ADHD tax and how you can stop paying it!
"How do we go about stopping paying the ADHD tax?
Because unlike actual taxes, ADHD tax doesn't fund schools.
ADHD tax also doesn't ensure the fire department has equipment to save your house if it burns down, it literally just throws money out the window.
And who wants to do that?!" - Katie McManus, Brave Business Coaching
So I apologize in advance if this episode is a little triggering for some of our 'Weeniecast' listeners, but I want to talk about the ADHD tax.
The ADHD tax is all the ways in which which we as people with ADHD spend unnecessary amounts of money, energy, and time because we just don't do things the way that neurotypical people do.
Watch a promo video for the episode about ADHD tax
Here's a link to follow the Speech Professor (featured in the above promo and in the episode) on TikTok
The different ways we can end up paying this ADHD tax
There are lots of different ways we can end up paying this ADHD tax.
And not all of them are financial.
For sure, we do end up screwing ourselves and our future financial plans by not controlling our ADHD tax payments.
But sometimes this issue can take shape around our homes and in our everyday lives.
In this episode, I'll be talking you through all the ways you're paying this ADHD tax and how you can curb it before it becomes dangerous.
This episode covers:
- What ADHD tax actually is
- Hidden ways you're being forced to pay it
- My own issues with paying the ADHD tax
- Ways to stop paying the ADHD tax
You know what else you might find useful? My money map for coaches. You can download it here!
By the way, if after listening you feel like you need a little more help with stopping paying your ADHD tax, you can get some face time with me by clicking here.
- A call with me each month
- Access to a group of like-minded ADHD entrepreneurs you can bounce ideas off
- 10% off all my services (now and in the future) from Brave Business Coaching
Who will get the most out of this episode about ADHD tax?
If you're reading this, and you're somebody who gets constantly frustrated about having to deal with paying fines, throwing out wasted food, or realising you've just not stayed on top of things practically and financially, this episode's for you!
I'll be helping you with some practical ideas for how you can stop paying your ADHD tax as soon as possible.
How you, the ADHD entrepreneur, can take action against ADHD tax today!
As you're reading this, and about to click play, I urge you to do a few things.
- Have an open mind about being kind to yourself particularly if you're sick of wasting food and money!
- Grab a pen and pad or a digital note taking device. Alternatively, print out the transcript linked above. There are some decent gold nuggets in here that will help you solve this issue.
- Get ready to potentially save thousands in wasted cash this year.
Listen to (and follow!) the 'weeniecast' via Apple Podcasts
About Katie McManus
Katie McManus was trained in Executive Business Coaching and Leadership Development at the Co-Active Training Institute in San Rafael, California.
She's a CPCC (Certified Professional Co-Active Coach) and an ACC (Associate Certified Coach) with the International Coaching Federation.
You've heard of income taxes, property taxes, and sales tax, but did you know that you're also paying an extra ADHD tax?
I'm going to tell you how you can stop paying it in this episode.
So I apologize in advance if this topic is a little triggering for you, but I want to talk about the ADHD tax today. The ADHD tax is all the ways in which which we as people with ADHD spend unnecessary amounts of money, energy, and time because we just don't do things the way that neurotypical people do.
I'm going to point to something that is probably happening in your own kitchen (DUN DUN DUNNNN!) in your refrigerator. I want you to think about how many vegetables you have that are currently going bad because you've forgotten that you bought them and they are wasting away and rotting away and having a little nuclear reaction in the bottom drawers of the refrigerator. And I apologize for calling this out. I know no one wants to think about that. I know this is going to be like a weekend thing that you're going to deal with like seven weeks from now. But this is a prime example of the ADHD tax.
We cannot buy vegetables, perishables or anything that goes into our refrigerator and put it away in a drawer because we will never see it again. It takes living with a neurotypical in our homes who keeps track of that stuff and make sure that we use it before it goes bad.
Now, if you are a true ADHD person, I guarantee that you enjoy all the memes that say, oh, yeah, I love buying lettuce. I love knowing that in a couple of weeks I'll be throwing it out and it'll smell like garbage.
