Managing Your Money When You Have ADHD

ADHD Marriage: 

Here is a link to a good article that was recently released about money management tips when you have ADHD.  It provides some solid statistics about the challenges plus a solid list of good ideas to improve things.  Go to this link...  I would be delighted if people wanted to start a thread about money management with this post.


I found the statistics

I found the statistics interesting, but I have to say the last two sentences were very frustrating for me: "But what really got his finances in order was his new marriage. Now his wife handles the bills." As the wife of an ADHD sufferer I am really burnt out from having to take over things to make sure they get done. When I initially took over all of our bills it seemed to be a good solution to better managing our finances and it stopped the missed/late payments problem. But now I'm wondering if it is actually enabling my husband's impulsivity around spending because he is removed from the nitty-gritty of bills and bank statements. Instead of conflict around late fees now we seem to have more conflict around the amount of money he is spending. I'd love to hear if anyone else has found this and if they know of a better way.


I started taking care of the bills the first year of our marriage because dh just ignored them.  We were at a point where we could not afford the interest on our credit cards.  I went to work full time and  got us back on track...I took care of budgeting and bill paying from then on.  While he made enough money in those years it worked OK.  As we got older, he got the attitude that what he didn't know didn't hurt him and slacked off on work because the bills were getting paid (magically, I guess, by me).  He would not step it up until I gave him sole responsibility to pay the electric bills.  When the electricity was turned off in 0° weather, I left him to figure it out.  Then he was outraged that I did not help him out...he didn't have the money.   He sat in the cold until he HAD to look at the finances and not assume I would take care of it.  DON'T TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING!!!!!.   What astounds me is the lack of pride and self respect.  Doesn't a man want to be able to support his family? Why does it take personal pain or embarrassment or someone leaving (as in divorce) for them to understand that they have to contribute enough and talk about things? 

Why does it take personal

Why does it take personal pain or embarrassment or someone leaving (as in divorce) for them to understand that they have to contribute enough and talk about things?

And sometimes even this isn't enough.  My husband still hasn't offered an opinion about our situation (possible legal separation) even though I told him about it four months ago and he has been living away from our house for two weeks now.


I totally relate

I've done the bills for our whole marriage and I think I enable my husband. He overspends and I accommodate it (I'll cut my own spending or return my items for cash). It's easier than fighting. (He can justify every purchase.) He also does these weird "voodoo economics" things that I don't like. For example, he'll buy his friend something with our debit card and then his friend pays him back in cash. Then he spends the cash (instead of returning it to the joint coffer). He doesn't think this is deceptive, but it feels real shady to me.

He feels really bad when he sees me make sacrifices (like foregoing haircuts or returning stuff to the store), but he can't offer an alternative solution. He doesn't consider curbing his own spending.

What's really hard for me to understand is that he is a brilliant computer programmer. He works with math and algebra all day long. But, he can't seem to understand the basic math facts when it comes to money. I have a finite view of money. His view is much more elastic. 

He is aware of his money problems and he feels bad about it, but I don't know if he will ever be able to live within a budget. In the past couple of years, since he started making medication, he has done a lot better with money, but it is still not great and very stressful. He makes a good salary, but we still live month-to-month. We make too much money to be broke.

The only thing I know for sure is don't use credit cards.

My ADD dh is actually

My ADD dh is actually excellent with his money management, to the point of obsessiveness. I have not been allowed to make any financial decision for a very long time now, unless he "OKs" it -- however, the OK doesn't come as he's paralyzed when a decision actually has to be made outside of himself. The ADHD response has made it seem as if there is financial abuse going on towards the non-ADHD spouse.

One thing that helps my dh think calmly without going into a rage when bills come in is the fact that we have arranged it so that all bills are due on the same day (same billing cycle). He goes to the bank and pays everything in full. He refuses to use a tickler system or any tracking system, it all has to be in his head, so he was always stressed to the point of disrupting the entire household. Now he doesn't have to think (over-think the bills) until the day of the month comes around.

I am the ADHD spouse

I am the one with the ADHD/anxiety/OCD, but my husband has had depression issues throughout our marriage. We used to stress and argue about money, but when his depression kicked in I took over the bill paying and kept everything on time, our credit is excellent. However, I also spent all of our savings and some credit lines to keep up the facade of all being well. Now we are working together with Quicken and more frequent, open money communications, but I still have not been able to get a grip on my part of controlling spending, keeping track of receipts and accounts, etc. It is so frustrating for him, and leaves me feeling like the failure I already felt I was all along. We are committed to doing this together but it is so hard. I have a lot of guilt for not being able to do this right, and for causing us financial stress. Fortunately, we are both employed and at least in theory, make enough money to pay off debt and continue to support our family, and at some point, if we stay on track, we should be able to actually rebuild the savings, take another vacation, etc.

I think one of the pieces of this that is so frustrating is that I know I am an intelligent person. It seems like it should not be this difficult. I am searching for the tools to keep myself focused on the goals, to make the changes I need in order to move this in the right direction....

Rosber's picture

I am the ADHD spouse and this

I am the ADHD spouse and this is what we now do.

My wife and I have started going over our finances weekly together. My wife has all the bills and income written out by a weekly chart. I keep track of our gas spending, food spending, clothing, house items ( such as repair items or paint ), misc spending (like a new case for phone, or something like that. I also made a receipt box and we both put every receipt in it and I check the box daily and add any receipt to my chart. I put a check on each receipt I enter. On the first monday of each month we go over the previous month total spending and see if we could have spent less on gas or something else.

My wife had been paying all the bills for years now and wanted to sit down and talk about our finances once a month. I did it now and then but rarely would. Now we do it weekly and it actually has taken the stress of our finances off both of us now that we share discussing them. I came up with a bunch of the new things we are now using for our weekly meetings myself. So not only does my wife feel better I am actually contributing by sitting down and discussing finances.  We both actually feel good about it because I actually contribute to the planning and handling now. We also set up one bill for me to be responsible for monthly, my car payment.

So to also add to this response I will share what I have done to turn my spending impulses into something better. When I get the impulses and yes I get them a few times a week still. What I do is turn the impulse around into saving money. I real example of what I do happened a few weeks ago. I was at walmart for groceries and I saw a new game had come out for the PS3 that my son and I could play together. I really wanted to buy that game but instead of buying it, I told myself that saving that money for my son's future would be better for my son than buying the game. It works for me. It makes me get a better feeling then spending money ever did. I also tell myself that saving money to be used for a family vacation or outing would be better than buying an impulse spending item as well.

This has really worked for me and I really have a handle on impulse spending now.

One thing that my wife and I did was go to a non profit debt management company when our debt got really big from paying for years of our son's autism therapies and special schools. That has helped us get our debt almost completely paid off.