By Nikita Wolff
If you’re on ADHD-tok like me, you’ve probably been asking yourself for the last few years whether or not you’ve gone your whole life not knowing those “quirks” & inefficiencies of yours actually had a name. The ways in which ADHD presents in adults can make managing finances a little nightmarish, but there are some things you can do to set yourself up for success and work with your brain, not against it.
1. Make it easy
Set up autopay. For everything.
First and foremost your bills. You should never have to remember to log into an account and pay a monthly bill. That’s a recipe for late fees and missed payments.
Beyond that, you can set recurring contributions within your banking account. Small weekly amounts add up over the course of a year. Try to imagine a dollar amount that you could save each week. Now multiply that by 52 (the number of weeks in a year). Is that number exciting to see?
Don’t work backwards. Don’t save based on what’s left at the end of the month. Spend what you have after meeting your savings goal. It’s important to adjust your goals if they’re not realistic yet.
2. Create friction for undesirable behaviors
Impulsivity is a trademark characteristic of ADHD.
If you struggle with impulsive spending, make it harder to do it. Refrain from using credit cards, and use a debit card instead.
Keep your checking balance low enough that it can’t accommodate impulsive purchases without logging into your bank and initiating a transfer. Set up overdraft protection so that you don’t get slammed with fees if an unexpected bill hits.
Delete your credit card information from your online accounts. Just simply removing the convenience of one-click purchases makes it less likely that you’ll be fetching your card details for things that you don’t actually need.
3. Don’t Tempt Yourself
If you’re the spendy type, you probably shouldn’t “just look” around the store.
Only go into a store if you know what you’re looking for. One better than that is to use curbside pickup. If you’re like me, even going into a store with a list can mean I find some other things “I just hadn’t thought of” along the way. The best way to truly stick to a list is to place an order for curbside pickup. Then you don’t even have the opportunity to get tempted along the way.
Along those same lines: remove shopping apps from your phone, and unsubscribe from texts and emails that send promotions.
4. Make it rewarding
Money should be something that can bring us enjoyment.
A budget is not meant to be constant restriction. To get your head above water, you may need to do that for a time, but don’t forget to plan ways to spend your money that enrich your life. Build fun into your spending.
Lastly, make looking at your money rewarding. Most people don’t like to monitor their spending and see how closely they’re following their budget. This can be unpleasant if you’re used to living in the red, however, ignoring it doesn’t change the reality. What I like to do is make my weekly expense-tracking hour enjoyable. I grab a yummy snack, put some music on, and chart it out. This helps create a positive relationship with money, and over time you’ll get to witness the small successes along the way.
For additional resources on managing your finances with ADHD, check out the following: