How does ADHD affect your finances?

Between 3 and 4 per cent of adults in the UK are living with ADHD, a disorder that is often misunderstood and comes with stigma attached – people with the condition are sometimes seen as lazy or not very clever, but the truth is that ADHD is a chronic medical condition, which affects a person’s life in every which way – from relationships to managing money.

ADHD can have a severe impact on how you manage your finances. From over-spending to forgetting to cancel subscriptions and people with ADHD are more likely to go into debt than people without the condition.

Maddy, founder of Mad About Money, is very open and honest about her diagnosis. Here, she shares the ways in which having ADHD can affect your spending habits and gives her tips on how to stay out of debt and keep your financial health in tip top condition.

You don’t budget because you find it boring and mundane…

It can be hard to budget because it’s not impulsive – something which ADHD thrives on, so Maddy suggests that you,  “ Join a group, such as my Mad About Money Saving Community Facebook group for support, to help you find the fun in budgeting and learn how to set yourself challenges, such as having a ‘no spend’ month, or putting away £1 a day for 6 months. Making things a bit more interesting will definitely help you to budget.”

You buy things forgetting that you already have them…

ADHD brain can make you easily forget what you already have in the cupboards, meaning that you inadvertently buy more. This can lead to food being wasted, you spending money needlessly, and your cupboards becoming even fuller than they were before (you know how ADHD makes you hoard!) To combat this, Maddy advises that you create an inventory before you hit the shops.

“Look in your cupboards and make a list of what you already have, so that you can easily see what you do or don’t have lurking in there. I always advise buying things like your shampoo and face creams in bulk where possible, along with tins and packets for your food cupboard.”

You spend money on getting a diagnosis and on medication…

Wating lists are huge on the NHS at the moment, so getting a diagnosis will take time. There are lots of places to get privately assessed but these come with a price tag.

“My biggest tip” says Maddy, “is to do your research about ADHD to learn about the condition before seeking a formal diagnosis. Start living your life as if you have been diagnosed and save yourself the money on paying privately. Then, when you get to the top of the waiting list you can talk about the changes you have made and the positive impact they have had on you, which will help.”

You impulse buy… 

Impulsive behaviour is a common trait of ADHD, which means that people with condition are often more likely to over-spend or take out expensive loans without reading the small print properly or thinking through the long-term impact of their decision.

“There will always be something that you didn’t know that you wanted, so sticking to a pre-made list is an absolute must” explains Maddy. “Whether it’s a packet of Jammy Dodgers or a designer handbag on sale, your impulsive behaviour can get you into a financial mess, so using a list keeps you on track and focussed.”

Setting yourself a rule of waiting before you buy anything not on your list can also prove helpful. “Set a rule that before you buy anything, you have to wait a set period of time to really think about it – anything from an hour to several days, although the longer the better.” Maddy advises. “This gives your impulse enough time to settle down and allow you to make a decision with a clear mind.”

And when you feel impulsive to borrow money or sign a contract? Maddy says, “Always read the small print! Get your partner to go over things, or a friend to make sure that everything is as you think it is, or again, give yourself a period of time to let the impulsive urge calm down.”

You don’t pay your bills on time…

Not paying your bills on time can severely impact your credit rating and you will incur hefty penalty charges. Having ADHD means that it can be hard for you to not only remember things like paying your bills but also to be organised.

“Set up direct debits to go out on the same day of the month, or the same week, so that you don’t forget to pay things” Maddy suggests “and create a spreadsheet with all your outgoings on, so that you can easily see what goes out of your bank account and when.”

You forget about food and then have to throw it out…

Your ADHD brain plays havoc on your memory and if you are not organised, which is difficult to be when you live with the condition, you can easily forget that you have bought certain food items.

Maddy says, “Try to plan your meals for the week as much as possible. This will help you reduce food waste, but also save you money from needing to go and buy ingredients again. Doing a weekly fridge inventory will also help you to see which foods need eating the soonest so you can plan your meals around those.”

Maddy also suggests that you don’t waste your left-overs, “ Any left-overs that can be frozen should be put in the freezer asap.” She explains. “This stops them from going ‘off’ in the fridge. Anything that can’t be frozen, look at how you can use them up and plan to use within the next few days.”

For more money saving tips, sign up to our newsletter at madaboutmoneyoffical

Or follow us on



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *