A recent experiment has found that using money to free-up time is linked to increasing happiness.
Participants reported greater feelings of happiness when spending £30 to save time on things like cleaning, housekeeping and ironing – rather than spending money on material goods.
Psychologists found that lack of time increases stress levels, anxiety and insomnia and also lowers feelings of well-being. Most surprisingly, even some of the very wealthiest people are reluctant to pay people to do the jobs they dislike.
“In a series of surveys we find that people who spend money to buy themselves more free time are happier – that is they have higher life satisfaction,” said Dr Elizabeth Dunn, a psychologist professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Psychologists tested whether money can increase happiness levels by freeing up time.
More than 6,000 adults, including 800 millionaires, were asked questions about how much money they spent on buying more time.
The results found that less than a third of individuals spent money to buy themselves time each month with those who did reporting a greater quality of life and life satisfaction compared to the others.
A two-week experiment was then conducted among 60 working adults.
On one weekend, participants had to spend £30 on something that would save them time – such as getting lunches delivered to work, paying for a cleaner, and paying people to run errands.
On the other weekend, the participants were told to spend the windfall on material goods – such as wine, clothes and books.
The research found that time saving compared with material purchases increased happiness by reducing feelings of time stress.
“And about it, is there something you hate doing that fills you with dread and could you pay somebody else to do that for you?’ If so, then science says that’s a pretty good use of money.” said Prof Dunn, Harvard Business School.
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