The ADHD tax attacks us in a lot of different ways.
So vegetables in your refrigerator going bad are one…
Buying duplicates of things. I don't know about you all, but I tend to get super obsessive about a certain type of food. And then I'll go to the grocery store and I will forget that I already have, like, three jars of that nut spread at home, or I have four boxes of my favorite kind of cereal already. I just assume, oh, well, I'm out because it was in the cabinet and I didn't see it.
During the pandemic. It was really funny. I was home with my family on Cape Cod, and my dad, whenever I'd go grocery shopping, he'd, like, march me around to the refrigerators because we had one on the back porch and one in the kitchen, and then we had a freezer down in the basement. And he'd have me look to make sure that I already knew what we had, because otherwise we just end up with three or four of the same thing and we wouldn't end up using them because they go bad before we'd actually get to them.
There's all these funny things that we can hear about, like oh, ha ha. I do that too. That's totally me. And it's fun until it's not fun. It's funny until it's not funny, because it actually does end up costing us a lot of money over the course of our lives.
And one of the things that I would do with my clients if they have ADHD and if they're stressing out about money, if we're working on their money relationship, is I have them go through all of the subscriptions that they have signed up for, and this can be very triggering. I'm not saying that lightly. This can actually trigger a trauma response for some people. Because when you go into your credit card statement and you see that you've been spending a good $600 and that's happened before with some of my clients, a good $600 a month on random subscriptions that you don't even remember signing up for, that can send you into a major spiral of, oh, my God. I'm literally sabotaging my own ability to live. I'm sabotaging my own ability to save for retirement. I'm sabotaging my ability to live longer.
Your brain naturally goes to, what could I have spent that money on?
That $600 that I was wasting on an Audible account that I don't use, on a Starz and a Showtime account that I signed up for the free trial so I could binge watch that one show, but then I completely forgot that I signed up for it.
Dating apps that you have to pay for, those are usually on subscription. What happens when you meet someone and get married and completely forget about that? You better hope that your spouse isn't looking at your credit card statement, seeing that.
There's this guy that I follow on TikTok and on Instagram. I think his username is the Speech Professor, and he talks about signing up for the Dollar Shave Club, which I'm a proud member of.
So he signed up for the Dollar Shave Club about ten years ago. But if you look at this guy, you'll notice something about him right off the bat, is that he has a beard. And so he did a whole little video on the ADHD tax, and he called out that he actually started growing his beard eight years ago.
There are a couple of things going on here. So there's this object permanence thing that happens for us. It's kind of out of sight, out of mind, and so you don't see it all the time. You don't think about it. Even if the Razors show up to your house once a month, it's not, like, obvious enough to you to go and cancel it.
Now, the other side of this is our executive dysfunction jumps in. You may at moments think, oh, yeah, I should probably cancel this. I no longer need this. This is no longer relevant to my life. My wife or my husband will get mad if they see that I'm still accidentally paying for this dating subscription.
And thinking that you need to do something is not enough to actually do it. We have to hit the trifecta here. We have to hit the exact moment where we have enough dopamine in our systems that we have some get up and go and we can actually get up and do the thing that we're thinking about doing at the same moment where we see the thing that we need to cancel. It's brought to our attention. It's out in the open. And that we realize, oh, I need to do something about this.
On a normal Tuesday morning when you open your refrigerator and open that bottom drawer and you notice that the zucchini that you bought two weeks ago have had a little meltdown, they're a little slimy, and there's sludge forming in the bottom of the drawer, that's disgusting.
And any normal person would want to handle that and get that out of their fridge right away. For someone with ADHD, if we don't have enough dopamine in our system, it's a tomorrow problem.
And tomorrow when we notice it, if there's again not enough dopamine in our system, it's again a tomorrow problem, and so on and so on until about a week later when we finally get to the point where it's become almost an emergency.
And often this is when we do something about it, is when it becomes an emergency.
Part of the ADHD tax is the late fees that we end up paying for stuff.
