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How to manage money when you have ADHD

Did you know that ADHD was recently estimated to cost £1600 a year in money management fees?

The combination of acting on impulsive thoughts, inattention to detail, and lust for adrenaline can keep us trapped in an addictive cycle where we feel guilty for purchases, and buy more to cheer ourselves up. We may also struggle to think about (or save for) the future (anyone else assuming the world will end before we retire? ) With private assessment costing £1000+, and access to medication costing £300 per month, successfully living with ADHD can sometimes feel like a privilege reserved for the wealthy.


Leanne Maskell, the author of 'ADHD - an A to Z', coaches people to thrive whilst living with ADHD. She's tried everything when it comes to money management. Here are her 7 tips for you!

1. Find out what support is available - and use it! 🏆

With rising diagnoses, the UK Government does have schemes to support people with ADHD, but less than 1% of eligible people use them. Leanne shares: "My psychiatrist said it would be extremely hard for me to access my medication through the NHS - but they were wrong. Unfortunately I only found this out after becoming extremely ill and being unable to afford their prescriptions!

The biggest shock was learning about Access to Work. After scraping together money for therapy for months, I learned that the Government could pay for me to have ADHD coaching and a virtual assistant! This support helps anybody in the UK with a health condition stay in work (including self-employment), and is game-changing for ADHD-ers."

2. Simplify your finances 👏

If you have ADHD, you might resonate with wading through 10 different bank accounts to try and find which one is currently signed up to Netflix.

Juno is a great way to simplify the chaos! "I put off getting an ISA for years because it just seemed too confusing, but learning about money on the platform in an accessible way changed everything. The less you have, the easier it will be to manage."

3. Start a financial routine - you need to 'name it to tame it' 💪

Online neo-banks like Monzo and Starling provide great options - such as notifications or pots where you can lock your money away.

You could also find an accountability buddy (or ADHD coach!) to share your weekly or monthly spending and earnings with. I used to do this every week with my friend, and we’d usually come away with one action to do before next time, like canceling a subscription we’d signed up to.

If you’re in debt, please reach out to a support organisation like Debtors Anonymous to help you create a debt repayment plan and support you.

4. Set blanket rules ☘️

Just like it can be hard to remember lots of different log-ins and passwords, it’s challenging to manage the endless options for spending, especially online. Setting blanket rules can make money management much easier.

"I have a personal blanket rule to never use any ‘buy now pay later’ schemes, because I know I wouldn’t be able to manage this healthily.

Another one of mine is to immediately cancel a free trial after starting it. I also try to set myself artificial deadlines for things like tax returns because I know I’d get too stressed if I left it to the last minute! " - shares Leanne.

These rules may be relevant to your particular spending habits and goals. For example, if you’ve got a habit of regularly buying clothes with the well-intentioned plan of returning them (but never manage to make it to the post office), you may want to set a blanket rule to never buy something you might want to return. You can find your ‘weak points’ by looking at your bank statements. Once you’ve set these ‘all or nothing’ rules, write them out and stick them on your wall - ADHD brains love a visual reminder!

5. Increase the 'road bumps' to spending 🏄‍♀️

As ADHD-ers, our brains are wired to seek dopamine, such as through instant gratification and shiny new objects. By increasing the executive functioning required to access the dopamine high, such as building in time between wanting and buying, we can hack our own operating systems. This means, by not storing your cards online and having to type the number in each time you want to buy something, or deleting apps off your phone, you can curb mindless spending.

You may even want to block access to certain websites, such as by using Freedom App. "A great exercise I do with clients is having a ‘money diary’, where you write down everything you want to spend money on for 24 hours. I do this every month, having a set day where I can make ‘big’ purchases, which is extremely helpful as I usually realise I no longer even want my ‘must haves’ of 1 week ago!" - Leanne

6. Don't spend money on other people 💰

The Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria that comes with ADHD can make us vulnerable to financial exploitation from others. I work with people who are too overwhelmed by their joint accounts to talk to their partners about the imbalances in spending, and others who are always first to pick up a bill because of the awkwardness involved in splitting it.

We might feel too awkward or simply forget to chase up invoices or money owed to us, yet feel much more comfortable buying others' gifts, rather than ourselves. Try not to spend money on anybody else for a set period of time. It can be quite confronting to realise how often we slip into the role of ‘pay me back later’, which can help us understand our core beliefs around money.

7. Set yourself financial goals 🙌

With brains that tend to think of time as ‘now or not now’, and wonderfully squiggly careers and experiences, those with ADHD may not have any particular financial goals.

However, creating goals can be game-changing! By working with our interest-based nervous system instead of against it, we can bring in novelty and adrenaline to make budgeting filled with fun instead of shame.


ADHD can be a brilliant asset, and our strengths like hyper-focus, innovative thinking, and bravery, can be extremely valuable in more ways than just financial. This being said, we do need money to survive - and learning how to make ADHD work for us can easily help, instead of hinder, us to achieve financial independence and freedom.

Any tips that have worked from you? We'd love to hear them! Feel free to share them over here or in the community.

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