Having Trouble Sticking to Your Budget? Make Your Bed

Having trouble sticking to your budget? Try making your bed everyday. Why? Well, according to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, making your bed is correlated with better productivity and sticking with a budget. While I couldn’t find the study where that correlation is shown, I can believe it.

That’s because changing one thing can change how you think — in addition to creating a sort of domino effect that impacts other areas of your life.

Creating a new habit

If you don’t budget (or make your bed, for that matter) but want to, think about how creating a new habit or changing an existing one can benefit you. We’re very much creatures of habit, so making a change in just one area of our life can spill over to other areas in surprising ways.

For example, I couldn’t drive my car for a few months when it was damaged. So I typically got a ride to work and then walked home afterward, or sometimes rode my bike. I was surprised at just how much of what I did changed because of that. I spent significantly less, ate out less, exercised more, and generally got a lot more done. All because it was a little more difficult for me to do things on the spur of the moment. (Since going the places I normally went now required a 10-30 minute walk vs. a 5-10 minute drive.)

Smaller things can have the same type of impact. Even something as little as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand can get your mind going in a new direction; and who knows what could come of that :)

Keystone habits

Making your bed can be considered what Duhigg calls a keystone habit: something that “helps other habits to flourish by creating new structures”. Maybe making your bed creates a need for order in your brain, which spills over into a need for order in your finances. Maybe it gives you a sense of satisfaction in a job well done — however small — that creates a desire to do equally well in other daily life tasks. Keeping your spending in line is definitely one of those.

Or maybe it’s just something that people who budget tend to do. In fact, let’s take a little informal poll right now in the comments. Leave a comment real quick letting us know if you:

  1. Budget AND make your bed.
  2. Do one OR the other.
  3. Do neither.

I’m curious to see the results.


  • I think this touches on one of my key factors to success, and that’s focusing on one thing until it becomes automatic. The biggest problem that people have with sticking to a budget (or any really behavior change) is they’ll try to implement every aspect all at once. When it becomes overwhelming, they give up. A better strategy is to focus on one element of budgeting. Maybe tracking your cash spending. Once you have that down, move onto something else. You sort of back into it in a way. It will take time, but by working into it gradually, I really believe you increase your chances of success.

  • Josh

    I make my bed and have a budget.

  • Luanne

    I absolutely believe this. I budget and make my bed. When one start slipping, so does the other, although I’ve never really thought about it like that before. But if I get lazy with my good habits, they all start to slide.

  • Guess I should join the poll too :)

    I make my bed, and have a spending plan of sorts. (I lean toward more of the no-budget budget method, though.)

  • I like the idea of tricking your brain into new things. I am goin to try this over the next week and see how it goes.

  • I make my bed and do not have a budget. Or rather, I do not have a formal one. I’m paying last month’s credit card bills due to the nature of billing cycles, and I put money toward rent and goals.

  • The bottom line is people’s ability to stick to their budgets which is quite difficult to do. Building keystone habits can help especially if people stick to them. Then, sticking to your budget will not be hard after all.

  • Eeeeeek, I definitely *don’t* make my bed… I used to, and I have to admit, when I did I always felt like I started my day with a little more pep, feeling a little more organized, feeling a little more confident. I may try this!

  • I like this, how all actions are connected. I definitely believe this and can see that I have plenty of work to do! :)

  • Nicole

    Budget & bed maker :)