Day 31: ADHD and Controlling Impulse Spending

Yesterday’s successes mostly had to do with financial goals. My Amazon Prime ordering habits have been out of control for years. The efforts I’ve made recently to unf*ck my habitat drove that point home. The clutter in my house was unbelievable.

My issue, as is the case with many of us with ADHD, is impulse control. When I think of buying something it feels as though the thing, whatever it may be, is imperative to own. Clearly, owning this one more gadget will resolve a point of irritation that’s been bothering me for years, and I’ll so appreciate having it that I should order it right away.

Thank you, mint.com, for this totally embarrassing trend analysis.

This past month, I made an effort to change that mindset. When the purchasing urge struck, I opened the Amazon app on my phone and found the item.

I didn’t buy it, though. I added it to my wish list to review later.

My goal was to wait until the end of the month and decide then what items to purchase, instead of ordering things piecemeal throughout the month. I wanted the opportunity to prioritize purchases rather than acting on impulse.

There were multiple reasons for this:

  • Avoid cluttering my home with unnecessary possessions
  • Limit my carbon footprint
  • Reduce the number of boxes I have to deal with

Most importantly, however, I wanted to ensure I only purchased what I could afford. I consistently surpass my allotted amount for miscellaneous expenses each month, and I hoped changing my Amazon Prime ordering habits would help me get this under control.

A few months ago, I opened a separate checking account for “play money,” which I transfer a set amount into each month. My primary checking account is what I use for all my super responsible adult-like expenses. Mortgage, groceries, utilities, savings, and so forth are pulled from this account. The “play money” account is for things like social activities, makeup, clothing, etc.

I’ve found keeping those funds separate makes it much easier to track my miscellaneous expenses and keep myself in check.

Yesterday was the last day of the month, and I still had $100 of “play money” left. I am excited I came in below budget this month, perhaps for the first time ever. And I’m excited about how I decided to spend that extra $100:

  • A label maker. This will, among other things, help me organize my spice cabinet. This was a suggestion from my step-mom and I’m looking forward to implementing it.
  • A paper-shredder. This will give me peace of mind when I recycle mail. Let’s face it, 90% of mail is unwanted, but a large portion of it contains personal identifiers. I’ll feel so much better shredding this stuff rather than just ripping it up.
  • Last but not least, I bought some dryer balls. They’re supposed to decrease the length of a dryer cycle, reduce the need for fabric softener, and keep laundry items from bunching together. I’m curious to give them a try.

Three items. That was all I decided was worth purchasing, after a month of adding items to my wish list. I’ll enjoy each thing so much more knowing I waited for it and decided it was a high priority want, and that it was within my budget.

This feels good. This feels like a success.

I’ll definitely use this strategy again this coming month.

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