A woman shopping online impulsively

Managing Money with ADHD Trait: Impulsivity

By: Tamika Howell, Edited By: Clifton Corbin | December 20, 2022

People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may struggle with impulsivity because it affects an area in the brain called the Thalmus, which is responsible for impulse control. As a result, there is a delay in ADHD brains that may affect their money management decisions.

ADHD and Impulsive Spending

ADHD is a common disorder that affects approximately both children and adults. It has a wide range of symptoms, including difficulty with focusing and paying attention, impulsivity, disorganization, restlessness, and fidgeting. One common symptom associated with ADHD is impulsive spending. 

Impulsive spending can cause significant financial stress for those living with ADHD. Additionally, those with ADHD may experience difficulty budgeting or planning for future expenses due to the impulsivity associated with ADHD. 

It is important for individuals living with ADHD to be aware of the potential risks associated with impulsive spending in order to mitigate its impact as much as possible.

"Poor impulse control plays a role in imprudent shopping and overspending, impulsive compliance (saying “yes” to any invitation or interesting project), which results in overextending oneself, thereby setting the stage for poor follow through on promises."

A man paying in cash

My Story of Impulsivity 

“Imprudent shopping and overspending, impulsive compliance” I deal with all of these. Especially buying things that I think will be the silver bullet for solving a problem. For example, the giant water bottle with time stamps that would get me to drink more water is currently collecting dust.

One of my significant missteps was a new car purchase. I didn’t need a new car. I needed a new CD player (dating myself).

I had a car my parents bought me that was running perfectly fine, minus the radio. But people were getting new cars after graduation, and I wanted to be people, lol.

I did not count the cost of getting a brand-new car and had deep regret when my student loan payments kicked in a few months after purchasing it. My dad put a new CD player in my old car, and it drove it for 5 or 6 more years. 

Try to pause and count the cost of a purchase or accepting an invitation with monetary obligations so there are no regrets when the initial good feelings wear off.

Tips To Minimize Impulse Spending


Here are some ways to minimize impulse spending:

  1. Separate funds by setting up multiple bank accounts with different spending purposes. For example, one to cover fixed monthly expenses and one for variable expenses.
  2. Use cash. It activates the pain center in the brain. You are less likely to part with cash than when you swipe a card.
  3. Create room in your budget to mitigate the impact of an impulse purchase.

ADHD and Impulsive Spending: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, impulsive spending and ADHD are closely linked, making it important for those who have been diagnosed with ADHD to be aware of the potential risks that come with it. However, with proper understanding, using the tips mentioned above, people can take precautions to prevent impulsive purchases and keep their spending habits in check.