How Does Autism affect my budgeting?
I don’t think I have shared this on my blog before, but I have a teenage son that I care for and he has Autism.
I know I’m not the only person in this situation, so thought I would share some of the positives and negatives that come with caring for someone with Autism brings, especially in terms of budgeting.
In my experience, feeding and caring for someone who has Autism can be a real challenge, and I have added extra money to my budget to allow for his like, dislikes, preferences and food aversions.
The difficulties with ASD and budgeting
Autism means that he cannot always eat whatever we are eating, or that I cannot just keep the heating off to save money. Sensory issues mean he gets cold easily, loves a certain food one day and then hates it the next.
Batch cooking is all very well and good, but not for a person who has a fear of germs, hates the texture of pre-frozen foods, or swears they can taste the metal/plastic of the containers that you’ve stored food in.
My food bills can be considerably more expensive than that of a normal family of three. There are certain brands that my son cannot eat (and yes, I say cannot, instead of will not, as these things are not a choice for him). He cannot eat value basic brands of food, except for peanuts (go figure).
He only eats 2 brands of cereals, Kellogg’s and Tesco. I can’t shop at Aldi or Lidl often, as he won’t try new brands of foods and definitely won’t eat a brand that he doesn’t recognise.
The positives with ASD and budgeting
There are positives though.
The main one being that he is incredibly logical in his thinking, and as long as I already have the food/brands that he likes in the cupboards, he will go days eating the same things (Kellogg’s cereal for breakfast, Spanish omelettes for lunch and fish, chips and peas for dinner) and not expect me to go food shopping for anything else.
He generally likes easy to cook, cheaper foods. Like pasta, potatoes, tomato sauces, spaghetti bolognaise etc.
When I tell him I don’t have any money left in the budget to buy any extra food/treats, he accepts it straight away and never complains.
He 100% supports my financial goals, as he sees that value in money, being debt free and having savings in the bank.
So, while there are certainly challenges, there are also real positives. Of course, some of these positives are because of his age (19) and placement on the Autistic Spectrum. He is verbal, his cognitive function is good and he understands the reasoning behind most things. While meltdowns are frequent in regards to getting him to try new foods (often cheaper brands that he isn’t familiar with), occasionally we have a breakthrough. It normally involves him seeing the unfamiliar item roughly 20 times before considering trying it.
So, I have noticeably higher food bills and heating bills than average, I would say. But that is all part and parcel of caring for someone in my family with Autism, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Of course, you may care for someone with Autism and have none of these challenges, or may have a whole heap more than these. Why not pop me a message below and let me know what struggles you face with budgeting and Autism? Or even better, share your positives!
Why not go over and visit Our Collective Life, who blogs about
Dissociative Identity Disorder. She has a great post about how this illness effects her finances https://ourcollectivelife.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/its-expensive-being-ill/?fbclid=IwAR0fP7VSV2by3qntK40tR0Q8gLlQP-PNChjHve_E5k8J8mtEhiJzBMsMU3c