ADHD Checks and Balances

The swipe-your-card-and-go method of shopping sure is convenient, but it’s not always the best choice for someone with ADHD.
ADHD College Blog | posted by Rebeka Covell
The ADDitude college blogger writes about surviving college and succeeding in school with ADHD

The swipe-your-card-and-go method of shopping sure is convenient, but it’s not always the best choice for someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) like me.

When I’m in the checkout line in a store, I open my wallet and automatically reach for my debit card. It’s just so easy to swipe my card, enter my pin, press accept and go. I don’t have to sort money, or fish around for two pennies to avoid getting a handful of coins back.

The only problem is that the debit card is sometimes too easy. Often, I don’t even look at the total before I hit accept. When my bank statement comes, it doesn’t at all resemble the numbers in my checkbook. I forget that if I use my debit card I still have to write my purchases to keep my checkbook balanced. Usually, there’s a line behind me, and I don’t want to keep everyone waiting, so I just grab my receipt and go, promising myself that I’ll write it in when I get home.

Sometimes, I actually do remember to write my purchases in my checkbook. The only problem is that I forget how much I spent, and I can’t find the receipt. At the end of the month, my checkbook has a lot of store names listed, waiting for purchase amounts to be copied in from my bank statement. It’s kind of pointless to even keep a checkbook when you can’t confirm your bank statements every month. But no matter how hard I try I have at least a few empty spaces.

At other times, I think I’m subconsciously trying to not write my purchases down, because that would force me to see how much I spent on junk, and the low numbers of my balance would freak me out. I haven’t had to use overdraft yet, nor do I intend to anytime soon.

Maybe keeping a balanced checkbook would make me think twice before dumping 30 things from the $1 section onto the conveyer belt and swiping my card. From now on, I’m going to try really, really hard to write down everything I buy before I leave the store, no matter how many people are annoyed behind me in line.

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