Consumables refer to items that, once used, cannot be reused. Consumables need to be replaced on a regular basis, contributing significantly to the regular expenses of both households and businesses. Examples of these include food, ink, post-it notes, toilet paper, gasoline, soap, shampoo, printer, computer disks, pens, cleaning fluids, etc.

Keeping track of consumables, whether the consumable item is part of the supply or merchandise, is done during inventory. A regular and accurate inventory is important in any business. Taking inventory ensures that needed supplies for production and/or servicing are always in hand, but never overstocked. This helps keep cash flow in a healthy balance.

Due to increasing environmental awareness, businesses are now cutting on certain consumables and replacing other with more environmental friendly options. A good example of this is no longer supplying paper cups in the pantry but asking employees to bring their own mugs and reusable water bottles instead. The additional benefit of such measures is that the company gets to cut back on expenses brought about by having to buy consumables such as paper cups.