How Martha Manages Her Money and ADHD

Money Files

For those experiencing ADHD, impulses and overwhelm—especially around money—can be heightened. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Today, I am talking to Martha Hoffman, founder of Grounded Learning, about her experience with ADHD and money management.  Martha was diagnosed with ADHD in the seventh grade, which comes with its own set of challenges. But Martha hasn’t let that stop her from exploring and implementing money systems that support her needs.

Prior to working with me, Martha’s experience with money could best be described as random. But now, she has tools and tricks that help her know how to stay on track and when to pivot. She prioritizes what is most important in her life. Her money management works for her, not against her.

ADHD can feel like an uphill battle, with money decisions often left up to chance or mood. But when you have a visual system in place and consistent time to focus on your finances, you can create a plan that works for you, just like Martha.

And the benefits are lifelong. You’ll have a clearer view of your big money picture. You’ll focus more on your future self. You’ll eliminate fears and doubts and be able to trust yourself around money, and it can be transformative!

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • How Martha’s ADHD presents itself in her daily life [4:16]
  • The importance of knowing yourself and your experience and how it can affect your daily life (for example, how you handle your money) [6:36]
  • Why going inward to understand your unique needs and honoring what you’re capable of in the moment can help you be your best self throughout the day (instead of beating yourself up about your perceived struggles) [9:47]
  • Ideas for a process to get you started on identifying your personal flow and what works best for you [11:19]
  • Understanding that a disability is something that you experience and work with, not something that you need to fix [16:13]
  • How a mindset shift can make a world of difference [17:18]
  • How the impulsivity of Martha’s ADHD contributed to her haphazard relationship with money [19:16]
  • How having a budget has helped Martha to plan better for future Martha [23:44]
  • Keina’s approach to helping people make a money plan that serves them and their unique needs (from budgeting for a daily coffee or lunch with coworkers to prioritizing vacation or student loan debt) [32:43]
  • The importance of checks and balances in your budgeting [33:18]
  • How money dates can help you stay on top of your finances [37:41]

If you’re ready to give yourself grace with your ADHD experiences and make your money management flow seamlessly, tune in for this week’s episode.

Want learn to manage your finances with ease? Apply to work with me and take the first step towards financial peace of mind.

Check out Martha’s first episode here.

Transcript “How Martha Manages Her Money and ADHD”:

Keina (00:02):

Hi, and welcome to money files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out a financial, overwhelming shame so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances, intent tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances.

Keina (00:32):

Hi. Before you get into this week’s episode, I want to invite you to join me this Thursday at 12:00 PM EST, this March 31st, I am hosting a free masterclass called how to budget without restriction. I know one of the number one reasons that people avoid budgeting is because they think of all the things that they’re gonna have to say no to. And I wanna invite you to think about what if I didn’t actually have to a note of things. How could that be true? Join me this Thursday at 12:00 PM Eastern standard time. And I’m going to teach you the simple five step process that I share with my clients that helps them budget. For the last time. The five step process that I’ve created has helped my clients increase their income by $20,000 annually, $50,000 annually. My clients have left their full-time job in order to work for, you know, their job part-time while they also build their business at the same time.

Keina (01:32):

And I want to help you change your relationship with money. So go to You should come. Also invite a friend and let’s start the money conversation in your circle.

Keina (01:48):

Hi, and thank you for joining me for another episode of money files. I am here today with Martha and Martha, and I have known each other for over a decade, probably almost two, which is weird, not quite two, cuz I would age me and make me really old. But we actually worked together for those of you who don’t know I was a teacher and at the time I was teaching fifth grade math and Martha was a special educator for our team. And then fast forward a couple years later and we worked together. She was one of my clients. And recently we were talking about, I actually sent her a text message and asked her, Hey, do you have problems? Like where does ADHD and money? Like how do those two worlds kind of overlap for you? Because Martha will tell you that she is an adult and was a child with ADHD. And so I’ve had a lot of comments and questions come up about managing your money. You are also someone who identifies as having an experiencing ADHD. So I thought this would just be a great conversation. So Martha, you wanna introduce yourself?

Martha (02:53):

Hi, glad to be back. I am Martha Hoffman, as Keina said, we’ve known each other. I believe it’s been 13 years. Thank you. And I only know that cause I’m about to embark on a transition from that job and it’s been 13 years. So it’s been a while. And as Keina said, we worked together just over two years ago, formally though Keina had my ear talking about money for a full 13 years, but I formally learned from her through her program just over two years ago. And yes, I’ve had a diagnosis of ADHD since I was in the seventh grade and had a variety of coping skills throughout the years. Sometimes taking medication sometimes not sometimes really succeeded and had the right things in place sometimes not. And I realize that sometimes it impacts parts of my life that I don’t even realize impacting. I just think that’s how everyone experiences it. So when Keina said, does ADHD show up for you with your money stuff? And I was like, oh my gosh, yes, let’s talk more. So here we are

Keina (03:51):

Just dive in, like how does ADHD like manifest in your life in terms of just being able to recognize how it impacts you or day to day living lifestyle?

Martha (04:01):

So for those that don’t know, there’s a number of different types of ADHD. It can present in different ways and there are different subtypes subtypes, but they’re all, they all fall under the umbrella of ADHD. So the age is for hyperactivity, but even if you don’t present this hyperactive, that’s just what it’s called. So this is only my experience, but for me, a couple ways that it shows up are one. I am distractable. So when there are multiple sensory inputs, I struggle. So if there are two conversations happening in a room, I have a hard time focusing on either of them because I can’t just focus on one, I’m hearing both or if I’m trying to have a conversation with my husband and my kids are also like in my space, right? Like pulling on me or tugging on me or also asking me for something or it’s also really hot out or anything like that.

Martha (04:46):

If there’s like multiple senses competing, that’s really difficult for me. I need to kind of pause and bring my focus to one sensory experience as much as possible. So that’s one piece of it. My, my relationship with like sensory experiences, I’m like really sensitive to heat, things like that. That’s been my whole life. So I feel like I just manage that. I pretty much know what to do. Another way that it presents is I have to make decisions about what I’m gonna give my attention to. And what that means sometimes is that I can be really hyper focused in some areas and really great with my attention to detail. You know, it makes me wonderful at completing projects. Part of my career is delivering learning to adults. And I’m really good at that because I can zoom in on all of the pieces. What’s the experience like for the adult learner and that’s a strength, but what that also means is there are other details that I just don’t see.

Martha (05:41):

So my husband laughs at this quite frequently, but you know, there was a trailer at the corner like one house away from us for weeks and weeks and weeks. And the other day he said, I finally got rid of that trailer, that construction trailer that’s been there. And I was like, good job. I hadn’t even seen it. It had been like six weeks. And he was like, Martha, it’s half a city block. How did you not notice? But I just I’m laughing. But that’s an example of like, it’s not a, it wasn’t important to me and it wasn’t impacting me. I probably passed it a hundred times and didn’t even notice. So I’m almost like polar opposites when it comes to details. Sometimes I’m hyper observant and sometimes I am very unaware of something that my brain has perceived as like not that important.

Martha (06:26):

And then the last way that I think it mainly presents for me is through impulsivity. And I’m not the type of impulsive person that’s gonna like go jump off a cliff. In fact, quite the, the opposite, but my thoughts and my smaller actions sometimes are impulsive and I need to create some checks and balances to make sure that some of those impulses don’t end up, for example, putting me into debt. Right. Or overscheduling me on my calendar because I wanna say yes. So that impulsivity, like I said, it’s not, not like extreme stuff, but it’s things within my day to day that I have to be conscious of so that I don’t overextend in a number of different ways.

Keina (07:06):

I think what you’re talking about, which I love is like also the importance of knowing yourself. Like, yes, I know you’re talking about how does ADHD like manifest for you, but I would offer for and listening whether you have an ADHD diagnosis or not, it’s the importance of like knowing yourself as a human and in different seasons. I know yesterday when we were talking about recording this episode, you even just talked about the shift from being in an office to like working at home and a structure completely being removed and then understanding like, how are you now operating in this new space? And I think that as an educator, that is something that I’ve been like trained to think about. Not necessarily like, Hey, what’s gonna happen if you go into a pandemic. Right. But being able to look at certain conditions and how conditions or circumstances can shift, just how you operate and would say like before you go any further in this episode, just thinking for yourself, like, what do you know about yourself? And you were talking about, you know, your attention to detail or sometimes you’re really hyper focused or how impulsivity shows up for you. And as we kind of dig deeper into this conversation and think about D in money management, or you could just put any label on it, probably that you want, just like, I think the importance of knowing how you show up in the world and, and what serves you and what doesn’t serve you.

Martha (08:31):

There’s been a lot of lessons learned, right? A lot of trial and error over the years. And I work with kids and adults with ADHD also. So I’m, I’m, you know, you said like when we were classroom teachers, we had to focus on the structure of the entire day. Right? You couldn’t just go in and say, I’m great at math, here we go. There were so many other pieces. So we are trained to think about that in a while. What’s the environment, like what, how are the desks set up? What’s the lighting, what’s the volume. How are people’s energy at 2:00 PM versus 9:00 AM? Like all of those things. So, because I have experience in that, like you, I think that’s helped me and there’s been a ton of trial and error. What worked for me in high school had to totally readjust during college. And then after college, I had to readjust when I was working full-time and doing graduate school.

