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Discretionary spending

[ 2010-11-23 14:30]     字号 [] [] []  
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Discretionary spendingYang asks:

Please explain “discretionary spending”, as in: “You must reduce your discretionary spending in order to increase your monthly savings.”

My comments:

Discretionary spending refers to spending on items that are not daily necessities.

For example, if you already have an iPhone 3 but buy an iPhone 4 at any rate, that latest Apple gadget is not a daily necessity, something one must have in order to survive.

Something one must have in order to survive?

Such as rice and flour.

Anyways, discretionary spending refers to money you have to dispose of at your discretion. In other words, you spend it out of your free will and, hopefully, good judgment – The crucial point here is discretion (look that word up, please) – but if you squander it, you won’t starve either.

Take that iPhone 4 again for example. If you have a large disposable income (money you still have in your pocket after setting money aside for daily necessities – such as rice and flour, food and drink in general), and buying another fashionable item won’t set you back much financially, plus it makes you feel good owning the latest Apple gadget in your already large collection – you’ve already got all the iPods and the iPad – then of course it’s great to buy the latest bauble. The fact that if makes you feel good may well compensate for the fact that you’ll be thousands of yuan poorer off, which is neither here nor there because thousands of yuan makes little difference to you one way or the other.

On the other hand, however, if you don’t have so much money and yet you buy it just for the sake of being one of the boys – your pals all have it, and so you have to have it too – then perhaps it’s not such a good idea.

In other words, you’ll have only yourself to blame for your current and especially future financial woes. In concrete terms, if you don’t exercise discretion (have you looked this word up yet?) and spend as much as you like on fancy stuffs like that, you may never be able to save enough money to buy that house you’ve always wanted to have for, one day, getting married.

If you don’t exercise discretion over spending, in fact, you may have trouble getting married at all, or grow your marriage if you’re lucky to get married.

Because, you see, after marriage, you’ll have so much more to set aside for – food and drink for the bigger family, tuition for children’s care and education and so forth.

Scary, isn’t it?

Alright, I’ll quit putting nightmarish image in your head.

Anyways, in short, discretionary spending refers to money spend on other items than daily necessities.

Speaking of which, daily necessities have been generating much talk on the Web lately, such as beans (豆你玩).

It is a pity that such daily necessities as garlic (蒜你狠), ginger (姜你军), sugar (糖高宗) and medicine (药你苦) are able to generate so much talk today, when there is an obvious overall abundance of goods and services to go around for everyone.

But that’s another topic for another day.

For now, just remember to learn to control your discretionary spending by always maintaining a good sense of discretion, ok?

Ok, have a nice day.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)