Disposable Income



It is one of those things we all wish we had more of. Disposable income. Money to burn, so to speak. And along with it the time to enjoy it.

It is also one of the most sought after segments in the business world. Not hard to imagine the high end of the spectrum. Travel, new cars, electronic gadgets, premium tickets to entertainment or sporting events… But the reality is that some of the lower end of that same spectrum is where it really adds up.

Don’t believe me? Here is one example that we all have seen. Been to the local grocery store lately, right? How about that Redbox video machine on your way out of the store. Sure, we have all been tempted by it. Rent a copy of that latest hot movie you missed in the theaters and watch it at home. A few bucks and you return the DVD on your next shopping trip.

Popular, right? The line of folks waiting to use these machines in some stores has led to the installation of a second or third machine. With the demise of those big video rental chains like Blockbuster, these machines fill the gap nicely and give you that option to spend a few bucks of your disposable income. And Redbox profits nicely along the way.

Another example? Sure! Every time someone stops in at McDonald’s or another one of the multitude fast food emporiums, that is a dip into that disposable income. Go for that large value size combo and you are chipping in toward the profit margin. Providing your income for it, too. And lest we forget, this is only one type of business built upon that model of your spending disposable income.

Entertainment of all kinds is another. From that Redbox rental to your cable and Internet access at home to the local multiplex matinee to the book purchased from Amazon or the album from iTunes, they all add up. And despite the average income remaining relatively flat over the last decade, the ways in which we are tempted to part with the money we are not spending on the essentials (i.e. lodging, food, utilities like power and water, transportation and insurance) seem to increase day by day.

You can’t say this is all bad. Plenty of folks make their livings on what we buy. In turn, those folks spend their own disposable income, no matter how little of it they may or may not have. If we did not have any disposable income, things would be pretty dull and the economy would be pretty flat.

Sure, there are always ways out there to soften the blow. Monthly payments on the Disney Annual Passes as an example. Where a big $700 purchase all at the same time might be tough to spend, a smaller monthly amount can seem easier to spend.

And with fuel prices dropping, due to decreased demand, we all can hope that the coming months might see more of that disposable income, even if only a few bucks now and then.

So, buck up. Literally! It’s good for the economy.

Or you can save it for a rainy day. That works, too.

Just smile and remember. We all need something to enjoy now and then.

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