Martha (09:20):

And then after that, you know, I had a little bit less structure. And then once I got into the workforce, so there’s been so many adjustments. And then again, the pandemic hit. And when I was in an office before, I could still really find lots of like motivation and energy at 2:03 PM. And that’s a lot harder to do in my home, right. In my like tiny little room at the end of the house. So I’ve had to come up with other ways to make sure that I can extend my energy throughout the day in order to get my work done. And you mentioned like knowing yourself so much of that is like really going inward. Like I could beat myself up every day and be like, why can’t I get more work done at 3:00 PM? What’s wrong with me at 3:00 PM? What do I need at 3:00 PM, drink more coffee at 3:00 PM.

Martha (10:03):

Or I could honor the fact that my energy is lower at 3:00 PM. So I schedule something with less demand. I like do budget or invoice stuff at 3:00 PM. I reply to emails at 3:00 PM. I get into my calendar at 3:00 PM rather than some like big project that requires a lot of my brain energy. And I think all of us have that to an extent, but with the ADHD and the impulsivity, and distractability pulling me in other directions all day, right. If I don’t honor what my body can do and needs to do what happens is I just I’m exhausted. So like, if I fight against it, I’m just tired all the time, which is then like, I’m fighting against that as well. So those ebbs and flows I have to listen to and they change. So I have to be willing to really go inward and think, okay, even now we’re coming into spring, how is shifted? My energy’s different now that it’s light later. Like all of those pieces, they’re not just random. Right? They’re part of how I need to structure my days and weeks so that I can succeed at my job, be a participant in my family, you know, be an involved mother, have friendships that are sustained. All of those things. Otherwise, all that would fall apart for me.

Keina (11:19):

Do you have a process? I’m thinking about someone who’s listening right now. And they’re like, okay, well, I don’t have necessarily this skillset to kind of know what I need, but like where would someone be able to start like identifying their flow?

Martha (11:34):

Yeah. So you and I actually had this conversation, even though it was unrelated quite recently, I think for me, it’s looking at my schedule. So if I feel like something isn’t working, I take the time to like sit down and look at my schedule. So like look at a couple weeks and I need to be able to see what’s movable and what’s not. And then move according to how I’m feeling. So I rely on my calendar a lot and this isn’t gonna work for everybody, but I have three, I have like a calendar that I would consider my work calendar, cuz it’s like anything that’s happening between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Right? Then I have like my life calendar, which would be out side of those hours. And I share that with my husband. And then I also have a pay calendar just next to my desk because I need that visual when I am planning things, if I’m thinking, oh, this is due in two weeks, let me backwards plan.

Martha (12:24):

I need to be able to see the month. So I need a pay calendar as well. Now three calendars might terrify somebody else. But for me, that works and people cause a calendar is visual, which works for me. It’s a way that I can structure what I need and making changes doesn’t feel as scary when I use my calendar. If I just sat down and thought, none of this is working, I need to start from scratch. I would be so overwhelmed and have nowhere to start instead. Like the story I tell myself is this isn’t working right now. Let me adjust what I can. And I go and I look at two or three weeks and I do. I move things around that I’m able to, like I said, a big project that I have to work on. Maybe a Wednesday morning is better than a Friday morning.

Martha (13:08):

And I do that throughout the course of a year. I would say I probably do that a minimum like three times year. And then if anything is big and shifting that happens too. Like I have to do that process before winter break, for example, cause I know my kids are gonna be home for two weeks. I know my work schedule is different for those two weeks. I know we’re gonna be traveling. So I need to look at my calendar because that’s like the holder of all those things, what’s this gonna do to my energy? When are we traveling? What’s this gonna cost me? I mean, finances come into this heavily. Right? What else needs to shift? What do I need to pause? Like, do I need to pause that subscription of whatever that comes? Cuz I’ll be outta town. And for me the calendar can be an anchor for all of those pieces.

Keina (13:53):

I love that. I wrote down a couple of notes in terms of, I think one of the things we’re not taught in school and we kind of have to figure out for ourselves as adults. And I think this applies for everyone is advocating for yourself. And then I also hear you saying like giving yourself permission to change things up. Like even you talking about the thoughts, right? Like feeling like I failed or feeling defeated and being able to recognize like it’s okay to make a change and being able to say like, I can, I can embrace who I am and how I show up. And I can harness that to then overlay and put in the things that I desire to accomplish. And I, I know at least in my, not until I sound coaching, do I feel like I’ve even been able to lean into those things for myself?

