Taming the Holiday Buying Impulse When You Have ADHD

The holiday season has arrived. Marketers are going all out to encourage us to buy their merchandise, and that, in combination with the festive holiday mood, can cause us to spend beyond our budget. This is especially true for individuals with ADHD. The impulsivity that often accompanies the condition can be a big problem during the holidays.

If you have ADHD, there are a number of strategies you can follow to avoid a holiday debt hangover. Here are a few.

  • Acknowledge impulsive spending – The best place to begin is to acknowledge that uncontrolled spending is an issue. This awareness of the problem helps you put in place a plan to help curb it.
  • Use shopping lists – Write down what you need before you go out shopping and only purchase what is on your list. Lists help you maintain control over spending by reminding you if you are tempted to buy something beyond what you intended.
  • Make Purchases with Cash – Leaving the credit cards at home can help curb impulsive spending. It automatically puts a limit on how much you can spend, and it gives you a physical reminder of your spending as you see your cash disappear.
  • Delay, delay, delay – Start your shopping with an empty wallet. It gives you time to find exactly what you need and you can ask the store to hold the item for a day. Then go home and think about whether you really need and can afford this item. If it’s a large purchase, talk with your spouse, family members or friends about it before buying it. Also, when you shop online, put items in your cart, but hold off actually buying them for a couple of days to give yourself more time to think about the purchase.
  • Avoid Social Shopping – Shopping in malls with friends makes it easy to purchase items you don’t really need. Your friends may encourage you to buy something by telling you how great they think it is. Shopping solo removes that social pressure.

You can also combine these strategies with the use of budgeting and spending apps that provide a further layer of help against overspending during the holidays (or any time of the year).


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