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I have a problem with impulse spending and I tend to be a compulsive overspender. I don't have any credit cards because I can max them in seconds. With the computer age it has gotten harder than ever to not spend money because the Internet makes it so easy to buy things. My husband has to lock up the checks and his wallet because I will try to take them. This addicted behavior is very hard to deal with sometimes. There are not many self-help groups on this addicted behavior. One of my former counselors, who was a substance abuse counselors, told me that compulsive overspending behavior is like being addictived to drugs and the hard thing about having ADHD is that when the addictive behavior is tiggered the goal is to try to think of something else, but when you are ADHD trying to get your mind to think of something else can be very hard because your brain gets stuck on the addictive behavior. This addictive behavior is very hard to deal with and has effected my relationship with my husband and my young daughter. Does anyone suffer from this problem?

Tags: ADHD, Overspending, and

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Hi Christine,

I think I can completely sympathize what you are talking about. I tend to buy things I really don't need and probably can't afford but in the moment it feels good. Like I HAVE something. I had gotten a couple of credit cards lately to "build my credit and just in case of emergency"...but it has been a challenge to not buy this that or the other. "Oh it's only $30" or "That would look so good in the ___ room" etc. Yep, you guessed it...maxed...and with them being for those with not so good credit, the interest rates are higher. Add to the mix of being totally disorganized and not knowing exactly what is due when etc. I recently discovered that my laptop with Vista has "Microsoft Works" with a built in programs that are pared down versions of Excel, Word and such. PLUS there are budgets sheets you can fill in. Anyway, I recently sat down and made up a sheet listing the higher interest rate cards first etc. Trying to become more "fiscally respobsible". So to bring this back to the original question....I do this type of thing because in addition to suffering from ADD I am also being treated for depression.

So take heart in the fact you are not alone....

Same here. though I have gotten 100% better about making sure all the bills are paid before I wipe out the bank account. LOL all kidding aside. Have you thought about setting aside fun money. cash in your pocket book that is just for blowing on things you don't need.

My mother in law is the same way. or rather worse but I think she's bi polar. She can spend days shopping non stop and god help you if you refuse anything she buys for you. We always talk about the Indiana trip. Basically they came up with us to Indiana when we signed on our house up there. Figured we'd make it a family trip. We then spent three days shopping 10 hours a day. I am not kidding at all. For things she felt we "needed" for the house. Even though we had a house full of things back in cali. And what did we learn from all of this. Always rent our own car when we go on trips with his parents. =).