Keina (14:42):

I know we were even talking about a week ago about like I just shifted my entire calendar and I had to tell myself it’s okay. Like you have been confined and told that you have to like work within these hours. Right. And there’s a whole bunch of different beliefs that come in there. And so I had to release some of those things and realize like, no, like this is how I desire to show up. And so like how can my calendar support how I wanna feel in my personal life and my business, et cetera. I think the same is true when you’re someone who’s diagnosed with ADHD. And I even think about when I was in the classroom and working with kids, it was like, okay, how do I help this kid have a certain experience? And then trying out different things to not make the child feel different, but to make you feel like included in things are approachable for you. And I think in the similar vein, just giving ourselves that permission

Martha (15:35):

A hundred percent. And I mean, again, I’ve worked in the field of special education for 20 years now and I now do coaching with parents. And a lot of times that’s this conversation because their child with a disabil is having an experience. Right? And so are they, and like I can give them all the strategies in the world and help them prepare for a meeting and get the accommodations they need and all of those things. And if parents and children are thinking certain thoughts, none of that matters if everyone’s still at the end of the day, thinking something’s wrong here, or this is bad, right? None of that matters. So really getting to the point where we can understand whatever the disability is, ADHD, dyslexia, learning, disability, autism, and say, this is something that I experience. And it makes me experience part of the world’s diff parts of the world differently is very different than I gotta fix something.

Martha (16:34):

Right. Like I now know there’s nothing to fix in me because I have ADHD. But like if I’m hot and my children are yelling at me, I need to be like, whoa, hold on. Can’t do this. And like all three of us take a deep breath. That’s just how I move through life. Rather than thinking in my head the whole time, something’s wrong with me, something’s wrong with me. I’m broken. And that sounds, I think almost basic sometimes, but it really is powerful and it really is important. And it’s a lot of the work that I do with children and families. And if we get there where children and parents really understand, this is a difference. My child has, they have different experiences. I need to understand this better. Then all those other things I mentioned, like the growth doubles, right? The growth happens then.

Martha (17:19):

So I mean, I know mindset is really jargony right now. Everybody uses the word, but the mindset around it is super important. And I don’t think I got there. I don’t think I was there as a kid, often as a kid. I think I was like, this is this thing. That’s an upward battle. I always have to like fix. And I just don’t think that anymore. So even when you say like what strategies sometimes I have to think and be like, oh yeah, what are these things that I do that help and bring, come back to that awareness so that I really understand what am I doing intentionally, but it’s become so natural that it feels, it feels just like me rather than like this extra work I have to do is somebody with ADHD, you know?

Keina (17:58):

No, that’s totally relatable. And I love those thoughts that you shared just now when we’re talking, I’m gonna like shift because I wanna talk about your finances and we can just talk about it from your per, but I’m curious as to how you experience, like what was your relationship with money prior to us working together and what parts might be? I hate to say it like this. I wanna be like, felt harder to you because maybe going back to thoughts right. Of like, oh, there’s something wrong with me. Or like, this will always be hard or, or whatever it is to now you have a system that I know you use all the time because you tell me about it and just like what? Yeah. I would just interested in like, what’s the, what’s the before. And what’s been like the shift in the dynamic of how you relate to money.

Martha (18:48):

Yeah. I, I, I do have a system now. I wonder who taught me that? Thanks. Keina with money. I, and I think I shared this with you before, before working with you, it wasn’t like terrible. I didn’t have like $20,000 of credit card debt and any really scary story. And I’m grateful for that. And yet my retirement wasn’t where it needed to be. And I did have a, some credit card debt and I was still had a ton of student loan debt. I think I’ve shared with you this actual phrase before. I feel like my relationship with money previously was random. That kind of makes sense. Being somebody with ADHD, it felt really haphazard. Like I would have a great month then a month where I was like, whoa, I’m about to overdraft. I would have some savings. And then that would stall for a couple months.

Martha (19:38):

It was not consistent at all. And it was very much at the whims of like my mood. And again, this is an example of where my impulsivity would show up. So, so I wasn’t like up at 2:00 AM. I’m gonna buy a flight degrees. No, but I would say to myself, oh, I can splurge on this. I’ll just swing this money from somewhere else, but I didn’t have a system for that. So I would just tell myself that that was like in my head. But if you do that five times in a month and you don’t actually make, and you’ve made these five splurge purchases, you’re in the red, right. I had no way of tracking that that felt doable. So the small impulses that were sometimes like, you know, $22, I’m going to grab this lunch, which in DC is $22. I feel like to eat lunch anywhere.

