How To Spend Less And Be Happy

ADHD Impulsive Spending

Are you going about the season mindlessly working your to do list?

Many people with and without ADHD find they overspend during the holiday season. Why does that happen?Here are a few of the main spending traps:

1. Impulsive buying for others– for example, thinking to yourself, “Wow! That seems amazing! He (She) would LOVE it! It’s a little more than I was gonna spend but they’re worth it!”

2. Impulsive buying for yourself – Every year I find something I think someone else would love and ME TOO! One for them, one for ME! Sneaky, sneaky trap!

3. Mindless Spending. This happens when we struggle with Executive function issues such as working memory, long-term memory, and the ability to be aware of our behavior.

For example – buying items a second time because you forgot you already had them or losing track of how much you are actually spending – over time, it all becomes a blur.

4. A kind of “fantasy thinking” that occurs when you make purchases with credit cards – it just doesn’t seem as though you are actually spending money, it’s somehow not real.

5. Using spending to fulfill an unmet need unrelated to acquiring new things. Shopping is not at its best when it is a form of entertainment, or a way to change the difficulties of the past, or a way to make yourself feel better on a “bad” day. This is where paying attention to the euphoric high of getting something new, even if for someone else is critical. The high wears off and the cycle continues.

It is important to understand that impulsive shopping is an addictive behavior. It’s generally used to avoid facing what is really going on in our lives. In order to avoid a variety of life tasks, or to avoid having to experience our true feelings, we create destructive and self-sabotaging distractions for ourselves.

Your first reaction is to resolve not to spend any more money this year. You shame yourself into it by telling yourself that you “should” quit spending; ultimately making yourself feel like you’re being punished and deprived.

What to do instead?

Shed the “shoulds” and “shame” and set your intentions.

We all want the quick fix. I’ve got a long list of tips and tricks to share with you on this but…….they aren’t going to work until you set your intentions.

My dictionary defines intention as “the determination to act in a certain way”.

This has nothing to do with seeing yourself as a problem that needs to be fixed. Instead, intentions are about becoming aware of different ways that you would prefer to be in your life.

In setting an intention, you resolve that you’re already “enough,” so you move forward without having an attachment to the outcome- it’s more about the journey.

You still want to stop spending money mindlessly, but it isn’t about more money in your bank account. It involves caring enough about yourself to use your hard earned resources wisely. Naturally the spending decreases, but it’s not because you need to change who you are.

Intentions invite us to do our personal work on becoming more of a human-being, and less of a human-doing or a human-thinking.

See, intentions are easy because they don’t tie us to an outcome.

Here are some examples of intentions:

  • I intend to honor myself and the energy and time I dedicate to make money.
  • I intend to be mindful of the example I set for my kids.
  • I intend to be present in moments of choice.
  • I intend to live purposefully.

The catch is that you can’t just set your intentions and run off; you need to live them every day.

Intentions simply ask that we go through our day, hour-by-hour, being as mindful, conscious, aware and awake as we are able to be in that moment.

What is your intention?

2 Comments on “How To Spend Less And Be Happy

  1. Nothing quite helps me personally like an overarching savings goal. Once I got that in mind, I was always weighing some potential impulse buying against having to work that much harder for that much longer.

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