You may have heard the saying before - “money doesn’t buy happiness.” I certainly agree with this point, to an extent. It can also be said that poverty doesn’t make you happy either.
One of the most common stressors in our life today is a lack of time. Although technology has made it easier than ever before to be productive and accomplish multiple tasks at once, we still seem to struggle in finding enough time in the day to take care of ourselves.
According to a recent study, “feelings of time stress are in turn linked to lower well-being, including reduced happiness, increased anxiety, and insomnia.” Time stress can also be linked to obesity rates, since a lack of time means a lack of exercise and cooking healthy foods.
What if you used your money to buy you time?
Spending money on time-saving tasks has been found to increase happiness after research was conducted on a wide range of individuals from the United States, Canada, Denmark, and The Netherlands. The study found working adults reported an increase in happiness levels after spending money on time-saving tasks rather than on material goods.
You probably already do this without even realizing it.
Common ways everyone already uses money to increase happiness include eating out at a restaurant (you don’t have to do the cooking yourself), driving to work in a car (you don’t have to walk, ride a bike, or take public transit), daycare (you don’t have to quit work to take care of your children all day), or hiring a financial planner (you don’t have to research and manage your finances yourself).
Still feel like you’re crunched for time? Consider what other tasks you have to do on a regular basis that 1. You hate doing and 2. Can be outsourced for an affordable price.
Time-saving purchases to increase your happiness could include hiring a house cleaning service, lawn care service, food preparation service, fast food delivery, personal at-home trainer, bill pay service, or more.
Maybe you love doing these tasks yourself to stay busy after work, and that’s great! I’ve learned that Bill Gates loves doing the dishes at home, as the monotonous task gives him the opportunity to relax his mind. I think these tasks still have a valuable role in our lives, even if we can afford to outsource them.
Using money to outsource tasks you dislike can increase happiness, as it reduces the total amount of tasks you have to squeeze into a given week or month.
For example, if you hate taking care of your lawn, why don’t you consider hiring a lawn care service? Let’s say it costs $200 per month to take care of everything from mowing the lawn to watering the plants. This $200 could easily free up 5-10 hours of your time every month. What could you do with that time? You could spend it playing with your kids, starting the side-hustle you’ve always dreamed about, or reading a book to relax for once.
Having said all of this, it is important to remember that the opportunity to buy time comes after you have your other financial goals in order. This means you are saving diligently for retirement, paying down any low interest debt on time, and are not carrying any high interest credit card debt. The opportunity to spend your money on time-saving tasks is a luxury, and should be viewed as such.
Thinking of hiring a financial planner to worry less about your finances and free up some time? Send me a note or schedule a free 30-minute introductory call.
Source: Buying Time Promotes Happiness