Martha (20:30):

And, but if you do that 10 times in a month thinking, I’ll figure it out and don’t figure it out. That adds up. And sometimes it was bigger. Sometimes it was a couple hundred dollars, you know, I think unfortunately credit cards are like someone who’s impulsive. It’s like their worst nightmare. They’re like set up as a trap because you have this fall where you can swipe it on the credit card and deal with it later, which is kind of dangerous quite frankly. And you know, with me, I didn’t go too far into the red, thank goodness. But honestly, that’s a real danger for an impulsive young adult because you have to be thinking about future self and not just a self. And if you make the purchase today and you get the dopamine hit and you’re excited at what you got, be it a trip or a meal or a new pair of shoes.

Martha (21:14):

Cool. It is harder for the ADHD brain to also be thinking about Martha who has to pay the credit card statement and Martha who has to say no to something else, cuz she said yes today. And Martha who wants to like retire before she’s 75, right? That’s harder. There’s a little bit more work there in the ADHD brain. And that was all showing up for me. And again, I am grateful that it wasn’t extreme and dire, but it was there. And I didn’t really reign all of that in with system until I worked with you. I still have the same thoughts. Oh, I’m gonna go grab lunch today. Cuz I didn’t get my button gear and plan for lunches this week. But now I have a system where then I go in and I say, okay, I took 22 bucks for lunch to today. I’m gonna peel that out of this category because my dollars have names now.

Martha (22:05):

Right. And I think it’s to note too, it’s not just like the money. It’s not like I’m sitting and thinking, do I want to spend this money or not? It’s other ways that ADHD shows up for me, I’ve mentioned food a couple times because that’s one that I struggle with. Like the ability to plan out food for four people for seven days at a time, breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. The in my house, everybody has some different preferences at the moment. That’s like a Herculean task for me and it’s very overwhelming and I could probably talk to somebody else and get some coaching around that. But that has implications on my finances because if I don’t get that done, come Thursday. When my husband’s at work Thursday, Friday, Saturday night, all I wanna to do is grab takeout. Right. Which isn’t good for my health. And certainly isn’t good for my budget. So it’s like those pieces too. The planning that needs to come into account to book a flight in advance that you’re not paying extra meal plans. So you’re not grabbing takeout or something. That’s more convenient. Keep an eye out for a good price on something or notice that if it goes on sale, like calling to do the price adjustment, like those are planning pieces that are harder for me. And they all have implications on my budget.

Keina (23:17):

How has ha like has having a budget supported you in those planning implications?

Martha (23:23):

Yes. Because having to look at it or making myself, you know, I have these money dates with myself a couple times a month where I’m looking at my spending plan and it’s just really easy again and visual. So to see on there like, oh a $22 shift is like no big deal. But again, if I tried to do 10 of those, I’m scrambling trying to pull that from somewhere else. And what that highlights for me in a really visual way is what did I say no to by saying yes to impulsively ordering takeout? Like am I saying no to 200 extra dollars in my vacation fund? And then that allows me to think of future Martha. Mm. Right. Like it’s like guardrails to be like, no, I, I am thinking now about Martha that pays the credit card bill and Martha that wants to go on vacation this summer because I’m looking at those numbers at least every 10 days.

Martha (24:13):

Whereas before I could go months without looking at it holistically, all I looked at before was like the number in the bank, which was a little terrifying. Right. Not a lot of pride in admitting that, but that’s where I was now. I’m looking at all these different lines every week or 10 days. So they’re just constant reminders to be like, oh, this line on vacation is getting pretty big. Like you’re getting close. Why would I sacrifice that to get a few extra, like right. To go Indian dinners? Because I didn’t plan well, like cook that at home. Martha. So it’s it. That structure is like built in reminders for me that allow me to keep that conversation going in my head. So I’m not just thinking about today, Martha.

Keina (24:52):

Yeah. I love that. I’m so happy.

Martha (24:57):

All thanks to Keina. Well,

Keina (24:59):

And I think like that’s the thing, I did an Instagram story yesterday. That was like, just because you pay for something out of your checking account with your debit card doesn’t mean you can afford it. And it’s for that point, right? Because like you’re not looking at the big picture you’re looking at like that moment in time, I have $1,500 in my account. Yes. I can do the a hundred dollars towards this, but you don’t realize, oh, that a hundred dollars is full or you know, Christmas or really that a hundred dollars is for vacation because everything doesn’t have a name that lives into your lives in your account. And that’s why people experience the like ups and downs of, oh goodness, this month I feel really short or this month I feel like I have a surplus. And so it gives some struck sure to that. And like, I just want people to hear that. Like, I, I feel like having a system and a routine for anyone is really beneficial because you have something to anchor in and it provides you with a level of context and it’s not about being restrictive. I’ll tell you my Martha isn’t restrictive because she has me ordering sparkling water. That is way too. You expensive.

