When ADHD Meets Paid Subscriptions: The Struggle to Keep Up

Oct 9, 2023

by Patty Blinderman and AI-powered content generation tools

In today’s digital age, paid subscriptions have become part of our lives. From streaming services to software applications and subscription boxes, there seems to be no end to the offerings vying for our attention and wallets. For many individuals, these subscriptions enhance convenience and enjoyment. However, for those of us living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), managing these recurring payments can be a real challenge. ADHD can turn free trials into months of paying for something we don’t use, or worse yet, forgetting how to even log in to cancel.

The Allure of Free Trials

Free trials allow users to experience a product or service for a limited time without any initial financial commitment. However, with ADHD in the mix, these trials can be particularly enticing, as they offer a low-risk opportunity to explore new offerings. However, this is where the difficulty often begins.

ADHD and Impulsivity

ADHD is characterized by symptoms of impulsivity, distractibility, and difficulty with sustained attention. This combination can make it challenging those impacted by ADHD brain-wiring to assess the long-term consequences of their actions, especially when it comes to subscriptions. In the excitement of trying something new, we might sign up for free trials with the intention of evaluating the service and canceling if it doesn’t meet our needs. However, impulsivity can lead to forgetfulness, and the trial period can quietly transition into a paid subscription.

The ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ Phenomenon

One common aspect of ADHD is what might be termed the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. When something isn’t in immediate view or part of a regular routine, it can easily slip from memory. This phenomenon is particularly problematic when it comes to remembering to cancel subscriptions.

After signing up for a free trial, the excitement may wane, and the subscription becomes less relevant in daily life. As a result, the login credentials and subscription details may be forgotten, resulting in the subscription sliding into the realm of the overlooked.

A Growing Monthly Expense

Over time, these forgotten subscriptions can accumulate, turning into a significant monthly expense. This financial strain can be both frustrating and distressing. In ADHD terms, this has been referred to as an example of the “ADHD Tax.” Unused expenses can contribute to feelings of guilt and financial stress.

Some Practical Solutions for Managing Subscriptions with ADHD

There are practical strategies that can help individuals with ADHD manage subscriptions more effectively:

  1. Calendar Reminders: Set up recurring calendar reminders to review your subscriptions monthly. This proactive approach can help you remember to cancel any you no longer use/want/need.
  2. Record Login Information: Capture login details when signing up for subscriptions and keep them where they are easily accessible.
  3. Streamline and Prioritize: Periodically review your subscriptions and assess whether they align with your current needs and priorities. Unsubscribe from those that no longer serve you.
  4. Subscription Tracker Apps: Consider using subscription tracker apps that help you keep an overview of your active subscriptions, including their costs and renewal dates. *Important Note: many of these apps do require a paid subscription!
  5. Use Virtual Wallets: If possible, link your subscriptions to virtual wallets or specific debit/credit cards. This can make it easier to track and manage recurring payments.
  6. Delegate Responsibility: If you have a trusted friend or family member who can help you with financial matters, consider delegating the task of subscription management to them.

In Conclusion

Managing subscriptions is one of the modern challenges of ADHD. With the right strategies in place, it’s possible to strike a balance between exploring new services and keeping financial commitments in check. By doing so, individuals impacted by ADHD can gain better control over their finances and reduce the stress associated with forgotten subscriptions.

Written by Patty Blinderman

To create content focused on leveling the playing field for individuals impacted by ADHD. Patty shares research as well as tried-and-true practices and her own experiences in the hopes that it makes your life a bit more ADHD-friendly!

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