How to Help Teens with ADHD Manage Their Money

“You spent all your birthday money on what, now?”

If you’ve got a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or suspect you might, chances are you’ve felt a mix of compassion and frustration when it comes to watching them plan for or manage their resources. Teens with ADHD overestimate how much money or time they have, and often make quick choices without thinking through their long-term impacts fully. While as parents, we know our goal is to raise functioning, productive adults, raising a kid with ADHD or ADD tends to have unique considerations.

Characterized by inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, ADHD challenges can present very differently depending on the kid. Inattentive ADHD (often called ADD) is a subtype of ADHD and manifests as forgetfulness, disengagement, or distractibility. In kids and teens, it may resemble a learning disorder.      

While school is often the first place ADHD makes itself known, if it’s causing a problem somewhere, it’s likely affecting other areas as well. “ADHD doesn’t only affect school performance,” says occupational therapist and ADHD coach, Aliza Green. “It influences every aspect of life, including money management.” According to Green, ADHD is not just about having difficulty paying attention; it encompasses a range of cognitive functions that are crucial for success in various areas of life. “Individuals with ADHD struggle with executive functions such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control.”

So how do you teach a distractible kid with poor executive function about money and get it to stick? In this article, we’ll explore the unique money-related struggles kids and teens with ADHD face and provide practical tips to help them learn to manage their finances effectively. Whether it’s impulse spending, learning to save or sticking to long-term financial goals, here’s how to help your ADHD child build financial literacy skills.

Closeup portrait of teen boy with his hand under cheek, with mess lines coming out of head.

What are some of the money challenges for kids with ADHD?

Kids and teens with ADHD may encounter several challenges when it comes to managing money. According to Green, who coaches teens and young adults with ADHD, “The core challenges I observe in young adults with ADHD are impulsivity, forward planning difficulties, and weak episodic memory, which hinders their ability to learn from past experiences.” Kids with ADHD live in the now, says Green, and remembering long-term goals like saving can be challenging when they seem so far away.

Some common money challenges for kids with ADHD include:

Decision-making and planning challenges

Kids with ADHD may struggle with planning and decision-making, especially in complex money-related choices. They may have trouble setting long-term goals and creating a structured roadmap or savings plan to achieve them. For example, spending money on a single expensive item versus saving for multiple items.

Read more: How to help kids and teens set and achieve goals.

Impulse spending

Individuals with ADHD often struggle with impulsivity, making it challenging for them to control their urges in the moment and make well-thought-out decisions with what’s best for their future in mind. Impulse spending is a common issue, where resisting the urge to buy unnecessary items and considering the consequences is overridden by the subconscious desire to chase a feeling. For instance, your kid may buy toys, games, or gadgets impulsively due to excitement, often leading to regret or financial strain.

Read more: How to help kids and teens avoid impulse buying.


Children with ADHD may have difficulty remembering to save money or keep track of their belongings, leading to lost money or misplaced items they purchased. And while we’ll talk about the benefits of scheduled payments later on, ADHD forgetfulness means they might not have enough money in their account, which could lead to NSF or overdraft fees.

Time perception

Children with ADHD often have an altered perception of time, also referred to as time blindness, leading to difficulties in understanding the value of money saved over an extended period. They typically prioritize immediate rewards over long-term financial goals and, paired with impulsivity, this can lead to financial short-sightedness.

Inconsistent focus on tasks

ADHD can cause difficulties in staying focused and completing tasks. As a result, your teen may start money-related projects, such as creating a savings plan, but leave them unfinished. Saving money requires consistency and patience, which can be challenging for kids and teens with ADHD, as they might quickly lose interest in saving over time.

Why is it important for kids and teens with ADHD to learn about money?

Teaching children about money management is crucial for their future financial well-being. Managing money is crucial for all children, but it holds even greater significance for kids and teens with ADHD. According to a 2022 YouGov study in the UK, 65 per cent of people with ADHD say the condition makes managing their finances more difficult. The struggle is due mainly in part to neurodivergent traits, meaning the brains of kids with ADHD are simply “wired” differently than a neurotypical person.