Martha (26:08):

It’s so delicious though.

Keina (26:11):

But like, you know, just like being able to know that you can have this sparkling water, what is it like $22 for 12 cans?

Martha (26:19):

Maybe 8 21, if you do the subscription.

Keina (26:22):

Right. But like Martha and I both enjoy spending money in very different ways. And sometimes in the same way, our, our budgeting systems allow for that. So if you’re listening, I want you to also know that this doesn’t mean that like you can’t have something because you’re, you’re on a budget. Yeah.

Martha (26:38):

So the, the difference between like right now, right. If I were on my old system, I’d look at my checking account and be like, oh, there’s some money in there. And I would like go spend it. Right. Whereas now I see, oh, there’s some money in there. But a lot of that money is, as I said, there’s a vacation line. There’s like a kid’s summer camp line. Oh my God could be a whole other conversation. There’s a Christmas line. There’s a birthday line for each of the girls. There’s all of those things that happen throughout the next 12 months that I’m, I can’t be at zero for when that comes around. Right. So yeah, there’s money in that account so that none of those things are surprises. And you know, that’s one of the things that you taught me probably a decade ago, like the things that aren’t surprised is you shouldn’t treat them as such.

Martha (27:20):

And the other thing with having a system is I surprises. So like now, if there is an unexpected cost that comes up, I’ll think to myself, is this gonna happen again? Like, does this need to be a piece of my spending plan? Right? Like I have a line that’s called car and basically what it is. Right. I have an old car and I love it, but it’s, I mean, what is it now like almost 15 years old. So at any point it could go. So basically that I put money in there. Every paycheck, if the car needs a repair, it comes out of there. Or when I ultimately want to buy a new car, that will be my down payment. Like, so it’s flexible, right? If I wanna put another couple thousand dollars into this current car, cuz it’ll last me another five years, then I’m gonna keep doing that.

Martha (28:01):

And then once we decide, no we’re not putting any more into this car. I’ll keep that money going in there because then it’ll start to become the down payment for the next car. So when the clutch goes that previously a hundred percent, would’ve been a credit card. I, I, there’s no way I ever would’ve had that money prepared because I just wasn’t thinking in that way. So like swim lessons last summer, we did swim lessons and they were pretty pricey. And it was the first year that I did them for both girls. So it was a surprise last year, but it’s not this year right now, I’m putting, I forget what it is like $13 a paycheck into a little line item so that when summer comes around and we wanna do eight weeks of pretty intensive swim lessons because of the age my kids are at right now, we have that money.

Martha (28:43):

So not only does it just make me better prepared, but also when I’m unprepared, that’s not gonna happen twice anymore. It’s like I find the holes and then there will come a time where we don’t need the swim lesson line item anymore. Cuz my kids will be old enough and strong enough swimmers that money will shift to something else. I recently woo. Thanks to Keina. I recently paid off my student loans, which was like, I amazing. That was a big chunk of money that I was able to reallocate to like one or two small other things and then savings. So it’s, it’s fluid too. One, It’s not, like I say no to everything and two it’s fluid, but there’s a plan for it. So it’s just like, like so much less stressful and it curbs my impulsivity.

Keina (29:26):

Yeah. And I love the fact that you also talk about like the impulsivity doesn’t go away. Cuz I think sometimes we’re trying to like get rid of something instead of learning how to manage it. And I had one of my coaches actually tell me, I was talking about like a thought that continued to come up in my head and she’s like, yeah, just like put it in the backseat, like strap it down like a toddler, right? Like it doesn’t need to drive. And I think about that when we think about like impulsivity, like even for myself, I have like urges, I love to spend money and I don’t have to beat myself up about like my thoughts about spending money, et cetera. But it’s like, how do I, who decide how to manage it? And you also talked about knowing that like as someone who has ADHD, like you experience these ups and downs and like mood changes, which I haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, but I’d be like, so do I.

