Money Can Buy Happiness

Using money to buy more time brings a greater sense of happiness.

A new study has found that people feel happier when their money is used to save time, rather than to buy things. The experiment revealed that paying someone to do tasks or chores, freed up more time to do the things that bring joy.

Stress over a lack of time is leading to increased reports of a lower sense of well-being and is contributing to greater levels of anxiety and insomnia, according to psychologists.

Paying someone to do something that needs to be done but that I would rather not have to do certainly makes me feel happier. When we’ve been able to pay someone to clean our house, do the ironing, wash the dishes, clean the car and mow the lawn, I have felt a greater sense of joy. It’s freed me up to spend more time with my family, to go for long walks or take a drive and do some sightseeing at the weekend, rather than feeling guilty about the pile of washing that still needs to be done or the carpets that need to be vacuumed or the lawn that needs to be mown.

Time is the most valuable commodity of the twenty-first century and with the ever-increasing demands, it makes sense to pay someone to free up some of our time – if you can afford it.

This latest study was devised by researchers who worked on a two week experiment with 60 working adults in Vancouver, Canada.

On one weekend, participants were asked to spend $40 on a purchase that would save them time. They did things like buying lunches to be delivered to work, paying neighbourhood children to run errands for them, or paying for cleaning services.

On the other weekend, they were told to spend the windfall on material goods. Material purchases included wine, clothes and books.

The research, published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found time-saving compared with material purchases increased happiness by reducing feelings of time stress.

Past research has found that people who prioritise time over money tend to be happier than people who prioritise money over time.

Think about it. What could you pay somebody else to do for you? If you can afford it, science says it’s a pretty good use of your money.

  • Make a wish list of all the things you would rather pay someone else to do
  • Now make a list of all the different options you have when it comes to paying someone to do those things – be creative, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • Check your budget – what can you afford to pay for someone to help you?
  • How much time will you save and what will the long-term benefit of that be?
  • Trim down that wish list to the top three things you could get someone else to do for you and then start with the first one.
  • Try it out. Commit to a trial period of three to six months. Does it really save you time? If it does, what are you doing with your extra time?
  • Make sure you use your extra time to do something you really love.

Neither money nor time can actually buy happiness, but if we can free up some time to spend with the people we love or do the things we love, we will quite possibly feel a greater sense of satisfaction and joy.

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