However, according to Green, financial literacy can be taught, and with the right strategies, young adults with ADHD are capable of developing healthy financial habits and achieving greater financial independence.

Family With Teenage Son Sitting Around Table At Home Eating Meal Together discussing money

How to have the money talk with ADHD kids and teens

When it comes to having the money talk with kids and teens with ADHD, honesty and self-reflection are key, says Green.

Get honest

“The first thing I would say to parents is to examine their own relationship with money,” Green recommends. “How do you approach money? How do you manage your money? What’s your anxiety level around money? How do you budget? Really get honest with yourself.”

Read more: 10 common money mistakes parents make and how to avoid them.

Collaborate and communicate

Once you’ve gotten clear on your own financial literacy, have open conversations with your child about money. Talk about budgeting, priorities, and savings in a way that matches their developmental stage. Collaboratively create rules together, suggests Green. This may include setting limits on debit cards, having access to your child’s account to see their spending, and engaging in regular check-ins to offer support and guidance without shame or judgment. 

Avoid shaming

“It’s essential for educators and parents to understand that punishment is not the most effective way to address the behavioural challenges that come with ADHD,” advises Green. “Instead, a supportive and structured environment can make a world of difference.” Green encourages parents to approach financial slip-ups with compassion. This creates a safe space for your child to discuss mistakes so they can learn from them.

Asian mother and daughter are lying with smiling face in the bedroom for shopping together on a laptop computer,using a credit card.

8 tips to help kids and teens with ADHD manage their money

“Parents can play a crucial role in teaching money management skills to children with ADHD, starting with simple concepts like saving and budgeting,” says Green. Here are some practical tips to get you started:

1. Have a visual plan

“Visual aids play a significant role in helping teenagers with ADHD develop better money habits,” explains Green. Utilize charts, graphs, or a telethon-style thermometer to track savings progress, expenses, and financial targets. A visual plan posted in a central spot serves as a reminder and motivator.

2. Gamify savings

Incorporate technology to create savings challenges or goals with rewards, Green suggests. This makes money management fun and engaging for kids with ADHD.

Read more: How kids and teens can gamify their savings.

3. Set up automatic payments

Help your child avoid missed payments or late fees by setting up automatic payments for recurring bills, reducing the risk of financial disarray.

4. Set up reminders and notifications

Encourage your teen to set calendar or device reminders for payment dates, ensuring they don’t forget critical financial responsibilities.

5. Encourage regular check-ins

Set aside a specific time each week to discuss and practice money management. It could be a short session where you review their allowances, expenses, and savings. “Scheduling regular money discussions provides a platform to review progress, identify challenges, and plan for the upcoming week,” says Green. She suggests parents not only reinforce positive money habits but adjust as needed.

6. Teach decision-making skills

Involve your child in financial discussions and age-appropriate purchasing choices, emphasizing critical thinking and evaluating needs versus wants.

7. Make money tangible

ADHD kids benefit from a tangible representation of money, such as an envelope system or visual bank app like Mydoh, showing transactions in an easy-to-use interface.

8. Use a prepaid card

Introduce your child to prepaid cards designed for teenagers, like the Mydoh Smart Cash Card, which offers a safe and controlled environment for managing money while teaching financial independence.

You’re on track to raise money-smart teens

“With the right strategies and intentional parenting, young adults with ADHD can develop healthy financial habits and achieve greater financial independence,” says Green. Change takes time, so parents should be patient and intentional with their approach to raising money-smart kids with ADHD, she adds.

“This is not a one-time conversation, but an ongoing process to build good money habits and financial responsibility,” Green reminds us.

Download Mydoh and embark on this transformative journey of financial education with your kids and teenagers.

20 Ways to Make Money as a Teen

Wondering how to make money without a job, or how to make money as a teenager and juggle school and friends? Side hustles for teens can help you learn valuable life skills while also making an income of your own. 