Keina (30:15):

And knowing like I think part of knowing yourself is recognizing your mood, right? Like when do have a tendency to shop or if you’ve had a bad day, like, do you wanna throw everything out in the kitchen and you just wanna order Uber eats. Right. And so if you kind of know some of those things about yourself, then how do you build this plan that accommodates that I, and I remember when we were working together, I don’t remember the whole context, but we were talking about your husband, you and you know, the days that he works nights, et cetera, and how you’re like, yeah. And on these days I don’t wanna cook or like I just already wanna have the meals prepared. And so we talked about how do you factor that into your numbers? Because you already know that that’s a habit that you have, or we also talked about how you wanted to go eat lunch out because it was a, an opportunity for you to have time for yourself to get some work done and like to have a meeting with a coworker and like nourish that relationship. And so we weren’t gonna say no to those things, because if you think about like, those are three results that creates for you, it’s not just about spending money to eat lunch. It was about three other things. And so like, yes, you’re gonna be able to do that. And yeah, that’s what budgeting I see budgeting allows you is to say yes to more of what you want.

Martha (31:29):

Yeah. And allows you to be so much more honest with yourself. Like I could lie to myself and say, I’m never gonna do that. Work lunch on Thursdays anymore. And I’m never gonna do takeout on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but like, let’s be real. That would be lying to myself. Right. So meeting in the middle and saying, I’ll do take out one of those nights because it is helpful because I’m alone with the kids and the other two I’ll have a plan. And then I am gonna do the Thursday lunch with a coworker. Maybe I won’t also do the Tuesday lunch by myself. Right. So there was some like, I guess you could say restrict, but I wasn’t gonna lie to myself and say like, I’ll just stop all of these things cuz look how much money I could get back. I think for a lot of people that’s like coffee, you always hear about the coffee habit.

Martha (32:12):

Right. And if you add up all those dollars, well listen, you have to make a decision. Like if that’s something you can give up kind of easily because you like coffee at home, get those dollars back. But if getting the coffee out an experience that brings you joy and starts your daily routine well and allows you to, especially nowadays leave the house right. And have a little bit of like a commute almost to start your Workday, then do it, but then budget for it, right? Like you are not in the business of telling someone you can’t do without coffee or you can’t eat that. Like that’s not that that is unique to your approach. You’re not someone that comes in and says, we gotta cut all these things. It’s like, again, you gotta go inward, which of these are serving you. Let’s make a money plan for them. And the ones that aren’t, let’s let them go.

Keina (32:57):

And I know one of the things I have a couple of clients who identify as being diagnosed with ADHD and some of the things we’ve talked about that they’ve expressed. And I haven’t, I don’t know if I’ve heard you talk about this, but like paying bills late or like paying for things twice because my interpretation, right? Like you’re just kind of racing and you’re going really fast and you forget. And for me as a coach, I’m always like in addition to teaching my clients to pay attention to their patterns, like I’m looking for your patterns and I might recognize something before you maybe call it out. But where I think having the spending plan allows you in terms of like late bills. Well now we’re gonna have a plan that has like all of your dates. We can talk about like creating a system that allows you to be comfortable with putting these on auto pay where now we’re kind of just checking a box to make sure it was paid and you’re gonna have enough money in your account where it’s not gonna be an overdraft.

Keina (33:51):

I know one of my clients who were recently talking about she’s like sometimes I buy things. She had like bought a plane ticket already and then bought another plane ticket for the same destination. Right. And she was like, Ken, I bought two plane tickets first. I’m like, it’s okay. Well like everything is solvable. Right. But then we started talking about, for her, she’s also someone who manages her life on a calendar. It was like, oh, would it be a good idea for you to even just like put a note in your calendar somewhere that always lives where you’re like already bought the plane ticket or already do the, so that, that way, once again, just going back to that, creating checks and balances and knowing yourself, like what’s the system that’s gonna support you in embracing like how you show up and not going into the oh my goodness. That like kind of defeatist mentality.

Martha (34:36):

Yeah. Listen, especially, and for anyone that’s listening, who does it of ADHD? I would caution like, especially in 2022, when we have Venmo and PayPal and cash app and right. Like the ability to pay and request is so easy. We have auto pay, your phone, saves your credit card information. I know that these are all meant to be conveniences, but they can be dangerous. One because I can like quick buy something from athletic, cuz my card is saved way too easily and that’s not great for someone that’s impulsive. I often have my phone, forget my credit card information because if I’m too lazy to walk upstairs and get the card, then I probably didn’t need the purchase. So that’s just like a tiny little rule I set for myself. You don’t have to be that harsh with yourself. But also yeah, at that like exchange, I think paying twice or forget, I’m more common than forgetting to pay.

