Impulse Spending and ADHD
Impulsivity is one of the main symptoms for those with ADHD. Are you guilty of impulse spending whenever you are either stressed, sad, happy or overly focused on one thing? It’s common for those with the condition to buy first and think later. Check out the tips below to help avoid your impulsive spending condition.
Step 1: Identify the Issue
We all know how this goes. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. While you may think you are better off than those with drug and alcohol addictions, your shopping addictions can lead to financial instability and debt. For many, shopping may seem like a quick fix. Sophie Kinsella from Confessions of a Shopaholic says it best:
“When I shop the world gets better, the world is better; and then it’s not anymore and I have to do it again.”
This is not the case. You will be in an obsessive cycle and you can't buy yourself happiness. Sure, we all want to feel good and we all know that good, temporary high feeling that is acquired when you get ahold of someting new and shiny. People love novelty and shopping can bring that excitement you are so desperately searching for into your life in a matter of seconds. The dopamine in your brain is released and you feel great. But wait! You forgot about your car payment and phone bill that is due tomorrow. No problem, you charge it on your card and go about your day.
After doing this on repeat, you will feel like you need to go to a Shopper's Anonymous meeting with the hundreds of thousands of dollars you rung up in debt. This debt may also have catalyzed struggling relationships with your spouse and loved ones.
Don't let your shopping problem get to this point. Instead, let us help you control your impulsive ADHD urges and get your life in control.
Step 2: Cash Over Cards
Let's face it, people don't change overnight. If you are going to go shop, leave your cards at home and bring a set amount of cash. Cards are certainly convenient, but they also can encourage you to spend what you don’t have. By bringing cash for purchases, you only have a set amount. When you’re out… too bad, time to go home! You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Step 3: Avoid Shopping Areas When You Are Bored
No plans after work, but not ready to chill at home? Stay away from the stores ! Many of us use shopping as a pastime when bored or lonely. By surrounding yourself with shiny, pretty temptations, you are setting yourself up for an epic fail. Instead, call a friend, go on a walk, organize your closet or volunteer. There are plenty of free, healthy activities you can preoccupy your time with. Retail therapy is not your friend.
Step 4: Sleep On It
Delay those large purchases looming over your head and sleep on it. Rather than immediately running out and buying things to instantly satisfy your wants, make a wish list and write down why you so desperately need these items. After a month if you are still thinking about these “wishes” then go ahead and treat yourself! If they are no longer eating at you to buy, then put it on the backburner and move on.
Step 5: Mind Over Matter
Keep a journal of your long-term goals and dreams. Maybe those hopes include purchasing home, buying a new car, sending your child to a better school or treating your spouse to a special date/vacation. Whatever you dream of, you can achieve with dedication and self-control. Rather than rewarding every achievement and healing every bad day with a shopping spree, make a jar and put your reward money in there to save for something bigger and better. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
In your journal you can also take note of how you felt after impulsively purchasing something. Write down what drove you to buy it, how you felt when buying it, how you felt the next day and if you still use that product 30 days later. Did you have any feelings of regret? Did your decision cause you to sacrifice something else?
You can do this. Remember these tips and refer back to your journal to see if those feelings of instant gratification were worth breaking the bank. Remember to focus on the outcome, not the obstacle. Until next time… #adhdtreatmentcenter