ADHD Financial Tip: How to Avoid Bounced Checks

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Maintaining a healthy bank balance, when you are living with ADHD, is a challenge. Making sure there is always enough money in your account for checks to clear, requires attention to detail and organization. Both of which are difficult for adults with ADHD. Bounced checks and overdrawn fees can become so expensive that a large part of your income goes to paying fees, rather than important things like your mortgage.


One of the reasons why checks are particularly challenging for people with ADHD, is the gap between when you write the check and when the money leaves your account. Even if the check is deposited the same day you wrote it, the money won't leave your account for 2 or 3 days. However, sometimes a check isn't deposited for weeks or even months after you wrote it. This is where problems can occur. You can completely forget about it and spend the money on something else.

It is possible to change your banking habits, no matter how disorganized you feel now.

Here are 6 tips to avoid checks from bouncing.

1.     Have a budget

Just the word budget can make people with ADHD feel anxious. They fear it would impose too many restraints on their life. Yet, rather than something to be feared, a budget is empowering! At the start of each month, it helps you know what you will be spending your money on. In turn, this means you are confident there is money in your bank account to honor all the checks you write.


2.     Keep a check register

A check register is a running balance of all the money that goes in and out of your account. Because checks can take time to clear, your check register gives a more accurate indication of the money available to you in your checking account.

A check register can be done using paper and pen (when you receive new checks, they usually come with a check register) or electronically, using an app or a spreadsheet.

Both ways work well; the important thing is to pick the method that will be easiest for you to maintain.

Every time you write a check or use your debit card, write it down in your check register. Include the date, the amount and what the payment is for. Update your register at least once a day. Remember to include your monthly bank fees, as well as money you receive from your paycheck or other sources.

This step is the most important step of all. If it takes you a little while to master, that is ok; don't give up. This new habit will save you hundreds of dollars and hours of time to trying to resolve awkward situations.

3.     Have an overdraft

Speak to your bank about having an overdraft. This is a great safety net because if an unexpected check is deposited, you will have the funds for it to clear. There is usually a small banking fee, but much less than the charges for a bounced check. When you get an overdraft, don't get into the habit of using the overdraft as part of your permanent funds.

If you are always overdrawn, there are no safety net funds.

4.     Emergency cushion

If you can't get a overdraft, create an emergency cushion in your checking account. For example: $100 or $500. Then, make it a personal policy to never go below this amount. This emergency cushion acts in the same way as the overdraft, but without the bank fees.

Happy banking!

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