If you were given $40 on the condition that you had to spend it on something that would make you really happy, what would you do with the money? Some people might treat themselves to dinner or a movie, others might go shopping, even fewer might donate to cause. But would you have ever thought to use that $40 to “buy” yourself more free time?
According to a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people who buy time by paying someone to complete common household chores like cooking, shopping, cleaning, and lawn mowing are more satisfied with life. And it’s not just wealthy people. Across a range of incomes, careers and countries, timesaving purchases were correlated with less time-related stress and more positive feelings.
If You CAN Actually Buy Happiness, Why Don’t More People Do It?
Researchers’ surveys showed that very few individuals think to spend money in this way. Most adults feel they are short on time, and many cite the same as a reason for anxiety, insomnia, and even obesity. So why are we so reluctant to consider investing in time capital?
There are many potential reasons, some people who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy, or that this is a luxury reserved for the wealthy.
Social psychologist and the study’s lead author, Ashley Whillans suspects the abstract nature of time may be to blame. “We always think we’re going to have more time tomorrow than we do right now,” she said, so we’re hesitant to trade money, which is concrete and measurable, for time, which is much more uncertain.
So How Do I Buy Happiness
There’s no magic answer for how to stretch our dollars to achieve maximum happiness, but this research should help people feel less guilty when it comes to spending money to save time.
“If there’s a task that you dread doing that is one of the most miserable parts of your week, ask yourself if paying somebody else to do it is something you can afford,” said UBC psychology professor and the study’s senior author, Elizabeth Dunn. “If the answer is yes, even if it seems a bit indulgent, it’s probably a good use of money.”
Moonlighting is a great source for hiring the help you need to buy back your free time. With more than 500,000 professional freelancers, you can easily outsource lawn mowing, cooking, cleaning shopping, dog walking, or any other task that you’d be happier getting off your plate.
Take back your tomorrow, hire a Moonlighter today.