ADHD Adult ADD/ADHD Avoid Impulsive Spending with ADHD By Keath Low Keath Low Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD. Learn about our editorial process Updated on December 21, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Hero Images / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Become Aware of Your Impulsive Spending Make Shopping Lists Use Cash Rather Than Credit Cards Delay the Impulse to Spend Keep Tags on Purchases Shop Online Discuss Major Purchases Before Buying Don’t Shop Socially Learn to Say No For many people with ADHD, it is hard to resist impulsive spending. Impulsivity is one of the major symptoms of ADHD, so it is not uncommon for those with ADHD to buy first and think later. Sure, impulsive spending may leave you with the challenge of storing all of your new purchases. But the real issue is that it can quickly lead you down the path to debt. Here are some simple tips to keep your finances in better order by gaining control of impulsive spending. ADHD Symptoms in Adults Become Aware of Your Impulsive Spending The first step to making a change in behavior is to recognize the problem. Once you acknowledge that uncontrolled spending is an issue, your awareness of the problem will help you follow through with a plan to stop. Make Shopping Lists Use lists to write down needed items before you go out shopping. Purchase only what is on your list. We have all fallen into the trap of going to the grocery store when we are hungry and buying (and spending) much more than we really need. Lists will help you maintain control overspending. Use Cash Rather Than Credit Cards Credit cards can certainly be convenient, but they can also be dangerous when it comes to impulsive spending. Use cash for purchases. It is a whole lot harder to see your cash disappear. Delay the Impulse to Spend Shop with an empty wallet. Use the time to look around and find exactly what you need, then ask the salesperson to hold the item for one day. Go home and think about it. Do you really need this item? Can you afford to buy it? Keep Tags on Purchases If you do end up buying an item, keep the tags on for one or two days. Or if the item is in a box, keep the box sealed and don’t open it. Take some time to consider your purchase. You can always take it back the next day if you decide it was bought on impulse. Shop Online If you are in need of a new pair of walking shoes, rather than going to a mall full of temptations, go online. Add a few choices to your shopping cart, then wait a few days to consider your choice. Use this time to decide if it is really what you want and need. Discuss Major Purchases Before Buying Before shelling out lots and lots of money on a major purchase, discuss it with your spouse, a friend or family member. Use them to help you sort through whether or not it is wise to purchase the item. Don’t Shop Socially The mall is a fun place to visit, and often times groups of friends will get together for social time while shopping. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping and make purchases that you don’t really need when friends are around to tell you how great the item is. Learn to Say No Rather than getting into the habit of saying “I must have,” get a handle on what you really need. It is so easy to “shop ‘til you drop,” but it is really difficult to deal with the negative repercussions of this behavior. By Keath Low Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for ADHD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.