Archived ADDvice Newsletters
Welcome to ADDvice for ADD-Friendly Living
Each month, ADDvice will provide tips, tools, and strategies
to help you live well despite your ADD. This month, we will
continue to focus on finances. Feel free to contact us at
with other issues you would like to see discussed in future
Overcoming Compulsive Shopping and Spending
People with ADD often have problems with finances because
they continuously spend more than they should. Shopping may
be used as a way to deal with depression, anxiety or to create
some excitement or stimulation in your life. However, like
other addictions, the "high" rarely lasts long and
generally makes you feel worse as your finances deteriorate
and debt mounts. After shopping, you feel guilty and ashamed
that once again you have lost control.
Individuals with ADD are particularly vulnerable to compulsive
shopping because their impulsivity makes it hard for them
to think through the purchase -- often buying items that they
do not need. I remember one man with ADD whose living room
was filled with bags of mulch and a table saw and he lived
in an apartment!
Do you find that you shop to feel better? Do you go shopping
with the intention of buying one or two items and return with
bags full of purchases? Do you have bad credit or serious
financial problems because of your spending habits? Do you
need to take an extra job just to pay the bills that result
from your spending?
If you answered "yes" to these questions, try these
ADD- Friendly ways to deal with your compulsive shopping or
- Make a list and buy only what is on the list.
- Don't shop alone. Take along as family member or friend
who can help curb your spending.
- Try window shopping when the stores are closed or go shopping
without your credit cards and wallet until you decide what
you want and need.
- Use only one credit card and cancel and destroy all others
so that you can't run up a balance on each.
- Pay with cash and take only a reasonable amount that you
can afford with you when you shop.
- Take a walk or exercise when the urge to shop hits you.
- Don't shop on the internet or use catalogues...only shop
in person and only when you need something. Refrain from
shopping for pleasure.
If you feel out of control, seek professional help. If you
already have poor credit because of past spending patterns,
contact a credit counseling center.
Many people with ADD tend to have multiple addictive behaviors.
To understand more about ending the destructive cycle of ADD
and addictive behaviors, order ADD
and ADDiction: When Too Much Isn't Enough by Wendy Richardson,
Additional tips from Survival
Tips for Women with AD/HD by Terry Matlen, M.S.W. page
140 - 141
Tip#1: Overspending on credit cards - change
My credit cards are way over limit so I had to change
my habits. First, I now force myself to only use cash. To
pay off the cards, I took the one with the highest balance
and paid an extra $25-50 per month on it until it was paid
off. Then I went to the next highest one and did the same.
Only two more left to go! - Karen Kruger Chapel Hill, NC
Tip #2: Consider joining Debtors Anonymous.
Details at www.debtorsanonymous.org
Tip #3 Spending out of control - freeze
I am a shopping addict and have gotten into a lot of
financial hot water because of this. Now I keep my credit
card in the freezer to keep me from doing any impulsive shopping.
- Koto Hayashi, Tokyo, Japan
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