Firms rely on several cost functions to make important production decisions.

One interesting aspect of variable cost is that a variable cost is constant if expressed on a per unit basis. For a cost to be variable, Online Accounting it must be variable with respect to something. An activity base is a measure of whatever causes the incurrence of variable cost.

These costs and variable costs have to be taken into account when a firm wants to determine if they can enter a market. Though there are some similarities between committed fixed costs and sunk costs, the terms are not interchangeable. When you run a small business, you’re often tasked with doing it all.

Find out the formula for calculating economic profit and why it’s possible to have a positive accounting profit and a negative economic profit. While practically every company has need of income statements, different companies prefer different styles. In this lesson, we’ll learn about both contribution margin income statements and traditional income statements. This lesson examines the uses, advantages, and limitations of a static budget. We’ll also discuss the implications of utilizing a static budget for controlling expenses and revenue.

The wages of maintenance workers are often considered to be a variable cost, but this variable cost does not behave in quite the same way as the cost of direct materials. Unlike direct materials, the time of maintenance workers is obtainable only in large chunks. More any maintenance time not utilized cannot be stored as inventory and carried forward to the next period. Furthermore, a maintenance crew can work Certified Public Accountant at a fairly leisurely pace if pressures are light but intensify its efforts if pressures build up. For this reason small changes in the level of production may have no effect on the number of maintenance people employed by the company. A resource that is obtained only in large chunks and whose costs increase or decrease only in response to fairly wide changes in activity is known as a step-variable cost.

The sales team was unable to convince customers to sign on, and the service was therefore scrapped from the offerings list. Due to its failed launch, the $50,000 spent on advertising would be considered a sunk cost. The money in this example had been spent and could not be recovered. Committed fixed costs are those costs which are fixed obligations of the business and must be incurred to maintain continuity of operations. The nature and amount of these costs to be incurred are decided by the management each year whilst budgeting, based on availability of surplus funds and cost benefit analysis. Discretionary fixed costs, as the name suggests, are those fixed costs which are incurred at the discretion of entity’s management.


Take your total cost of production and subtract your variable costs multiplied by the number of units you produced. In economics, production costs involve a number of costs that include both fixed and variable costs. Examples include insurance, rent, normal profit, setup costs and depreciation. Determining the fixed and variable expenses is the first step in performing a break-even analysis. Knowing how to work with information about fixed and variable expenses can be particularly helpful for individuals who are considering buying a small business. Many businesses, particularly franchises, are reluctant to give out information about projected profits, but will provide information about costs and unit prices. The potential purchaser can then use this information to calculate the number of units and the dollar volume that would be needed to make a profit, and determine whether these numbers seem realistic.

You already know how much money you will spend in certain categories each month because that’s the nature of such a financial commitment. Still, include a bit of money above and beyond the fixed costs as a just-in-case scenario. In order to provide the promised deliverables, however, a $50,000 piece of machinery must be purchased. In this instance, the machine would be considered a committed fixed cost, because your company absolutely must have it in order to continue doing business it has committed to. Since committed fixed costs are those that cannot be eliminated from a company’s bottom line, they are often larger-ticket items.

Methods Of Segregating Mixed Cost

Mixed expenses consist of a constant or fixed portion and a variable portion. For example, sales salaries would be a mixed expense if each sales person’s compensation is $2,000 per month plus 3% of the sales generated by the employee. Automobile expense is a mixed expense in relationship to miles driven. As such, it may differ considerably among individuals and businesses. For example, a stable, well-established company could probably get away with slashing its advertising budget for a while if the need arises. Expenses are divided into non-discretionary or discretionary costs. Some expenses, such as vacation costs and luxury items, are not necessary to maintain a household and, thus, are classified as discretionary expenses.

While preparing budgets and undertaking costing for its products, these costs must be included at their committed values as they cannot be avoided or eliminated. Non-payment of committed costs can have significant impact as it can result in disruption of business activities.

Depreciation is another committed operating expense that is difficult to change. It is the phased allocation of a fixed asset’s cost over its useful life.

This lesson breaks down the components of prime costs, its formula, and how it is used. In this lesson you’ll learn how to make a manufacturing overhead budget for your business.

Since many budgets are only forecasts, direct materials and direct labor variance calculations allow for changes in actual production costs. In this lesson, we will discuss the details of these variance calculations. Once the units are sold, the costs are charged to the cost of goods sold. Thus, there can be a delay in recognition of those fixed costs that are allocated to inventory. Variable costs are affected by different activities depending on the organization.

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