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My Journey from ADHD Impulse Spending to Money Mastery

Read time 3 mins

From Misdiagnosis to Money Mismanagement

My name is Maddy, and I’ve got ADHD. I’m a money and business coach, but for most of my life, I believed I was terrible with money. The first step to improving your finances is being kinder to yourself. You’re not bad with money; you just haven’t mastered managing it yet.

My journey with money began in my teens. Diagnosed with an artificial colouring allergy, I should’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. In the '80s, ADHD in girls wasn’t widely recognised.

My money troubles started in secondary school when I developed a sugar addiction, spending my lunch money on sweets and chocolates daily. This wasn’t just a money issue but also a struggle with weight and a need for dopamine.

In my teenage years, my dopamine-seeking behaviour expanded to shopping for clothes and makeup, anything that gave me a brief sense of happiness because I had no idea who I was. The real challenges came in university, where I was clueless about managing my finances in the big, wide world. My spending then revolved around boys, booze, and the thrill of social activities, leading me to accumulate £40,000 in debt.

The ADHD Brain and Finances

Undiagnosed ADHD can be hazardous for financial health. With proper knowledge about my ADHD brain, I would’ve spending habits differently. ADHD often involves struggling with impulse control, whether shopping, drinking, or worse. We chase dopamine, leading to behaviours like impulse buying that can be financially destructive.

We also face the “ADHD tax”: parking tickets, missed subscriptions, and forgotten returns. Our brains don’t always process these details. Knowing these challenges can help us prepare for them.

Creating an emergency fund or an ADHD tax fund can mitigate some of these inevitable costs. It’s frustrating, but understanding our brain's unique wiring is crucial.

Finding a Path Out of Debt

Budgeting bored me to tears. I hate admin and anything that forces my brain to work harder than necessary. So, I reinvented my approach to money management, making it fun. I turned paying off debt into a game, challenging myself to beat the system. If I could clear my debt in under five years, I’d outsmart the advice to go bankrupt.

I established my own money rules. Before buying anything, I asked myself if it added value to my life or happiness beyond 10 minutes. What if I received cash instead? I implemented a 24-hour rule for items in my cart, then re-evaluated them after another 24 hours, reducing impulsive purchases.

Accountability became key for ADHD money management. Discussing my financial habits publicly helped curb my spending. I identified triggers: boredom, sadness, and even happiness. Understanding these emotions helped me control my spending better.

Becoming 'Mad About Money'

Money is a common struggle for those with ADHD, whether it’s managing it, impulse spending, or the ADHD tax. Recognising this, I created the Mad About Money app. It’s not a typical budgeting app; it’s a community for neurodivergent individuals to support each other with money and more.

Mad About Money isn’t about social pressures or growing an audience. It’s a judgment-free space focused on money, with resources and support specifically for neurodivergent brains. It was born from my hyperfocus on creating a better platform without the negativity and distractions of traditional social media.

The app features tips, blogs, videos, and podcasts about money and life. It’s packed with discounts and gift vouchers to help manage budgets. Best of all, it’s free—no ads or hidden costs, just a community where people can be themselves.

Managing money doesn’t have to be dull. Finding a supportive community can transform your financial decisions and journey.

I also share daily insights on TikTok (@madaboutmoneyofficial), discussing ADHD, money, and business, and I’m writing a book, "ADHD, Money, and Me," coming out next year.

Remember, you’re not bad with money; you have ADHD, and that’s a difference. Join me in the Mad About Money app or follow me on TikTok, and let’s navigate this journey together.

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