Managing money with ADHD

It's a neurotypical rich mans world [230]

Managing money with ADHD


Welcome to Hello Computer. A newsletter about being different. I’m Pete Carr (they/them) an autisticwriter and photographer identifying as non-binary with ADHD and sprinkles on top.


The photos in this post are photos from a trip to Nessebar, Bulgaria 10 years ago. Lovely place. Avoid the area near by called Sunny Beach. It’s a manufactured space for English people. Ugh.

A nun and a woman in a swimsuit walk past a "VIP Striptease salon" on a beach

Captain’s Log

Captai’s log. Carrdate, today. I’ve been workshopping the idea of making my own personal Slack for business reasons. What if I could connect various tools I use for business and funnel all the notifications via Slack? For one I could have a good log of business events, but I could also mute Slack when in down time. This could just be a distraction from work or it could be a way to be more efficient at work. I’ll keep pondering.

Managing money with ADHD

I am awful at managing anything. I’ve spent years trying and trying and trying only to continually fail. Money is one of those major areas where I have trouble, and it’s not helped by being self-employed. There is no regular income whereby I can plan for. My life would be better off with a steady salary, budgets set in place and consistency. Unfortunately being undiagnosed autistic for most of my life meant I couldn’t work a 9–5 for “reasons”. So I built my own 9–5 and here we are. Diagnosed with a to-do list of problems split across multiple to-do apps.

Since getting my ADHD diagnosis a few weeks ago I’ve been thinking about money. The other night it occured to me to see if any banks are offering useful features. Good news! There are. Monzo and Starling, two which I looked into switching to about 3 years ago (ugh), come recommended by people with ADHD. They are both free to use and have additional features if you pay. At this point I can’t say which is the clear winner. People on Reddit have various opinions. Monzo does have a good list of blog posts and articles on how they can help with ADHD which is more than Starling.

The main features they offer for ADHD / neurodivergent people (btw I heard the term neurospicy recently and kinda like it) are;

  • Pots (Monzo / Spaces (Starling) - allow you to automatically save into separate spaces to organise your money
  • Budgeting facilities - with Monzo you can set spending budgets
  • Both Monzo and Starling are on Github. Nice.
  • Monzo has a community forum but I can’t find one for Starling but there is a Starling Reddit (4,500 members), and a Monzo one (14,800 members).
  • Virtual cards - Free on Starling / Paid on Monzo - you could have a shopping-only card so you can save for the weekly shop and take money only from that pot
  • Joint accounts on both as long as both people have a separate account on that platform
  • From someone on the Monzo forum - “I find Monzo plus to be worth the £5/month. The live budgeting really helps with impulse control and helps you see the route to recovery when you overspend on something.”

I can see a lot of those features being useful to me. Having the ability to put money into as many virtual accounts as I want, so I can better plan for tomorrow, is helpful. What would be even better, and I don’t know if banks offer this, is to automatically put 30% of an incoming payment directly into a savings pot. What I could do with is a money-saving AI, but a good, safe and secure one.

I like the idea of virtual cards attached to pots/spaces so I could put aside money for beer and only see that account’s balance instead of thinking I have “loads” of money. Both banks have good budgeting facilities to help you manage your money and show you what you’re spending it on.


  • Monzo doesn’t support receiving international payments for business users and recommends Wise
  • I saw one person on Reddit say that Monzo sometimes tries to upsell you on the Plus / Premium accounts
  • Monzo’s European fees are free up to £200/month outside EEA (3% thereafter) and free up to £250/month inside EEA (3% thereafter) whereas Starling has no limits or fees
  • Starling doesn’t do personal loans and Monzo doesn’t do business loans
  • Open Banking Support is a Plus/Premium feature on Monzo so you can see all your accounts in Monzo. Starling doesn’t appear to offer this feature. I use MoneyWiz to see all my accounts at once and tell me how bad things really are.
  • To pay in a cheque with Monzo, you must mail it to them. I’m used to scanning it with my banking app. If I have to mail something, that’s not getting sorted anytime soon. Starling offers scanning via app.
  • Monzo doesn’t support Samsung Pay but does support Google & Apple Pay. Starling supports all three.
  • To use Monzo Business with a 3rd party accountancy app like FreeAgent, QuickBooks or Xero you’ll need to pay for a Pro account. It’s free with Starling.

Which is best?

I’m finding it hard to choose. Monzo says that they designed their service for people like me and from some users’ comments I can believe that. Monzo has a lot of blog posts on their site, more users on their Reddit and lots of videos on YouTube. There’s tons of support out there for it.

One autistic user mentioned that they prefer Starling for its clarity. My feeling is that Monzo is best with the paid Plus account for £5/month, but you can get close enough with a free Starling account. Starling might be better for my business account as it can take international payments and has free connectivity to my accountancy software, FreeAgent.

I’m leaning towards Starling. The logical thing to do is try Starling for work and Monzo for personal and see how they do.

FYI, searching for Starling and ADHD on YouTube brings up a lot of ASMR videos by someone called Starling ASMR. Hard to find anything useful there. There are plenty of Monzo videos on YouTube.

More info

A beach in Nessebar. There's a yellow boat moored by some rocks, and lots of beach umbrellas out.

Transporter room

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“Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.” Christopher Pike, Captain USS Discovery.

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