What Is the ADHD Tax?

3 Ways To Get ahead (Plus Examples)

Have you ever found yourself impulsively buying additional items, convinced you were running low? Then you discover later that you unintentionally have double of nearly everything? It's a common scenario, and more often than not, it leaves you feeling like you've spent money on unnecessary items. For individuals living with ADHD, this can be aptly referred to as the ADHD tax.

This blog explores the concept of the ADHD tax, shedding light on common scenarios where it tends to manifest. It also offers doable strategies that will help you avoid paying the ADHD tax and lead a more efficient everyday life.

What Is the ADHD Tax?

The ADHD tax is a compound term that refers to the supplementary costs and challenges that come with the distinctive features of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It could be money, emotional stress or the extra time and energy needed to carry out these tasks. These additional costs and challenges happen because people living with ADHD have trouble focusing and organizing things properly.

The ADHD tax can lead you to spend more than you need to, like late fees on missed bills. It can also mean added inconvenience and stress, which can have a negative effect on your mental health and overall happiness. When you try to solve these problems, it may feel overwhelming and leave you feeling burnt out.

Can the ADHD Tax Have a Long Term Effect?

The ADHD tax can become noticeable over time. Small issues can add up in the long term. For instance, when you do not make regular payments on bills and services, accumulated fees and debts make it harder and harder to repay.

Moreover, challenges in maintaining focus and staying organized can hold back career growth and can lead to financial instability. When you constantly struggle to manage time and priorities, it can lead to reduced work performance. It can hinder you and limit opportunities for better pay.

As time goes on, the effects of the ADHD tax can create a snowball effect and affect different aspects of life. This is why it is important to take proactive steps to lessen the impact of the ADHD tax. These steps can help you live efficiently both personally and professionally.

How To Pay Less ADHD Tax

Plan Ahead

Strategic planning can be very crucial in lessening the impact of the cost element of the ADHD tax. Here are a few ways you can plan ahead:

  • Cancel free trials immediately: Reminders are easily ignored or pushed off for a “later” that never arrives. If you want to try a free trial of something, cancel the trial immediately - you’ll still get to use the trial, won’t forget to cancel later, and can always re-up if you liked it.
  • Make a budget: Creating a budget is a smart way to plan ahead. It helps you keep track of how much money you want to spend in a set period. If you struggle with remembering to update or focus on it, try ADHD-friendly budget apps like Weekly, Rocket Money, or YNAB.

Work With Your Brain

Sometimes the ADHD tax isn’t just about money. Sometimes it’s dealing with extra inconvenience or headache. We may decide paying a financial ADHD tax is worth avoiding the other kinds. Rather than trying to conform to a neurotypical way of operating, work with your brain - for example:

  • Compromise: Many people with ADHD struggle with brushing teeth regularly due to sensory challenges. The long-term consequence (expensive dental work) is a huge ADHD tax. One way to avoid it is compromising with yourself - like using mouthwash instead on the days you just can’t bring yourself to use a toothbrush.
  • Buying Multiples: Frequently losing things is a common challenge for many people with ADHD. So, rather than pay the inconvenience ADHD tax (by having to go without something you need, or having to stop what you’re doing for an emergency run to the store), you may decide to pay a financial one instead and buy multiples. This works especially well for small things like nail clippers or pens, but this approach can work for just about anything. As a bonus, bulk buying is often cheaper in the long run, anyway.

Seek Support

Getting help and understanding from others is crucial when dealing with ADHD. Support can come from those close to you, like family and friends, or from professionals. Here are some ways to seek the support you need:

  • Speak To Friends and Coworkers: Talking to friends and coworkers can be a big help to get support with your tasks. They can remind you about things you need to do or help you out. You can also educate them about the ADHD tax so they better understand how to support you.
  • Find a Coach: Having an adult ADHD coach can be a great support in dealing with the challenges of ADHD tax. A coach can work with you to set realistic goals, provide strategies for organization, and offer guidance. You can find an ADHD coach online if you prefer virtual ADHD coaching or you could Google “adhd coach near me” if you prefer it in person. You can check if a coach is the right fit for you and they can be your go-to support when you need personalized advice.


Supplementary costs and stress usually accompany ADHD. This ADHD tax could be time, money, or even emotions. Over time, these added costs can lead to bigger problems. This is why it is important to plan ahead and learn how to work with your brain to reduce the cost. You can also seek support from people close to you, or find an ADHD coach. Remember, small steps lead to bigger improvements. You can lessen the impact of the ADHD tax and build the future with focus and success. Your journey matters – start today for a better tomorrow!

Interested in more content like this?

Join our newsletter!
You have been successfully subscribed to our newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Ready to make changes in your life?
Work with a Shimmer ADHD coach to experiment with strategies and craft a routine that works for YOU. Start your journey now with early access.
If you’re interested in writing with us, email

Explore more