But really wanting to control it is the first step. My mother in law doesn't think she has a problem at all. While the rest of us think she's nuts. I think finding a budget software or book that you think you can handle is the first step. and going with cash when you go to the store would help as well. One of the things I do is I have a set amount for food. So then if I don't use all that money on food i'll go and use that money towards me money. But only if I don't need it all to get food.
Thanks so much for responding to this discussion. I have been working on controling my overspending problem, but there are moments when I can back side. I can be really good for a couple of months then I will get this urge to "buy" something ( I love to read and play computer games which is what I spend money that I don't have on) My husband handles paying the bills and because I have not concept of how much things cost I tend to think in "It only $30.00, dear." My daughter has taken it upon herself to hide his wallet so that I will not take the credit cards. If she see me with a check she will ask if dad gave it to me or did I take it without his knowing. Pretty awefull huh. I was this way a child and teenage, but it seems to have gotten worse in my adulthood. I really work on controlling it everyday and the computer is no help.
Thanks for reminding me that I am not alone. Thanks
ah well its good you have your family there to help ya. I'm bad with the little things too. which is where i get into trouble. That's why I've made sure to do all the bills first. that way I know its all taken care of. We've been living garage sale chic for so long, hubby and I decided to refurnish the whole house. That alone has really helped me save all the money I can. Now that i have the couch and coffee table I want, all I have to do is stair at my ugly entertainment center and know if I spend money I can't get the new one.
Is ther anything you ladies have shared that I don't experience as well? I'm really amazed. I had to cut up a bunch of cards --after getting those preapproved cards in the mail I treated them as a gift. And promptly maxed them all to the hilt and over. I am an impulse spender and like an alcoholic who can't stop after one drink I can't stop at one purchase. I find clothes that compliment the original purchase and I just HAVE to buy that too. ANd then it's like what the hell just one more time and I buy and buy and buy. There is one trick that if I use it works pretty well. I walk out of the store and tell myself if I still want it tomorrow then I will come back and get it. Usually the strong "gotta have its" subside and I don't buy what I thought I couldn't live without. The other style of shopping is when there's too much stuff and I can't decide so I just buy everything I think I need, deserve and can't live without. Supermarkets overwhelm me and forget sticking to a list. (I lose them anyway). The stimulation and visual cues get me revved up. And I get indecisive which I hate. So I think I am being proactive and just start throwing stuff in the cart rationalizing all the way. ANd I have to say this about shopping online. I don't feel like I'm spending because no money changes hands and by the time the packages arrive I have totally detached their meaning as something I paid for. Instead I feel like I got a present. In college I drank excessively and was most likely self medicating. It got me motivated to do my writing assignments and helped my creativity.I felt like it gave me patience and focus and I am sure I'd be a full blown drunk today but I managed to quit when I entered the work world. I 've been to 12 Step meetings and I know Debtors Anonymous exists. I don't know how well it would work for an ADHDer mainly because debt is collateral damage of our illness. Same with something like "Emotions Anonymous or Neurotics anonymous. (you name it they have meetings). I don't see ADHD as an addiction but another disorder (brain chemistry, neurological, etc).If I like something I do it to excess and it isn't the substance that ever got me into trouble but the motor inside me that is always looking for an outlet. I am reconsidering medication now but definetly want good counseling to help me navigate life on it. One without the other was a mess when I did it without knowing better.IOne more thing and I'll stop. I have a great love of books and Amazon,.com has been my credit score's destruction. I've found that by going to a library I can go crazy and take out as many books as I can carry without spending a cent. I resisted it at first but now I really love doing it. I feel like I'm getting away with something! I'm sure others have little tricks like this one. I'd love to hear them along with any help on shopping. Boy I love this site already and am all hyper and probably not making any sense. Bear with me please, finding this site and identifying so much is such a gift. I feel almost hopeful and that's a strong statement coming from ms gloom and doom.
Before I started on my meds, I would also shop. I sometimes would buy what I wanted rather than pay my bills. My parents would bail me out time and time again and that brought on more guilt. The most important things like my car payment, I would have auto-debited from a savings account I had set up at a seperate bank. I set up the deposit to my account directly from my paycheck a week ahead so that I would have a payment and a half saved in the bank at the time the payment was taken out of the account. I locked out the password for the online banking and have not called to have it reset. I also filed the ATM card with the statements in my file cabinet where I will not see it, that way I will not be tempted to touch the money for my car payment. I guess if it never reaches my hands, I will not be tempted to spend it.
Maybe you can set up something similar for credit cards or other payments.

I hope that helps.
My My It is so nice to know that I am not alone with this addiction to compulsive spending. I can really relate to what Babette had to write. I love books and I even tell our local library what to books I want them to buy for me. My husband laughs at me and tells me that if he bought the library for me I would still need more books. I hate supermarkets because they are an impulse trap for ADHDer's. When my husband and I first got married and when food shopping I would just pile junk food in the cart. He would say to me things like "How much is that item?" or "Please take those 4 packages of cookies out of the cart". When I would refuse to take them out he would tell me that if I didn't do it he was going to just walk out of the store. A couple of times he did walk out of the store and we ended up buying nothing which made me realize that I could not call my husband's buff and get away with it. It sounds like food shopping with a young child huh? Now he does ALL the food shopping while I stay home. We even buy from Schwan's and he does the order online so that I will not add to the order or we will have a $200.00 order or more. Online shopping is a dream and hell. I love it because it is so easy to do. Once the credit card number is in the computer you can just click away and buy so many books or things without even realizing the you have spent so much money. Just recently my husband apply for a credit card in my name and I found the number on the paper that it came in. He didn't know that I had found the number and within FOUR days I max the card without even realizing it. The limit on the card was $300.00 and because of the Internet and my spending addiction I max the card in four days.

