If someone is struggling to organise their bills because they cannot remember what needs to be paid when, then it can be a good idea for them to set reminders on their phone or laptop, and use things such as calendars and charts. This way they will be able to see in several different places exactly what money comes in, and needs to be paid out, and when. It also makes it much easier for them to get in to a routine. Obviously remembering when the bills go out is very important, so there is no harm in somebody using multiple reminders, or charts. If they are struggling to interact with people socially when it comes to dealing with paying out money that shouldn’t be too big an issue nowadays as the majority of banking and financial transactions can be done on-line. It might be worth somebody with autism setting up an on-line bank account to minimise the social interactions they need to have.
If someone feels that they are being taken advantage of where money is concerned the best thing that they can do is go to somebody for help. This could be a family member or friend, or even a professional. Even though the person might not want to admit they need help, they may begin to recognise that others are taking advantage of the fact that they are perhaps more trusting, and less confident than a lot of other people. If a person is worried that they might not notice when this is happening then it might be worth their time asking somebody to take a look over their financial transactions, or to be present whenever they are dealing with money. It might seem patronising, but really it is just a form of self-preservation. However, the person with autism may not be aware that they are being taken advantage of, and think the person taking advantage is their friend.
Some people with autism may spend money they need for bills or rent on their special interest. They may do this without thinking, and not even realise how much they have ended up spending. One of the best ways of dealing with this is by using another aspect of autism – the desire for routine; it may be that the person with autism needs some help when they are first doing this, but they should work out exactly what their monthly expenditure will be, and get in to a routine where that money is not touched – it simply goes in to a bank account. They can work out exactly how much money they will have left over, and use this as their budget for indulging in their special interest. It may be that this is not a lot, but if a person can get in to a routine things should be less stressful for them. Even though special interests are important, a large part of maturing, and being able to gain financial independence is the person having the ability to distinguish between what they want to spend money on, and what they need to spend money on. It is simple logic that if all the money for bills and rent is spent on something else, the person will eventually get in to debt, and may end up losing their home – and therefore will not have any money to spend on their special interest.
Part three of this Autism and Money series continues to look at tips to help with the possible problems experienced by some people with autism when it comes to money.