I moved to the East Coast during the Pandemic accidentally, and I've kind of settled in. And there are a lot more tolls on the freeways here than there are in California. In California, you really just have to pay for tolls on bridges. You know, they're called freeways for a reason, because they're free to travel on.
On the East Coast. They're not. They cost a lot of money.
And at one point, I kept getting all these bills in the mail for my car, going through areas that were tolled, and my little box, my fast track that was supposed to be paying everything wasn't reading. For some reason, I didn't realize it. So I kept getting all these bills in the mail, and I'd see them and be like, oh, that's important. I need to deal with this. And then I'd put them aside, and that's the biggest mistake someone with ADHD can make is put them aside to keep the clutter controlled, because I'm never going to think about it again.
Until one day I finally got a notification from like, the New Jersey Turnpike Association saying that I owed them a ridiculous amount of money for tolls. I owed something like $275. And most of that was late fees for me not paying them. Just so you know, it finally became enough of a problem. So I finally called the number on the bill and I got in touch with this very nice young man who very tentatively informed me that the bill was now up to about $320. And I said, okay, that's fine. Let me know when you're ready for my credit card. And his response was what? And I was like, no, just let me know. I'm happy to pay it. I know I owe this money. Just tell me when you're ready for my credit card number. This poor guy was like, no, I'm sorry. I was expecting you to yell at me for it. Now, that tells me he hasn't had a lot of ADHD people calling, because we're so used to having to pay the late fee that we just don't even want to create any fuss about it. We've internalized that embarrassment and that shame so much that we want to be the most pleasant and easy to deal with when we have to go and pay for it, because it's already evidence that there's something massively wrong with us.
It's already evidence that we can't handle our life.
If we then go and create problems around it, that just makes us a whole different level of person, and we don't like that.
So how do we go about stopping paying the ADHD tax?
Because unlike actual taxes, it doesn't fund schools. It doesn't ensure the fire department has equipment to save your house if it burns down, it literally just throws money out the window. And who wants to do that?
So here are a couple of ways that you can stop paying this tax.
So the ADHD tax happens in a lot of financial ways for people with ADHD. And I want to challenge you to do something if you have ADHD, and I'd love for you to reach out to me and let me know if you did this or even if you like, when to do this and failed at it, that's okay too. That'll tell you a lot about what your relationship with money is.
But I challenge you to go and look at all of your subscriptions, and if there are any subscriptions in there that you no longer actively use, I challenge you to cancel them and know that you can cancel them now and reenact them later.
And one of the ones that I did when I did this activity for myself, this is part of my trauma of money work that I do with my clients.
So when I was going through this for myself, I went in, and I realized that I was still paying for my Peloton subscription, which is, like, $45 a month. It's not cheap.
Even though I have an injured tailbone right now. I have a bruised tailbone right now, so I literally can't even be on my Peloton.
And I probably have a few more months that I can't be on my peloton. So I gave myself full permission to cancel that, knowing that I could restart at a later date. When I first went to do this homework, I actually delayed it about four weeks because it was so painful for me to go and acknowledge all the ways in which I'd been wasting money. And we don't acknowledge as people with ADHD, we don't acknowledge that there's a lot of trauma that happens when we live life in this way, especially if you're raised in a society that tells you that wasting money is bad. It's one of the worst things you could do. If it's one of the worst things that you could do, and yet you do it every single month over and over and over again, what kind of person does that make you?
That's a really hard truth to reckon with.
And so I want you to notice if you got assigned that just now and had this moment of, oh, my God, I don't even know if I can go look at that. That feels so shameful, know that that's literally a trauma response.
There are a few different ways we respond to trauma. There's fight, which we know about. There's flight, which is running away. There's freeze, which a lot of us play into. And then there's also fawn. If you're having a freeze response right now and you're pushed into inaction because it's too scary to look at, I want you to be super gentle with yourself.
I want you to know that where you are in this scenario is so normal for how your brain works.
And that while your brain is probably going to continue working like this for the rest of your life, there are some ways that you can mitigate the impact.
For instance, once you do this first inventory of all your subscriptions, know that that's not going to be the only time you need to do that.
There are going to be many more times that you sign up for a subscription and then completely forget about it.
