Do “Back to School” expenses catch you off guard every year? Do you depend on your neurotypical spouse to keep track of those sorts of things? If planning ahead for “Back to School” shopping is difficult for you, you’re not alone.
Planning for “back to school” expenses can both hard and confusing. Maybe your kids switched schools this year. Maybe this is your first experience with it, or maybe this is the first year you have a high schooler. Read on for some possible reasons why you’re struggling, and what you can do to overcome those money management challenges.
Three Reasons Adults with ADHD Struggle with “Back to School”
Struggling with “back to school” expenses doesn’t have to be an every year occurrence. Identifying specific reasons why you struggle with back to school shopping is the first step. Once you understand why you struggle, together we can help you figure out how to overcome those challenges. Let’s break it down.
1. Time Blindness
People with ADHD struggle to notice the passage of time because we tend to live in the moment. We want to enjoy life “right now”, and fail to think about events that are coming up a month, or even just a week from now. This means, by the time you make it to the store to shop for pencils, your only option for your fifth grade son might be pencils he’d rather not be seen using. Oops!
2. Poor Organization
People with ADHD tend to struggle with keeping track of details. This might look like losing the school supply list, or maybe forgetting due dates for private school tuition. Keeping track of receipts and comparing prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal may be overwhelming.
3. Impulsivity & Distraction
People with ADHD often struggle with impulsive purchases, and may have trouble focusing on tasks. While shopping, we might be easily distracted by other products, leading us to forget things on the list, or even purchasing things that are not on the list. Impulsivity may cause us to overspend, or buy unnecessary items, both of which can be financially stressful.
Simple “Back to School” Shopping Tips to Reduce ADHD Stress
Now that we’ve identified some reasons why ADHD can make “Back to School” shopping stressful, let’s work through some simple solutions to reduce that stress.
1) Set Realistic Expectations
Yep, that’s right! Setting realistic expectations will help to overcome those impulse shopping tendencies, but it also helps you to have a realistic expectation of what you might spend. Our ADHD Money Coach Stephanie says,”Log into your bank account and download your 2022 statements. Depending on when your kids start school, that might mean you need July 2022, or August 2022. You may also find what you need in your online account for a certain store with a bulls-eye logo. Knowing what you spent last year will help you plan your budget for this year’s shopping.”
2) Set Reminders on Your Phone
Use your smartphone to set reminders for important dates: shopping, registration, tuition payments, and sports physicals. This will help you stay on track and avoid last-minute rushes. Break down the shopping process into smaller tasks and allocate specific time slots for each task. For example, dedicate one day to buy school supplies and another day for clothing shopping. By doing so, you can manage your time more effectively and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.
3) Create a Detailed Shopping List
Make a comprehensive list of all the necessary items your child needs for the upcoming school year. Categorize the list into different sections, such as school supplies, clothing, and accessories. Having a clear and organized list will help you stay focused and reduce the chances of forgetting essential items. Remember to add the items your child will need for activities. Budget for piano books, indoor gym shoes, and store-bought goodies for classroom parties.
An Adult With ADHD Who Struggles With “Back to School” Shopping May Need a Money Coach
If you find yourself struggling to make a financial plan for “Back to School” shopping, you may benefit from working with a money coach who is familiar with ADHD & budgeting challenges. A Money Coach can help you make a plan for your shopping trip, devise a plan to pay off your “Back to School” credit card bill from last year, or help you plan ahead for next year, despite your ADHD. Once you have a money management plan in place to prepare for “Back to School” expenses, you’ll avoid the stress of the season, and be able to finish your shopping with ease. 👏🏽
Speaking of that, I think that every ADHD adult should book a complimentary call with Money Coach Stephanie Berman – she is changing lives!