Why You’re Still Living Paycheck to Paycheck

an add woman paycheck to paycheck

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ADHD and Money

If there were ever two things that shouldn’t exist together, I think that ADHD and money might be it.

In general, if we have ADHD, we’re not so good with money.an add woman paycheck to paycheck

And there are reasons for that:

  • We have an impulsive nature
  • We don’t pay attention, and that includes on things like spending (I once had a cashier ask me if I really wanted to spend $9.00 on cauliflower. Uh…no! Thank goodness she was paying attention!)
  • That whole going through your bank statement and balancing your checkbook thing? Who does that? With ATMs and electronic everything, who even keeps track anymore?
  • We’re forgetful. Ever had your utilities shut off because you forgot to pay the bill? I once called the utility company because I couldn’t pay my bill online, and they politely explained that I had already paid it twice that month and they weren’t going to allow me to pay it a third time.

Someone’s Got to Do It

Whether or not we have ADHD, sometimes we just have to deal with money. In my family, we all have ADHD, so someone’s got to do it.

There are all kinds of resources out there for dealing with money, but most of them are made for people with linear thinking brains.

That’s not us.

A budget makes complete sense if you think in an orderly fashion, but when your mind doesn’t work that way, it can make it hard to figure it out.

For instance, if I had absolutely no money at all, and no bills, and then you gave me both, I could start a budget and figure it out.

The problem is, we’re not starting at square one.

We’re starting somewhere in the middle and the bills are in a different area of the middle and the money is somewhere else. How do I figure things out from there?


One of the biggest challenges a lot of people – ADHD or not – face is getting to the end of the money before the end of the month. In other words, they still have bills to pay, but no more money coming in and none left in the checking account.

And savings account?

You’re joking, right?

The solution to this is quite simple on the face of it; you need to cut your spending. Easier said than done. I know.

There are some resources out there made for those of us with ADHD.

For more information on money and ADHD, plus a free book with a new approach, check out this article from The Huffington Post.

If you need more of a course approach, you might like this. To be honest, I downloaded it months ago and never got past the first couple of exercises. This lady really knows what she’s talking about, but I just can’t get there.

And finally, you might want to read about some of the ways I manage our money.

The Basics

If you want to try this on your own, here are the basics.

You add up three things:

  1. Monthly income – what you actually bring home. And if it varies, base it on your minimum hours.
  2. Fixed expenses – the things you have to pay each month that remain the same, like rent, your house payment, or your car payment.
  3. Variable expenses – these are things like some of your utilities, groceries, gas, and other expenses.

Hopefully, when you subtract your expenses from your income, you have money left – on paper, at least.

If it’s not there in reality, take another look at your spending.

Lunches out? Take out for dinner? Coffee runs? Any given pool at work?

It all adds up.

This is clearly a subject that could use a lot more time to explore. Look for it in the future.

In the meantime, do you have a money system that works? Tell us!

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of Lacyestelle.com and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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