They say money can’t buy love or happiness, but it can buy time… and that, according to some new research out of the University of British Columbia (UBC), is enough to make most people pretty darn satisfied.
The study suggests that paying somebody else to do the monotonous chores you’d rather not touch is a more effective way to achieve happiness than purchasing material possessions.
“People who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy,” said Ashley Whillans, one of the study’s lead authors and an assistant professor at Harvard Business School in a UBC press release. “But our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.”
Could this be the ultimate excuse not to vacuum the basement? It sure sounds like it.
Researchers connected with over 6,000 adults in Canada, the U.S., Denmark and the Netherlands to find out how much cash they forked over each month in exchange for free time, and how they rated their life satisfaction. Those who spent more on time-saving things like housekeepers, cooks, gardeners, etc. reported greater life satisfaction. And the results didn’t change with income, meaning you don’t need to be wealthy to buy your happiness.
“Although buying time can serve as a buffer against the time pressures of daily life, few people are doing it even when they can afford it,” said Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at UBC and the study’s senior author. “Lots of research has shown that people benefit from buying their way into pleasant experiences, but our research suggests people should also consider buying their way out of unpleasant experiences.”
It’s kind of like spending on a series of mini staycations meant to help you relax and enjoy life. So, it might be worth returning those new boots and spending the money on a housekeeper for the next few months. Seems like a reasonable trade.