Dyscalculia and managing money

By Gretchen Vierstra, MA

At a glance

  • Dyscalculia can make it hard to use and manage money.

  • There are low-cost tools that can help make handling money easier.

  • Trouble with working memory can also play a role.

Being able to manage money is an important life skill. But managing money isn’t easy, and many people have a hard time with it for different reasons. Dyscalculia is a learning difference that can make managing money more challenging — and stressful. 

Dyscalculia makes it hard to do math and everyday tasks that involve math. People with dyscalculia may have trouble with money management tasks like: 

  • Figuring out what something costs 
  • Estimating the total cost of a group of items 
  • Paying for items with cash
  • Making exact change
  • Keeping track of spending

That’s because dyscalculia causes challenges with a set of basic math skills called number sense. Kids and adults with dyscalculia may have trouble understanding concepts like more and less or smaller and larger. They may also not understand quantities. 

And people with dyscalculia may have other challenges that make doing mental math difficult, like trouble with working memory.  All of this can make working with — and managing — money more difficult.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Gretchen Vierstra, MA is the managing editor at Understood and co-host of the 

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Jim Rein, MA has lectured on postsecondary options and summer programs for kids and young adults with learning and thinking differences.