urban-438393_640Most people have experienced making an impulsive purchase in their lifetime –that ‘spur of the moment’ decision to buy something completely unplanned.  However, the number of impulsive purchases increases a lot  when you have ADHD. Impulsivity is a core characteristic of ADHD after all!  That doesn’t mean you can’t limit impulsive spending. Here are 6 tips:

1) Treat your ADHD.

One of the reasons people with ADHD enjoy shopping is because of dopamine. When people make a purchase they get a shot of dopamine. Because your brain has less dopamine than  non-ADDers, that dopamine shot feels extra good. Humans like to do things that make them feel good, so impulse shopping continues. However, when you are treating your ADHD, dopamine levels are increased and self-medicating behaviours, such as shopping, don’t seem so compelling.

2) Know your shopping style

People have different shopping styles. When you are clear what your style is, you can match it with an effective solution to limit your purchases.

a) Big shopping sprees.

If you go on big shopping sprees and shop till you drop,  take a certain amount of cash with you on your trip. Leave all your credit and debit cards at home. This makes it physically impossible for you to over spend.

b) Big ticket items

If your impulsive spending is on big ticket items such as a boat, create two  safety nets. Have a personal rule that before spending $500 or more, you talk it over with a person you trust and you wait seven nights before buying it.

c) Small items

If you spend your money on small items like  books or magazines, it can be hard to change because it’s easy to justify. After all, it’s ‘just $20.’ However, create a personal rule that you only buy what is on a pre-written list (see number 5).

3) Know why you go shopping

Is it because you need something? Or is it because you had a bad day and want a reward or a pick me up? If it’s the latter, don’t go shopping! When you are in this frame of mind you are much more likely to spend more than you intended. This is where the name retail therapy came from. Instead, think of other ways to reward yourself after a bad day.

4) Create a budget

Budgets aren’t a punishment! They empower you and provide you with a framework and structure. Budgets allow you to pre-plan how you spend your money, which means you purchase things that are important to you. Head here to learn how to create an ADHD friendly budget.


5) Make shopping lists

Never go shopping without a list. Plan what you are going to buy while you are at home away from temptation. Then stick to the plan! Don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list. If you notice something nice while you are shopping, don’t buy it. Instead tell yourself that you will come back another day when it’s been added to your list.

6) Keep your receipts

Even with the best intentions, impulsive purchases might happen. If they do, don’t feel bad. You can employ a damage limitation strategy and return the items. What stops many people with ADHD from doing this is they misplace the receipts. From now on keep all your receipts even for items that you had planned to buy. Dedicate a special place in your purse or wallet so you know where they will be in case you need them.

What things do you do to limit impulsive shopping?

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