Whether you believe money is good or evil it is a necessary tool to create the life we want to live. Money can give us freedom, experiences, safety, and the power to say no to things that don’t serve us so it’s essential we look after it.
The thing that pushed me to sort out my money situation was my lowest point in 2018 where I needed to leave a toxic job with not much to fall back on. I realised I’d been working so hard for everyone else and relying on a ‘secure job’ but it was time to take back control and start managing my money through awareness (yes I kept a spending diary!), budgeting, saving and then investing.
Chatting to some lovely neurodiverse clients they reported:
Lower capacity to deal with admin/paperwork
Feeling amplified emotions when it came to spending/saving i.e. feeling on top of the world when you have money left but then feeling guilt/shame when you spend
Impulsive spending especially takeaways and special interests
Trouble with planning ahead for future purchases i.e. annual subscriptions
Difficulty splitting money up and budgeting in general
Quickly overwhelmed with waffle/ general overload of information and the number of options available
Monzo also did some research which showed living with ADHD can cost an extra £1,600 a year.
Full research here: https://monzo.com/blog/the-extra-costs-of-living-with-adhd So here are my five top tips to get you started.
1. Simplify rather than organise!
Rather than trying to get more organised – what can you get rid of completely?
Do you have multiple bank accounts that can be closed?
Paperwork still coming through the post – make it digital!
Multiple credit cards – can you combine to one 0% offer?
Do you get email marketing? – what can you unsubscribe from?
Managing multiple subscriptions – what can go?
Can you get all your direct debits to come out of one account on the same date?
The less you must look after the better. Like with a physical declutter you will find a digital declutter frees up vital mental space!
2. Seamless from start to finish!
Introducing…. Spoon theory! The simplified version is that as neurodiverse individuals we wake up with a limited number of spoons which can vary day to day. Each time we perform a task we use up one of our spoons. Because of this we need to make sure that we make things as easy as possible to keep on top of our finances.
Passwords - Can you set up somewhere like 1Password with all your passwords and log-ins in one place.
Logging in - Always make sure you have your card reader and phone with you before you begin so you don’t have to get up to go and get it.
Tracking - To avoid having to log in to multiple bank/credit card accounts you can link all your accounts to an app such as Money Dashboard and monitor all your transactions from one place as well as assign them categories and set budgets.
To avoid having to keep track of multiple pension pots (especially for us job hoppers!) that are all dotted around with small amounts could you combine all your pots into one using a specific consolidation service such as PensionBee or transfer into one of your other pension providers (please do your research first or speak to a professional).
3. Buddy-Up 👯♀️
Finance tasks aren’t very dopamine friendly – this is where accountability can come in handy. Who can keep you accountable to make sure it gets done – think of a friend, a partner, use a unmasked body doubling session or you can hire a financial coach.
4.Add Friction to purchases!
It is easier than ever to make big impulsive purchases. The idea is we want to add in friction to try and override the impulse. Try:
Deleting all saved bank details from online shopping sites or auto-fill passwords
Writing notes on your debit cards
Stick post-its on the wall or have a visual reminder of what you’re saving your money for
Before you purchase make a habit of brain-dumping in a journal – why do you want to buy this, and will it add to your life? What are you saying no to by purchasing this?
Set up different accounts for where your money goes in and spending comes out
5. Get the system to work for you!
Rather than trying to fight the system - is the bank that you’re using helping you keep on top of everything, or can they be doing better?
Some features that can be helpful for busy brains are:
Real-time balance updates
Upcoming payment reminders
Places to set money aside automatically which can be locked
Web Chat features – avoiding those awful phone calls!
Visual presentation – spending wheels/charts etc.
Check whether there are any tools you’re not making the most of, look for a new bank or let your current bank know they can be doing better. The more of us that speak up the more that will change. Some of the new challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling implement these features.
Bonus! 6. Review, Review, Review!
To improve we need to make sure we review what happened the previous month. Set some time in your calendar now to reflect.
Did I save more than I spent or spent more than I saved – why?
Are there any purchases I made that now don’t feel worth it?
What can I celebrate that I did well?
What did I learn about myself?
Where did I struggle most this month and what can I do to improve that next month?
After bills where does most of my money go?
A final note that there’s lots of ideas here but just pick one to get started with and make that your focus for the next week. We want to make one small improvement at a time not have perfect finances straight away.