Taking Control of Impulse Buying When You Have ADHD

The holiday season is here and the holiday marketing push has begun in earnest. We are all susceptible to spending more than we should during the holidays, but the impulsive, quick reacting nature of ADHD makes impulse buying all the more tempting. If you have ADHD and find yourself being pulled into a spending vortex, here are some tips from FastBrain that can help – not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year.

Create a purchasing plan and stick to it – A purchasing plan is essentially a list of those things you need to buy and a spending limit for each purchase. Creating a plan before you go on a shopping trip can help you stay on track with your spending.

Pay yourself an allowance and shop without credit cards – Once you know what you can afford to spend each month, put yourself on an allowance that doesn’t exceed your spending limit. To the extent possible, use cash to make your purchases. This helps put a barrier between you and impulsive purchases.

Learn to budget – Almost nobody likes to budget. However, budgets help show us exactly what we bring in each month and exactly what we can spend. Understanding these items is important to keep these things in balance. A budget can put you in control of your finances and lead to a more prosperous life. If the prospect feels intimidating, ask for help setting up and managing a budget for yourself.

Use apps to help you monitor your spending – Apps are a great way to keep track of your overall spending and they let you quickly see how you are dong against your budget. Many apps will allow you to set spending limits and then track your spending and see how well you’re doing overall.

Enforce a time gap between thinking about a purchase and making it –  Marketers have devised many ways to tempt you into buying without thinking. One of the simplest and most effective ways to counter this is to put some time between the time you first think about buying something and when you purchase it. Set a substantial amount of time – say 24 hours – for you to really think about a purchase. This “cooling off” period gives you enough time to think about whether you really need to make the purchase, and whether it is within your budget.

Buy things you can return and don’t be afraid to return them – This is a good strategy to have as a back up for those times when you make an impulse purchase and have buyer’s remorse. If you only shop at places with a generous return policy, you can take your item back if you determine that you don’t really need it, or it doesn’t fit within your budget.

Though your ADHD may complicate money management, you can learn skills and tricks to compensate for your tendency to buy on impulse and retake control of your finances, especially during the holidays.

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