Martha (35:27):

And I don’t ever want a friend to think like, I’m not gonna pay you. Right. So I have a, a number of friends where we do Venmo requests. If we go out to eat or if we, you know, we rented a house together and like, let me just request you for a fourth of it or whatever, it can help me stay on top of it. But only if I’m using it correctly, otherwise it’s really easy to just be like, sure, I’ll send you this. Sure. I’ll send you that. And that ease can be dangerous because with them, I do Venmo and clients, I do PayPal and with a colleague, we do cash app. Right? Like those are all, it’s almost like four other bank accounts. I mean, it’s not, but you could treat it as such. I get, I teach yoga as well, just once a week.

Martha (36:09):

And I get paid from that on one of those apps. So that’s actually income coming in. Like it’s a lot more to manage. So having a plan with all of those is important as well. Because again, I know those are all designed for convenience, but it’s also like more mental load that you have to manage. So I could see myself saying, yeah, I owed you a hundred dollars for the rental house. And then two weeks later thinking, wait, did I already pay for, oh yeah, let me send it and doing that twice. Luckily I’ll have a friend that’s gonna call me out on it. Right. You and I had that experience a couple years ago, your card auto saved on mine and it charged your card. And I got a text. It was like Martha, I think I just bought your groceries. I was like, ah, shoot.

Martha (36:48):

But like the reality is if you hadn’t caught that I wasn’t in a place where I know I would have. So I would say if you are using any those conveniences, it might be worth having a meeting with yourself to just reflect a little bit and say, where does this bring me ease? How is it serving me? Where is this causing trouble? And how can I solve for that? When I do my money dates with myself, Venmo, because it’s the one I use the most is one that I pull up. So I pull up two bank account and I pull up my Venmo with my spending plan because there’s so much action happening there. So for me, that’s kind of a quick solution. There. Maybe that’s the one that works for someone else, but that can be a space where it’s like, it almost feels like funny money, right? It’s just going in and out and in and out without ever seeing it. And that can add up and become problem where it doesn’t have to be.

Keina (37:40):

No, I love how you, I was gonna say something about like using money dates in that way. Right. Cause if, you know, you have that consistent space where everything like lives, it’s almost like the post-it note for your money to be like, okay, I know I can take care of that on Friday, cuz I’m gonna sit down and do it. And if that’s just kind of a weekly routine, then it allows you just to have that ease to be like, okay, I have a space to take care of it. I don’t have to also allow that to swim in my head as something that I need to like, think about all the time I’ve enjoyed this conversation. I feel like I could talk to you about, Hey, let’s talk about talking about money with your friends and let’s talk about all these other things, but yeah, I almost wanted to be like, okay, so how does this impact your husband? Because we’ve also talked about finances. Think in your original podcast, we’ve talked about Matt and how your work has also impacted how you guys manage money as a, as a couple. But I won’t, you know, do another hour episode with that, but thank you.

Martha (38:35):

He’s he’s someone with the ADHD diagnosis too. So we could, that could be a whole other hour, but we figured it out. So I’m happy to share at some future time.

Keina (38:46):

No, but I just, I mean, I think like that speaks to, for me, it’s like this like ripple effect and I was actually thinking about this morning, like when you are person who decides, Hey, I’m committed to get my relationship with money. Like I that’s really important to me and I wanna fix that. Like how does that shift the community in which you’re in and how does that elevate the value you bring to the people that you’re around? And I know just, you know, because we run in similar circles and I know people that, you know, that talk about how Martha’s managing her money now and how that impacts and influences them. So it’s, it’s just really cool to hear.

Martha (39:19):

It’s awesome. And we talked last episode too, about the impact that I hope it’s having on my kids too, so that, that, you know, continues to build in healthy ways. And I have you to thank for that. So thank you.

Keina (39:32):

Well, thanks for coming on. Is there any final things you would say?

Martha (39:36):

Just if, if, if any of us resonated and you’re feeling like, yeah, but you know any of that. Yeah. But that won’t work for me or yeah. But it presents differently in me or yeah, but I’ve tried try again, right. Try a different system. Because once you find a system that works for any of these things for time planning, for financial planning, once you find a system that works, it can bring so much ease that that’s how you can shift your story around having ADHD. Then you realize, oh, I just had to find a thing that worked for me. Like I’ve got this and that’s a really good place to be. So keep trying until you find a system that works.

Keina (40:10):

I love it. Don’t give up on yourself.

Martha (40:12):

Don’t give up on yourself.

Keina (40:16):

All right. Well thank you Martha for joining me.

Martha (40:17):

You’re so welcome. Have a good day.

Keina (40:20):

You too. Thank you so much for listening to Money Files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to and let’s get started.

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