We have discovered those gift credit card that you can buy and those have helped, but the draw back to them is that you have to have the money to buy them and even with the greendot credit cards you have cash to buy the money packs. It is such a bad cycle.

The 12-steps programs and debters programs are really great, but for some reason they don't really help ADHDer's like us with this addiction to spending. When I am in a store and the clerk tell's me that my total is $200.00 and I know that I should not buy that much I just can't put anything back, I HAVE to have the books or whatever it is whatever the cost. Of couse when I get home and realized that I have to tell my husband what I did or deny my daughter christmas gifts because of my overspending addiction then I feel like am the worse mother and wife on the planet. I ever take a 160mg of ritalin, clonidine and a mood stabity medication and they don't seem to help me control my compulsive spending. My husband is so very brave to stay married to me, because I have told many people that if I was him I would have left me along time ago. Sari Solden talks about this subject on her website "ADD Journeys" and explain the different between impulsive spending and compulsive spending. It is very intererting. I wish that there was more help with this addiction because it is so hard to deal with or understand. Thanks so much for sharing your stories with me and with others because it is so nice to know that we are not alone it this addiction that we dislike so much. Christine.

The hardest part of all is the to get help with this is that we have to spend money for it. What irony twist huh? There are some really good books I have discoved on the this problem if any one wants to read more about it please let me know and Babette, please be careful about library overdue fines. They have got me into so much trouble that I had to stop going to the library for a while. Take care everyone. Love you all. We are all one of a kind Are we not. Differently-Able I say.
YES!! i can completely relate. sadly, i mainly overspend on food. i have no restraint whatsoever. i don't know how to set limits.
Oh, I so much want to comment on this subject, but I have been on the computer too long for to day. But, I will say I can so relate, esp. when it comes to books. My husband is a truck driver and is only home every 10 days or so. I try to keep a shopping list, so when he comes home we can go grocery shopping. He does better sticking to the list. If he doesn't have a list he can be as bad as I am. I wish I could get a personal grocery shopper and I could stay out of the store completely. In our small town when Walmart built a store some of the smaller grocery stores closed. And, I really hate going into Walmart because is so much more to shop for and get distracted by. Ok, I got to go, so i can eat. I look forward to hearing more.

Jo Ellen
Hi ya
I am 24 and have just been diagnosed with adult adhd and i also over spend! I never have any money and as i dont have many friends when some1 asks me if i'd like to do something i usually have to say no because i have no money - and i've often nothing to show for it. so that results in people not asking me to do things so i feel lonely and go and spend more money!!
My mum has taken my bank card off me so i cant use my account and i have given her permition to be able to have access to my account and deal with the bank staff. I am over my over draft of £920 and occuring silly charges, so my mum is going to take a weekly allowence out of my account for me to have towards petrol, food, social funds etc! I have just started a new job so will start getting a wage again soon :)
I buy stuff ALL the time that I don't need. Later on, I wonder why I bought it. And the answer? Every single time... 'But I NEEDED it then!' It is hard. Really hard. Right now, I am trying to only take a maximum of $10 with me when I am going somewhere, or no money at all. Try that maybe? But for going grocery shopping and stuff, can you try one of the delivery services? You can order only what you need, and that way, it will be delivered and you won't have to go to the store and be tempted to buy all the other stuff. Good luck!!!

Shopping isn't my "drug of choice", I'm a t.v. junkie it's the only thing that lets me stop over-thinking for a while and concentrate on one thing, which for me is a necessary escape. Like you were saying ADD minds are powerful and stubborn. I have trouble controlling my thoughts so for the time being, until I find a better solution I spent whole days watching shows and afterward feel horribly guilty and frantic because absolutely NOTHING productive has been done the whole day. I know you were talking about spending and not t.v. but I wanted to point out that many seemingly innocuous things can become addictive ( even embracing) habits. Sometimes I overspend also but I try to counter that by shopping at places with solid return policies- I can take it home, think rationally about wether I really need everything (or anything) I just bought and then get rid rid of what I don't need to hold onto once the "shopping rush" is out of my system. I'm not sure if this is the best way to address an addiction but it might help you not go bankrupt while your dealing with the problem.

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