Sit Less To Save Money

no sitting

Sitting is the new smoking, it seems. While the medical establishment has long been trying to get people to become more active, various studies have been focusing on the negative effects of sitting too long rather than simply looking at the positives of exercise. A recent study showed that sitting less than three hours per day may add up to two years to your life expectancy. It’s no longer enough to exercise thirty minutes a day. You have to keep moving all day long.

While it’s definitely a benefit to your health to keep moving, I see it as a benefit to your wallet, as well. Many things that we spend money on either require us to be seated, or result in us sitting even more. Meals out? Seated. Movies? Seated. Cable TV? Seated. Video games? Seated (unless you’re talking exer-games). Cars? Seated. Flat screen TV’s? Seated. Tablets/computers? Seated. Even cell phones are a sedentary activity unless you make the effort to move while you’re talking or texting. While some of this is inescapable (you probably have to drive at least some of the time, for example), there is an argument to be made that a lot of spending activities are also seated activities.

On the other hand, many of the things that we do to save money require us to be up and around. Cleaning your own house instead of hiring someone? Activity. Biking or walking to work/school? Activity. Doing your own yard work? Activity. Handling your own maintenance, repairs, and chores? Activity. Moving yourself instead of hiring movers? Major activity. Spending a day at the park with the kids instead of going to the movies? Activity. Cooking your own meals? Activity. Growing your own garden? Activity. Building or making something instead of going for the pre-made solution? Activity. Playing games with the family like Twister, Wii Sports, tag, or hide and seek instead of paying for cable? Activity. In most cases, the more steps you take to save money and cut expenses, the more active you are.

We’ve convenienced ourselves to death. We’ve tried so hard to make everything easy for ourselves and if we can’t make it easy, we pay someone else to do it. We make it so that we don’t have to get up to do anything. Email/IM means we don’t even have to get up to go talk to someone three rooms away. Heck, some sofas even come with built in refrigerators now so we don’t even have to get up to get a drink. Many money saving activities, however, harken back to a time when everything wasn’t so easy, when some manual labor was required to get anything done and when there wasn’t a service you could pay to do it for you.

If you’re really against sitting and have some extra time on your hands, you can even make money by sitting less. You can take a part time job in a field like retail or construction where you don’t sit much. You can deliver packages or pizzas. You can hire yourself out to those who choose to remain sedentary. You can clean their homes, mow their lawns, and handle their maintenance. You can move their furniture, walk their dogs, or scoop their dog’s poop. Just as there are plenty of ways to save money by sitting less, there are plenty of ways to make money by being up and active.

It’s not an easy adjustment to make and many people balk at the idea of doing things the “hard way.” Mention to someone that they could bike those three miles to work instead of drive and you can practically see their hair curl. But the hard way is better for your physical health and your financial health. The more you do yourself, the fewer tasks you turn over to others, and the less you rely on conveniences, the better off you are. Think about what you might do with those extra two years of your life.

(Photo courtesy of mattzor)

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6 Responses to Sit Less To Save Money

  1. jay says:

    Good points. I suspect, though, a lot of the sitting -or even worse, standing- is at work, for which there are few solutions (your cited study’s examples were pretty minimal and not universally applicable, much less acceptable).
    Since you can get just as tired at work while sitting/standing, coming home to a host of physical chores can be daunting -even it you’ve technically the time to do them. Hence, we’re tempted to pay others to do them.

    That said, one of the best pieces of advice from years ago is “walk your dog … even if you don’t have one” or, as you suggest, walk your neighbor’s dog.

  2. Diane says:

    I agree! I’m in favor of moving as much as possible. Since I work at home, I sometimes work standing up with the laptop on the table or counter. I enjoy gardening, lawn work & walking for relaxation… guess I’m just lucky that I enjoy activity!

    When I worked full-time in an office I still managed to do the yard work & keep the house clean, while being a single parent to 2 active boys & getting them to soccer & coaching, scouts, camping ~ didn’t have a spare minute to sit unless I was driving somewhere.

    I think people have gotten somewhat lazy & spoiled… & developed the habit of sitting instead of moving.

  3. BD Williams says:

    Its funny that I stumbled on this article today. I just told my wife I wanted to cancel our cable subscription because I feel we are wasting our life in front of the television.

  4. Gail says:

    I wish I could spend more time up and moving. Having to spend hours sitting with my feet propped up every day and not being able to do what I want activity-wise is ahuge bummer. Doing the dishes requires sit down breaks for me every 5-10 minutes. Just about every activity I have had to figure out a way to accomplish it sitting. In other words, don’t get a really bad disease that takes the starch out of you. If I don’t sit with my legs up my ankles swell up so bad and are very painful on top of other pain I have just isn’t worth it.

    That being said I agree very much with the article. I used to part far away from entrance doors just to get the walking in. I used to walk a mile to work, worked on my feet all day and walked hom again. My weight stayed where it was supposed to and I felt good. Wish I could have those days again!

  5. Pingback: Link Roundup: Sit Less to Save Money | Credit Karma Blog

  6. Valerie says:

    Great article.

    I was surprised by this recent study. Those who do cardio for a set time a few times a week and are sedentary are worse off than those who don’t sit a lot.

    Having lots of dogs, a cat, 2 birds and an aquarium – I don’t sit still or if I do not for long.

    Yet another benefit of pet ownership (all except the fish are rescues).

    Also have a garden and that takes some maintenance and is excercise.

    And cooking from scratch you do have to stand and move.

    Am taking this a step further (no pun intended) by doing leg lifts, squats and heel raises while doing kitchen work.

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