ADHD & Money

Something I wish I had learned about as an ADHD teen was budgeting. Don't get me wrong, my parents taught me how to save money, and I was good at it. However, there's a lot more to maintaining your own household than steering clear of the wants. How do you know you can afford something and still be comfortable? What percentage of your budget should your home be? How do I make a budget if I have the attention span of a gnat? How do I stick to a budget when I'm incredibly impulsive? Here are my tips.

Zero-Based Budget! My husband and I work off a zero-based budget where we give every dollar we make a distinct purpose (including an "oops" category). We have worked off of the Dave Ramsey ratios for how much things should cost out of our budget, and my husband (the computer guy) created a spreadsheet for us where we put in our income and the actual cost of things and it tells us our income percentage. From there we can see if we're on track. Here are the biggest ones that we struggled with when we began adulting.

Cash Only! If you don't do anything else, use a cash envelope system to keep you from overspending in the store. Keep any credit AND debit cards somewhere where you won't be tempted to use them. A debit card is good for larger purchases, like a couch or booking a vacation online, but not for heading to the grocery store or Target. If you use a credit card for something, find a place to write down the total and post it to the wall/desk by your computer.

Be Wary of Automatic Withdrawal. We use automatic withdrawal for some things, but we've had some companies in the past (especially utilities) where bills were either not taken out on time, or they were taken out twice in the same month. Some of this will be trial and error, but if you find yourself having a hard time with a certain company, it's okay to stop using their auto-pay and make a cash envelope for them.

Use Cashier Checks for Big Bills. Whenever you get money for rent or any other big bill that isn't automatically withdrawn, go to the bank and get that money turned into a cashier's check. I don't care if you have another payday or not, go straight to the bank, get the check made out, and put it IMMEDIATELY into your envelope. Then that money doesn't sit in your account and look spendable, because it isn't.

Use Reminders. Make sure you have the days that any bills are due marked in your calendar, with a time marked to pay them. If you have any travel time (we drop our rent off at a bank) then include the time it takes to get there. Have it remind you the day before it's due. Not the week before, but the actual day before. We need no time to procrastinate.

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