Many people with AD/HD have trouble managing their finances. They usually don’t have an effective system for paying bills and acquire an overwhelming amount of debt, due to impulsive spending. Managing finances requires attention to detail, record keeping, timeliness, and organizational skills; all things that are challenging to people with AD/HD. Here is a simple, yet effective way to manage your money and pay your bills on time:
1. Collect: You need to know what’s coming in and what’s going out in order to effectively manage your money. Collect one month’s worth of pay stubs and bills in one container.
2. Enter: Creating a visual representation of when your money comes in and goes out will give you a clearer picture of your financial situation and make it easier to develop a payment schedule. Print out a blank calendar or use an online calendar such as Yahoo Calendar or Google Calendar. Enter all payment amounts for each bill on its due date. Then enter the amount of your paycheck on the dates you get paid. This is your bill payment calendar for the month.
3. Analyze: Use your bill payment calendar to analyze when you have the money to pay your bills. If you get paid twice a month, then those days should be your bill payment days. Divide your bills into those that will be paid with the first check of the month and those that will be paid with the second check of the month. Schedule a reminder on your paydays to pay your bills and use your calendar to check off payments.
4. Setup: The easiest way to pay bills nowadays is online. Most banks offer free bill payment and even if your bank charges a fee; it may be worth it to avoid late fees. Sign up for online access to your bank if you don’t already have it and setup your bill payment service. Even if your bill can’t be paid electronically, your bank will mail out a paper check. Once you do the initial setup all you have to do is enter who, how much, and when you want your payment scheduled (just make sure to schedule your payments far enough in advance for the bill to be paid on time).
5. Budget: Now that you know how much money is coming in and what your fixed expenses are, you should start tracking your unfixed expenses. For the next month, try to collect all of the receipts where you paid cash. At the end of the month take your cash receipts and your bank statements and categorize your expenses. Where are you spending too much money? Where can you cut back? Now that you know how much you have, where it’s going and what needs to be paid when; you have control over your finances and can determine how much money you can actually afford to spend without breaking the bank. *For those who find money management too overwhelming, there is help available. Daily Money Managers do everything from paying your bills for you to balancing your checkbook and organizing your records. For more information, check out The American Association of Daily Money Managers.