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Consumption . Consumers play an important role in the economic system. Consumer: any person or group that buys or uses goods and services to satisfy personal needs and wants. What do consumers buy?. Disposable and Discretionary Income.

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Consumers play an important role in the economic system.

Consumer: any person or group that buys or uses goods and services to satisfy personal needs and wants.


What do consumers buy?


Disposable and Discretionary Income

A person’s role as a consumer depends on his or her ability to consume. This ability to consume depends on available income and how much of it a person chooses to spend now or save for future spending.

Disposable income: the money income a person has left after all taxes have been paid.

People first spend disposable income on necessities like food, clothing, and housing. Look at page 60’s chart of consumer spending.


  • Discretionary income: Leftover income that can be saved or spent on extras such as luxury items or entertainment.

Education, occupation, experience, and health all influence a person’s earning power and thus his/her ability to consume.

Look at the chart on page 61 that shows how education affects income.

Where a person lives can also influence how much a person earns: city dwellers tend to earn more than those in rural areas and some regions of the country tend to be higher also.


Decision Making as a Consumer

Decision making involves three parts:

Scarce resources: income and time

Opportunity cost

Rational choice

Choosing the alternative that has the greatest value from among comparable-quality products.



A movement to educate buyers about the purchases they make and to demand better and safer products from manufacturers

The Lemon Law:

Consumers must be proactive in their buying habits.


Consumer Rights:

1962 President John F. Kennedy—first protection message to Congress

  • The right to safety—protection against goods that are dangerous to life or death

  • The right to be informed---information for use not only as protection against fraud but also as the basis for reasoned choices

  • The right to choose---the need for markets to be competitive (have many firms) and for government to protect consumers in markets where competition does not exist, such as electronic service

  • The right to be heard---the guarantee that consumer interests will be listened to when laws are being written


  • President Nixon added a fifth right:

  • The right to redress---the ability to obtain from the manufacturers adequate payment in money or goods for financial or physical damages caused by their products

Using President Kennedy’s list, Congress passed consumer-protection legislation.

his "finest achievement" in consumer protection


How did this legislation help consumers?

  • Dissatisfied consumers can complain to a store manager or write to the manufacturer.

  • Consumers may take a case to small claims court or hire a lawyer.

  • Local citizens’ action groups and local chapters of the Better Business Bureau help consumers with their rights and complaints.

  • There are also many federal bureaus to help consumers.

Read over the list of the federal bureaus on page 74 of your economics' book.


Consumer Responsibilities:



Receipt of money either directly or indirectly to buy goods and services in the present with the promise to pay for them in the future.

The amount owed—the debt—is equal to the principal plus interest.

Principal: amount of money originally borrowed in a loan

Interest: amount of money the borrower must pay for the use of someone else’s money


Remember this:

Taking out a loan is the same as buying an item on credit. In both cases, you must pay interest for the use of someone else’s purchasing power. Anytime your receive credit, you are borrowing funds and going into debt.


Installment Debt

One of the most common types of debt

Type of loan repaid with equal payments, or installments, over a specific period of time

Most people buy durable goods, or manufactured items that last longer than three years on an installment plan.


The length of the installment period (time to pay the debt) is important in determining the size of the borrower’s monthly payment and the total amount of interest he/she must pay.

Longer repayment period=smaller monthly payments


The longer it takes to repay an installment loan, the greater the total interest the lender charges!



The largest form of installment debt in the United States is the money people owe on mortgages.

mortgage: installment debt owed on houses, buildings, or land


Why do people use Credit?

People buy items on credit because they believe they require these items immediately.

Many people do not want to postpone purchasing an important durable good like a car or truck. They would rather buy on credit and enjoy the use of the item now rather than later.

Another reason for going into debt is to spread the payments over the life of the item being purchased.


Deciding to use credit:

The decision to borrow or use credit involves whether the satisfaction the borrower gets from the purchases is greater than the interest payments.


Purchase satisfaction > interest payments

Benefit: buy and enjoy the goods or services now

Costs: interest payments or lost opportunities to buy other items.

Comparing costs and benefits


Checklist for buying on credit:

1. Do I really require this item? Can I postpone purchasing the item until later?

2. If I pay cash, what will I be giving up that I could buy with this money? This is an opportunity cost.

3. If I borrow or use credit, will the satisfaction I get from the item I buy be greater than the interest I must pay? This is also an opportunity cost.

4. Have I done comparison shopping for credit? Look for the best loan or credit deal including the lowest interest rate if not paying cash.

5. Can I afford to borrow or use credit now?



Answer the following on another piece of paper to turn in during class tomorrow.

What are the advantages of repaying installment debt over a long period of time?

Why do people go into debt?

Go to this website and take a reality check.


Sources of Loans and Credit:

There are two major types of credit—using credit cards and borrowing money directly from a financial institution.

Types of Financial Institutions:


*An important element in money management is choosing the correct financial institution to meet an individual’s needs. Financial institutions are businesses which offer multiple services in banking and finance.

*The services customers receive may include savings and checking accounts, loans, investments, and financial counseling.

*The benefits consumers gain by using financial institutions includes convenience, cost savings, safety, and security.

*It can be in the consumer’s best interest to research financial institutions and to use one institution for all their financial needs.

*The advantages to choosing one institution include building a relationship, the simplicity of having all accounts in one place, and possibly lower interest rates on loans.

Financial institutions are more willing to offer loans with lower interest rates to loyal customers.


Different types of financial institutions are available.

􀂃Depository institutions offer banking services and loans to individuals and businesses.

o Although they can be referred to as banks in general, each is a distinct type of institution.

o Depository institutions include:

Commercial banks – also known as full-service banks because they offer the wide variety of services and products available including checking and savings accounts, loans, credit cards, investments, and advice; operate under state and federal laws; usually the largest banks; insured by the FDIC.

Savings & loan associations (S & Ls) – focus on providing loans and mortgages to customers who hold a savings account; insured by the SAIF; generally pay a higher interest rate than commercial banks; provide interest earning checking accounts.


  • Credit unions – a non-profit cooperative institution owned by its members; members usually have a common bond; insured by the NCUA; usually charge lower fees and loan rates and offer higher interest rates than commercial banks and S & Ls; many offer free financial counseling; accounts offered include share, share draft, and share certificate accounts.

  • Brokerage firms are licensed institutions which specialize in investing. They offer money management

  • plans to buy and sell stocks, bonds, and other cash investment opportunities through cash management.


What is the definition of a financial institution?

What are four types of financial institutions

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