There are plenty of realistic ways for teens to make extra money—without getting a part-time job. From baking to gaming and pet sitting, we list 20 ways you can turn your talents, hobbies and passions into a side gig.

20 money-making ideas for kids and teens (without getting a job) 

Too young to get a part-time job or don’t want to commit to someone else’s schedule? Here’s 20 ways you can make money as a teen!

Front view of Black teen girl baking cookies for her own business in kitchen at home

1. Baking

Baking can be a great way to bring in some extra dough, from one-off bake sales that don’t require committing to a full-blown baking business or selling your treats online or locally, like kid-owned Sweet August bakery. Remember to price your baked goods so they cover your ingredient costs, consider your time and labour, and still allow you to still make a profit.

2. Babysitting

Looking after other people’s kids after school or over the summer holidays is another great way to earn some money on the side—and is one of the most popular jobs for teenagers. There’s no set price to charge but rates in Canada can average $14-$15 an hour. Babysitting courses and first-aid certifications may also help you gain an edge over other babysitters in the neighbourhood, and even charge more.

3. Chores

Sometimes, the answer to how to make money as a kid is right at home! Household chores are a tried-and-true way for kids and teens to make money. If you’re younger, you could easier tackle chores like sweeping, vacuuming, folding laundry and making beds. Older teens can take on larger chores like grocery shopping, cooking dinner, cutting the grass, or doing laundry.

Happy teen girl who is a content creator recording a video on dslr camera, holding a juice

4. Content creator

Creative teens who love to write, take photos, draw, create social videos and tell stories could find ways to turn these skills into side hustles, right from their phones or computers. Perhaps there’s a local neighbourhood business in need of some fresh photos or TikTok reels, or maybe your parents know a local entrepreneur in need of a new website. Ask your customers what their goals are, who their current customers are, and what customers they’re trying to attract.

Read more: How to become an influencer as a teen.

5. Dog walker

Dog walking can be one of the best summer jobs for teens in Canada and is a great way to spend fun time outside in the sun while getting paid. Apps like Rover can help you book gigs and stay organized. It can also be a great option for teens who have been begging for a dog to spend some quality time with a furry friend.

Read more: How to budget for a family pet.

Teen boy dog walker kneeling down companding large dog to sit with a hand signal.

6. Game tester

Believe it or not, some teens get paid to play and test video games, which is one way to make money online as a teenager. Depending on the testing platform, you may have to be 16 to sign up. As a game tester, you’ll look for bugs and limitations and report them back to the designers. Game testing pays between $15-$18 an hour, on average.

Read more: How to become a professional gamer.

7. Graphic designer

Artsy teens with graphic design talents could make money designing images for businesses or people, from logos to holiday cards. Hourly rates for graphic designers vary but in Canada, the median hourly rate is about $28. Software like Canva can help you easily adapt pre-existing design templates and colour palettes and find ideas for products to offer. For large file sizes, you may also need a safe cloud storage and transfer system, like Dropbox or WeTransfer. 

8. Make jewellery 

Making jewellery like earrings, necklaces, rings and brackets can be a great way for trailblazing teens to get crafty and kickstart a side hustle. You can sell them at craft shows, through social media, and family networks, or create personalized and custom jewellery for special occasions like birthdays and prom.

Teen girl playing with with a cat she is pet sitting.

9. Pet sitting 

Taking care of other people’s pets when a neighbour or family friend is out of town can be a fun way to earn some extra cash. What you charge will depend on whether you’re at home, travelling to their home, and what’s involved in caring for the pet. For example, looking after a hamster may be easier than a dog or a cat. Record their feeding schedule and care preferences and organize a schedule to ensure you care for them at the right times. If you need a place to start, pet-sitting apps like Rover could help you find clients.

Teen girl making hand made jewellery and listening music while sitting at home

10. Sell homemade crafts 

Crafty teens can make a buck by selling their own handmade crafts like candles, soaps, knit clothes, accessories, or paintings. You can sell them online or through sites like Etsy, at a farmers’ market booth, and even through social media or word-of-mouth. Be sure to consider the costs of materials, shipping, and labour when pricing your handmade crafts.

