Spending is simply money that goes out of your accounts. Online bill payments, charges on your credit card, sending money via Venmo, they’re all spending. Some spending is automatic; like subscriptions to Netflix or a gym membership that charges you every month. Some spending is predictable; you probably pay the same every month towards rent or a mortgage, while other types are uneven and less predictable, such as what you spend on groceries, gas, or eating out. There is also spending you can’t exactly plan for, like your car breaking down and needing repairs or unexpected health care expenses and what we call “hidden” spending for things like bank charges, account fees and credit card interest. There’s also spending on yourself – money you intentionally put into savings or investment accounts like a 401(k).

The most important thing is to understand your own goals and make sure your spending is in line with those goals, not working against them. Spending isn’t “bad’ or “good” – but make sure you’re getting something you value when you spend.