A person using their card to pay online

Does ADHD cause impulse buying?

Introduction: ADHD and Impulse buying

Impulsivity is a common trait found in people who have ADHD. While this does not mean all people with ADHD always impulse buy, some people with ADHD can be more prone to this habit. 

Why do people with ADHD buy impulsively


There is no definitive answer to whether ADHD causes impulse buying, as research on the topic is relatively limited. However, ADHD does affect executive functioning, which controls decision-making, planning, and organization.  

Suppose one’s ability to consider the outcome of their actions is impacted because of ADHD along with their decision-making abilities. In that case, we can see how this combination can lead to a tendency to have impulsive behaviors like making purchases without pausing to consider their long-term effects. 

Therefore it is important for people with ADHD to be aware of this potential tendency and learn how to manage it to avoid costly mistakes.

sad woman with credit card

How To control and avoid Impulse Buying


To control impulse buying, it is critical that you first acknowledge your tendency towards this habit. Once you know this, you can start working to control it.

Here are ten tips for how to control impulse buying if you have ADHD:

  1. Don’t bring money or means of payment with you if you don’t need to buy anything.
  2. Don’t shop when you are hungry, tired, upset, or angry. 
  3. Put a sticker on your credit or debit card to remind you of your savings goals
  4. Unsubscribe to retail emails. Most are just ads trying to encourage you to buy now.
  5. Create a rule to wait for 24 hrs. before you buy anything. The urge to buy something may fade after some time has passed. 
  6. Use debit instead of credit cards. Credit cards can make it easy to spend more money than you have, whereas debit uses only your money in your account.
  7. If you must use a credit card, use a prepaid credit card like KOHO to ensure you don’t spend more than you have 
  8. Add some friction to your spending. Take credit cards out of online accounts
  9. Remove shopping apps from your phone. 
  10. Make a list before you go shopping. If you know what you need, you’re less likely to buy things on a whim.
a lot of shopping bags

How to stop ADHD Impulse Buying?

If your impulse buying has become a critical problem, it may be time to take more drastic measures.

Remove access to your credit cards. Don’t cancel them if you can avoid it because canceling a credit card will harm your credit score. But give them to a trusted partner or friend so you cannot use them. Or put your credit card into a zip-top bag, then put that bag into a container and freeze it. You will still be able to access your credit card if necessary, but you will have to wait for it to thaw out before you can.

Do what every method works best to remove access to credit cards, including removing them from any auto-fill feature on your devices and taking them out of your online accounts. Credit cards make it too easy to buy impulsivity.

Seek help additional help. In addition to speaking to your doctor, you may need to employ a certified financial planner to help you get your spending in check. They can help you to build your budget, protect your wealth and even advise you to create your allowance if that is the best way to manage your spending.  

You may also want to ask friends and family for their support. With the love and support of the people in your life, they may be able to help you come up with creative solutions to help you better manage your spending.

The most important thing is to seek help as soon as you realize that your impulsive spending is a problem you do not think you can solve on your own. 

ADHD can make some procrastinate or ignore problems and tasks that they do not find interesting. Managing impulsive spending may not be interesting by it is extremely important. Do not delay and seek help as soon as possible.




So, does ADHD cause impulse buying? While ADHD may not cause impulse buying, it is clear that the symptoms of ADHD do cause some to act impulsively. This increase in impulsive behavior leads to impulse buying.

If you are struggling with impulse buying, it is crucial to seek help. Use the tips above or seek additional support from friends, family, or professionals. Many resources are available to you, and you do not have to suffer in silence.