Let me tell you this, I noticed from experience for myself and experience for my clients; the first time you go and check your subscriptions is going to be really scary. The second time that you go and check to see what subscriptions you're paying for that you don't need to be paying for, is also going to be pretty scary.
The more often that you do it, the less scary it becomes until it becomes more of a routine.
And so this is something that I urge you to just put into your calendar for maybe the second Sunday every other month to just go in, log into your credit card statements, see what you're paying for, and if there's anything in there that you're not actively using to just go and cancel it, knowing that you can always re sign up for it later?
Now, there are two other ways that the ADHD tax gets us and the next one is one that I know very well. It's our hobby tax.
We get so hyper focused on our hobbies and we get so excited and we want to go and buy all the things... that may be a good investment if we stay hyper focused on that hobby for long enough. But often times that hyper focus doesn't last very long and so we end up spending a lot of money on that hobby and we end up not using all of the materials and all that stuff.
And here's where it can create some emotional tax for us as well, is that we don't ever want to get rid of that stuff.
We keep our hobby supplies around because we're afraid, what if I get hyper focused on it again? What if I decide I'm interested in it again and I want to do it again? Like I shouldn't get rid of everything because then I'll have to spend all the money again to get it all set back up.
Now, let me tell you, as someone with ADHD who is a serial hobbyist and who works with a lot of folks with ADHD, this rarely happens.
It rarely happens that we go back to our former hobbies.
And if we do go back to our former hobbies, it's rarely with the same intent.
So say you were really interested in making jewelry when you were in college, and you bought all of the beads and you bought all of the wire, and you were really into making weird necklaces that had all these dangly things from them.
And then you lost interest.
And yet you still don't want to get rid of all the beads that you bought. And you don't want to get rid of all the wires and you don't want to get rid of all the pliers that you have. Because making wire based jewelry and I have some experience here, if you can't tell, it requires a bit of equipment to make it work.
Now, you may get a revitalized interest in making jewelry, but I will bet you good money that you won't want to do the same style of jewelry.
You're actually going to end up needing different equipment.
You're going to end up needing... maybe you won't even want to work with beads. Maybe you'll want to work with precious metals and you'll want to actually do some soldering... become like Lord of the Rings, making jewelry and rings of power and I don't know, whatever you make.
I have a girlfriend in Mill Valley, California, who I actually met because I was her knitting teacher, and she's currently making jewelry, and she just recently found out that she has ADHD.
And this is exactly how that works. We go through different phases and we have different expectations of quality. And as she's making more and more jewelry, her style is changing. The materials that she wants to work with is changing. And so if you are one of those ADHD hobbyists who has a ton of stuff in your closet taking up space that stresses you out, it kind of speaks to you from time to time.
You go into that closet, for one thing, and you immediately feel this sinking sense of guilt of, oh my God, I have so much of this stuff. Like, I should really get back into that.
It's an emotional cost, even though it's not an extraordinary one. It does eat away at you. It does tire you out just a little bit more. It does rob you of dopamine because it's yet another thing that you feel behind on.
Even if you were to have a Saturday, a rainy Saturday, where you were like super inspired and you wanted to dive back in, the fact that you are diving back in after years of not doing it, it's going to feel a little less dopamine heavy because you've put it off for so long.
So you don't have to do this.
But I urge you to look at those different collections of hobbies and see what can you let go of at this point?
What can you donate to a local thrift shop that maybe has a craft corner.
Now that you have canceled some subscriptions, you've cleaned out your closets, you've emptied the disgusting drawers in your refrigerator... You might be crying, you might be a little tender with everything that you've wasted.
I invite you to get a little more support than just listening to this podcast.
So I've put together this incredible Weenie ADHD printer community on Mighty Networks. It's a space where you will be surrounded by other ADHD-preneurs who are going through the exact same experience as you. There's support in the community.
There's also a monthly call with me where we can talk through anything that has to do with how ADHD is getting in the way of your business and your life.
Like the ADHD tax.
© 2022 Katie McManus – Business Strategy For Weenie ADHD-preneurs