“Debt” is a noun. It has never been used as a verb – “to debt.” But we’re going to coin it that way and use it that way on this site.

It helps us distinguish such use of money from other types spending and from secured loans.

If Joanie goes into a department store and buys a television for $600, and pays for it in cash or with a check or a debit card, she just bought a television. She spent $600 to do it.

If Ed goes into the same department store and walks out with the same model television, but charges it to his store account or puts it on a credit card, he did not just buy a television.

Joanie bought a television.

Ed borrowed $600.

Joanie spent some money.

Ed debted.

That’s what happened.

(And Ed’s life – at least if he’s here on this site, or if he ought to be – just got more pressured and painful. He went that much deeper into debt, which means he’s going to have even less money with which to pay for everything next month than he did this month, as he starts to make payments on that new debt.)

There’s spending money.

And then there’s debting.

If you add “debting” to your vocabulary – lock it in there as a verb and think about the difference between it and spending when you reach for your wallet, pick up the phone, or hover your cursor over the Buy button, you’ll become clearer about how money actually works than most everyone else in the country, and on your way to getting better with it.