Like everyone, those of us with ADHD have our strengths and weaknesses. And spending money tends to be one of our strengths. We’re good at that.

I’ve written before about how ADHD can impact people’s finances. But today I want to home in more specifically on how ADHD can impact people’s spending.

Spending MoneyThe short version of the story is: impulsivity, blah blah blah. Impulsivity has obvious implications for spending.

After all, marketers know that tapping into people’s impulsive tendencies works. That’s why you always put the candy by the cash register.

And for people with ADHD, impulsivity isn’t a “tendency” as much as a way of life. When it comes to impulsive purchases, we’re the pros.

As you probably know (all too well), people with ADHD have a knack for starting things and then not following through on them.

This can include taking up new hobbies and dropping them almost immediately. For example, buying a guitar, learning a chord or two, and then getting taken up with some completely different promising new project. Everyone’s guilty of this sometimes – but people with ADHD more than the rest, I’d guess.

And it’s not just hobbies. More generally, people with ADHD are prone to getting caught up in the excitement of bright and shiny novelties without thinking through the boring, long-term practicalities. This can lead to buying items on the spur of the moment without stopping to ask when will I really use this thing?

In its most extreme form, buying things for the sake of buying things becomes a mental health condition in its own right. Compulsive buying can wreak havoc on people’s finances and everyday lives. Maybe you won’t be surprised to hear that research has linked compulsive buying to adult ADHD.

In the case of compulsive buying, professional help is the way to go. But for those of us who throw away money but are at the less extreme end of the shopping spectrum, we can do ourselves a big favor by being mindful of our tendency to spend impulsively – and maybe by taping a piece of paper with the mantra do I really want that? to the back of our credit card.

Image: Flickr/401kcalculator.org