Spending money on time-saving services makes you happier than buying stuff, study says

Spending money on time-saving services makes you happier than buying stuff, study says
Posted at 10:10 AM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 10:12:00-04

They say money can't buy happiness, but it can buy you some free time.

And that free time translates into greater life satisfaction, according to a recently published study

Researchers found that working adults who spend money on time-saving services like house cleaning, lawn care and grocery delivery report greater happiness than those who buy material objects.

The study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at about 6,000 American, Canadian, Danish and Dutch workers to see how they spend their income and how they measure their life satisfaction and stress levels.

For many Americans, time has become a scarce resource, yet NPR reports that many people are resistant to spending money on time-saving services.

"Contemplating paying somebody else to do something you're perfectly capable of doing yourself may provoke feelings of guilt," said Elizabeth Dunn, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and an author of the study. "We hypothesized that people would be happier if they spent money to buy themselves out of the things they don't like doing."

Dunn told NPR that people who spent money to buy time reported being one full point higher on their 10-point ladder measuring life satisfaction. 

"Moving people up on the ladder of life satisfaction is not an easy thing to do," Dunn said. "So, if altering slightly how people are spending their money could move them up a full rung, it's something we really want to understand and perhaps encourage people to do."

Read more on the original NPR article here and the study here.