ADHD on a Budget

Inattention and impulsivity can be difficult characteristics to have when it comes to managing money. Many of my clients with ADHD have great financial difficulties but most are significantly helped by developing a Spending Plan.

(Shh. Yes, that’s code for “budget”. But hey, “plan” is bad enough, the B-word, I dare not utter.)

To craft a personalized Spending Plan, you only need two things: artistry and action. (Yes, again, that’s code for design and execution.) Artistry means creativity; the kind, which brings freedom of expression, color, and rhythm, all great to have in your Spending Plan. The action is how you act, the answer to each of the questions.

  • On what do you spend your money?

How you spend your money expresses who you are. What you value you will buy and since we are our values, in essence, you are what you buy. Are you someone who leaves the house with $50 only to return home with nothing to show for it? Or do you come home with a new book only to add to the 3,000 others that you already own, you’re a reader after all.

  • In what categories may you overspend?

Like color on canvas, what you buy paints your world. Are you feeling like you never have enough money to buy the necessities but somehow you always have money for cigarettes? A spending plan will help draw clearer boundaries and help you prioritize.

  • When do you spend money?

Do you shop impulsively every day or mindfully create a list and go once a week? When you spend money creates the rhythm with which you live by. Whether every Friday or 15th of the month, when you get paid often dictates your spending patterns. With a spending plan, payday is taken into account but no longer has the same tight influence on you.

Sticking to your Spending Plan will be harder than creating it; impulses and old habits die hard. Sometimes tweaking will be necessary but the bottom line is not to give up. Eventually, you can learn to live within your means and have freedom from money troubles.


  1. I like the concept, but it would be helpful to have an example or a template that could help folks get started. I think people with ADD have a general sense of what they need to do, but are vague about execution.

    1. Yes, I agree. Much of what I write about is targeted to the 85% of folks who are undiagnosed or others who want to better understand ADHD. That is the case with this post.

      As for people with ADHD, I am an ADHD Coach and work with individuals to create structures and systems that work for them. As well, they become more aware of how their executive is impacted by ADHD. I offer complimentary initial sessions so you can experience, first hand, how coaching works, giving you the opportunity to decide if you’d like to work with me.

      I also wrote a book about executive function, here’s the link:

      I appreciate your feedback, Carlotta.


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