11. Shovel snow

A snow shovel, warm and waterproof winter clothing, and some muscle power could earn some serious side cash. Go around the neighbourhood and knock on doors to find local clients or walk around with a shovel on snowy days. Price jobs according to how much surface there is to shovel and how much time it could take, but as a ballpark, you could make around $20 an hour.

Teenager removing snow with a shovel in the winter

12. Streamer

Livestreaming or broadcasting is something gamers can do on Twitch or YouTube, or even indirectly on TikTok—and you can get paid for it! You could make money from your video views or get paid from ad partnerships and brand sponsorships. A Twitch streamer with five to 10 viewers per stream could earn $50 to $200 per month, or someone with 10,000 streams could earn $30,000 every month. But if you’re looking for inspiration, Canadian video gamer Imane Anys, who goes by the Twitch name Pokimane, made $1.5 million on Twitch over two years.

13. Teach music

If you know your guitar riff from a lick or can perform a drum solo, you could make money on the side by teaching others how to play instruments. How much you charge for music lessons can vary and depend on things like whether lessons will be in their home, a studio or virtually like over Zoom. Typically, teaching music pays between $25-$32 per hour.

Teenager Ukulele Guitar teacher teaching girl music

14. Teach tech 

Growing up with tech means you’ve got skills that other people will be willing to pay for—especially older people! Teaching coding, how to use social media, or internet basics to adults can be a great job on the side. Choose an hourly rate that reflects personal tech experience or focuses on a specific technical skill like Procreate or coding. Local businesses may even be interested in making a deal for ongoing support and maintenance. 

15. Thrift clothing

Fashion-loving teens can refresh their personal wardrobes while also making money on the side by thrifting gently used clothing they no longer want or no longer fit. Clothes can be sold online, through social media and clothing marketplace websites and apps like Poshmark, on Instagram, or even garage sale styles on the front lawn.

16. TikTok

There are a few different ways kids and teens can make money on TikTok. Creating content that goes viral, showcasing brands, or building a following can generate anywhere from $200 to as much as $200,000 a month for TikTok superstars. Becoming a TikTok influencer requires an angle, a vision, and often, a marketing plan. But if you’re already spending time on TikTok, it could be a side hustle that flexes your social media skills. However, some ways to make money on TikTok require you to be 18 or older.

17. Tutor

Tutoring neighbourhood kids in math, French, English or other subjects can be a great way to keep brains sharp and help other kids keep on top of their schooling. Ask parents in the neighbourhoods or teachers at local schools to help get the word out. Tutoring sessions can be held in home or virtually online, and average hourly rates tend to be around $20.

18. Wash cars

Got some buckets, sponges, a garden hose, and car washing detergent kicking around? Why not try setting up a car wash to make some cash, whether it’s a formal ongoing business or an impromptu roadside outfit with homemade signs. 

Smiling young woman gardener with curly hair pruning trees in the yard near her house. Teenager with pruner or pruning shears cutting branches at summer garden.

19. Yard work 

Yard work can be a lucrative side job, especially in spring, summer and fall as people are preparing garden beds, mowing lawns, and raking leaves. Ask locals, such as seniors, if they need a helping hand. Walk around with a rake and garden bags, or get creative and advertise services using posters, social media, or lawn signs. Figure out an hourly that works for you and considers supplies like lawn bags or garden tools in your budget.

20. YouTube

There are several ways you can make money on YouTube, from “unboxing” videos, to makeup and fashion tutorials, to craft tutorials, to music performances, and more. For example, Ryan’s World’s YouTuber Ryan Kaji and his family have raked in some serious funds through millions of video views. The more views videos you have, the more money you could make from YouTube advertisements. Having a marketing strategy can help boost the income potential. YouTube takes almost half of ad revenue, but a viral video watched half a million times can earn over $1,000 after YouTube’s share. 

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for kids and teens.