This material is for information and support; not a substitute for professional advice.
ADHD and Money Management
Tips for Managing Money and Bills
Get in the driver’s seat to control your budget
An honest assessment of your financial situation is the first step to getting budgeting under control. Start by keeping track of every expense, no matter how small, for a month (yes, thirty days). This will allow you to effectively analyze where your money is going. You may be surprised how much you’re spending on unnecessary items and impulse purchases. You can then use this snapshot of your spending habits to create a monthly budget based on your income and needs.
Figure out what you can do to avoid straying from your budget. For example, if you’re spending too much at restaurants, you can make an eating-in plan and factor in time for grocery shopping and meal preparation.
Put a stop to impulse shopping
Impulsivity from ADD/ADHD and shopping can be a very dangerous combination. It can put you in debt and make you feel guilty and ashamed. You can prevent impulsive buys with a few strategic tactics.
- Shop with cash only—leave your checkbook and credit cards at home.
- Cut up all but one credit card. When you shop, make a list of what you need and stick to it.
- Use a calculator to keep a running total when shopping (hint: there’s one on your cell phone).
- Stay away from places where you’re likely to spend too much money.
- Throw away catalogs as they arrive.
Make it simple
Establish an easy, organized system that helps you save documents, receipts, and stay on top of bills.
Let the computer pay the bills
For an adult with ADD/ADHD, the opportunity to do banking on the computer can be the gift that keeps on giving. Organizing money online means less paperwork, no messy handwriting, and no misplaced slips.
- Pay online. You can set up automatic payments for your regular monthly bills and log on as needed to pay irregular and occasional ones. The best part: no misplaced envelopes or late fees.
- Balance your checkbook online. Signing up for online banking can turn the hit-or-miss process of balancing your checkbook into a thing of the past. Your online account will list all deposits and payments, tracking your balance automatically, to the penny, every day.
Easy ways to save
- Save tax materials. Designate a single, convenient place to put tax-related documents, rather than putting them in a pile of papers on a desk or tabletop. As tax-related documents arrive in the mail, put them in, too. Ask your accountant or tax advisor or read online about what type of receipts you should have close by.
- Save receipts. Make one bin or hanging envelope your place to put receipts. Save only the receipts that you’ll need for proof of purchase or tax-deductible expenses, and put everything else a recycling bag. Once a month, toss all receipts from saving bin into a large manila envelope and write the month and year on the front.
- Save for retirement. Make saving automatic by setting up an automatic monthly transfer of funds from your checking account into a savings or money market account. Once that is working well for you, you can also invest in a mutual fund or stocks using the same method.