View Full Version : How I Manage My Finances with AD(H)D


C8H10N4O2
11-11-11, 01:57 PM
I recently had a discussion with another forum member about how I manged finances. He thought what I shared might be useful to other AD(H)D'ers might benefit, so I'm going to copy and paste the message I sent to him, and try to adapt it to a thread format.




For finances... here is what I do...some of these things might be helpful for some of you reading this, but some of them might not be helpful at all. This is just what has been working for me, so I'm in no way trying to say anything beyond "here are some things that I do in order to manage finances that you may or may not find helpful."




I have a free account setup with mint.com. This site monitors all my online accounts. Almost every account I have, I've made available online. So with mint, I can do a quick scan and see all my balances as they *currently* stand, with just a click. This helps me do really quick overviews just to make sure nothing is really out of wack. Mint also sends bill reminder notices and other things like that, all customizable to what you want, and it's been a little helpful.

But, mint has been a terrible budgeting thing for me. It just has proven to be much more trouble than it's worth because it miscategorizes stuff way too frequently. So, I started trying out a different budgeting program.


YNAB 3 has been a huge help for me. Granted, it's also been a PITA, but it's overall a really good thing. The cool thing about it is the "philosophy" that's built into the program. Your goal in the beginning of using the program is to eliminate debt, and build up a "YNAB buffer". They attempt to get you to build up an entire month's worth of living expenses that is available in your buffer. That way, as you receive income for your current month, you are really living on the budget you created prior to the month with the amount you had in your buffer.

It's also part of the program that you "assign every dollar a job". This aspect has been the *most* helpful for me, and the most annoying for me too. What's cool is that when you build your budget for the month, you go through and actually assign every dollar (trying to leave some excess to build a buffer just when you are starting out) a spot in your budget. Because of this, everytime I go make a purchase, I am much more conscious of every money decision I make. I know that when I get back to my apartment, I have to take that money away from what I've budgeted for that category.

Another cool thing is you can customize all the categories, so you can be as detailed as you want, or as simple as you want. This also helps me plan for big expenses that come around annually or bi-annually (car insurance, renters insurance, license registration etc.). So every month, I try to assign some money into the categories where I know I'll have a large expense down the road, so instead of being like "oh crap! I have to pay for 6 month's worth of insurance in two weeks...how am I going to come up with $XXX.XX?!?!" I simply assign dollars every month to that category, and the money just stays in my checking/savings account.

This helps me smooth out my finances, because on my good months (3 paychecks) I don't go out and just blow the extra paycheck.

But anyway, it sounds like I'm trying to sell you the software...haha, but I guess my point is, I think the philosophy has really helped me. I'm much more aware of my money, and I make better decisions with it because I have visual representations of where my money goes just a few clicks away. It's like it has kind of helped me align my values with how I spend my money.

Plus, it takes the tedious math aspect out of things, because it shows you how much you've spent for each account, how much your "working balance" is, how much outstanding expenses you have, and all of that. BUT, the downside is it does require a lot of manual input.


Which brings me to another thing I do. This definitely won't work for everyone because of the temptation it brings, but I buy almost everything on plastic. I lost receipts, misplace cash, forget what I even should have in cash etc... so by only having $20 or so on me for cash, I don't make critical errors that can't just be looked up and resolved. All my expenses show up on a statement somewhere for the most part. That's also helped me resolve some confusion on where my money had gone, or why I had a surplus in my balance back in the days when I tried to track things with spread sheets.

I can go into a little more detail about anything you want to know if you have any questions about anything I've said, but I think that should give you a reasonable overview of how I manage my finances.

In summary:

Mint.com reminds me of bills as well as gives me a quick overview of where my accounts currently stand.

YNAB helps me plan out my finances and acts like an accountability partner type of thing.

Lastly, anytime I run into some confusion, the fact that I have so little without a paper trail helps me resolve the issues relatively easily.

Chelsea Dagger
11-11-11, 02:37 PM
Posting for updates since I'm at work. Briefly: YNAB saved my life. Great topic!

emploding
11-11-11, 04:34 PM
I'm going to look into YNAB, I've never heard of it, so thank you. Though it's probably yet another thing I go *yay that's so helpful!* about and use for 2 days.

I'm the opposite with cash vs plastic. I find I spend WAY too much if I only use plastic because it's so easy to lose track of what is left in there. I take out cash for the week (when I get paid) and that's what I can spend. Any left over and I take out less next week. I lose receipts but I've become pretty good at keeping track of where my wallet is and I've not lost cash for a long time now.

As you said, what works for some doesn't work for others, as long as you find something that works for you!

anonymouslyadd
11-11-11, 10:40 PM
Thank you for posting Chem guy. I'm excited about putting these into practice.

Crazygirl79
11-12-11, 02:15 AM
Find a bank who offers accounts that you cannot take money out of until you reach your goal amount...make sure it's high interest so it can grow.

Thats what I'm gonna do...

Selena

anonymouslyadd
11-26-11, 12:29 AM
I found this video on youtube from a rep/owner of mint.com. I think there are some good tips.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=R0TznyjIZxA

anonymouslyadd
11-26-11, 02:06 AM
Chem guy, have you had a hard time adding your student loans to mint.com? Apparently, they have some bug going on, preventing me from being able to add them to my account.

I thought mint.com's website was extremely user friendly.:) It made my account set up fun.

sarahsweets
11-26-11, 08:45 AM
Chem guy will you manage my finances? ;)

anonymouslyadd
12-04-11, 01:14 PM
I'm giving this a bump, because I think mint.com is pretty awesome. They even have this thing on there where you can create a goal (ie payoff a credit card). The external stuff is awesome for me and makes the dread and worry of thinking about my finances somewhat enjoyable.:)

emploding
12-04-11, 05:43 PM
I'm giving this a bump, because I think mint.com is pretty awesome.

I can't find a FAQ or anything on the site, is it just for US people or is it compatible with international stuff?

ginniebean
12-04-11, 05:59 PM
i don't go thru any company other rhan my bank to manage my finances. everyrhing os auromated for me. my cheques are auto deposited, my bills are automatically paid and my investments are automatically deducted.


it wprks for me.

anonymouslyadd
12-04-11, 08:34 PM
I can't find a FAQ or anything on the site, is it just for US people or is it compatible with international stuff?

I saw something for Canadian mint. Other than that, I'm not sure.

C8H10N4O2
12-05-11, 09:15 AM
Chem guy, have you had a hard time adding your student loans to mint.com? Apparently, they have some bug going on, preventing me from being able to add them to my account.

I thought mint.com's website was extremely user friendly.:) It made my account set up fun.

Yeah, I actually could never get my student loan to add to it. But since it doesn't accrue interest and I don't have to start paying it off until I'm out of school, I just set up a "savings goal" for it.

C8H10N4O2
12-05-11, 09:16 AM
Chem guy will you manage my finances? ;)

Haha. Managing my own is enough worry! ;)

anonymouslyadd
12-06-11, 02:36 PM
Yeah, I actually could never get my student loan to add to it. But since it doesn't accrue interest and I don't have to start paying it off until I'm out of school, I just set up a "savings goal" for it.

They fixed it. Mine are on there now.:)

tortilaman
01-26-12, 01:21 PM
I've been using mint.com, and had the same experience, it's really nice for monitoring, but awful for budgeting. I was somewhat hesitant to pay for YNAB, but after hearing your success with it, I think I'll go for it.