When the New Year rolls around many of us focus on making financial resolutions. These goals often include things getting out of debt, saving more or negotiating a higher salary. These are all worthy endeavors and they all have something in common. The result of achieving any of these goals is reduced stress and happiness. The fact is, limiting stress in your life can actually mean spending a little more money too
The results of a study, published earlier this year, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that spending money to save time instead of making material purchases can reduce stress and improve overall happiness.[i] The study maintains that despite rising incomes in developed countries people in these areas feel increasingly pressed for time. “Using large, diverse samples from the United States, Canada, Denmark, and The Netherlands, the research shows that individuals who spend money on time-saving services report greater life satisfaction.”
Order More Take-Out
Lead author of the study, Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, said “People who spent money to buy themselves time, such as by outsourcing disliked tasks, reported greater overall life satisfaction.”[ii] Regardless of income, people who outsourced things like housecleaning, yardwork or ordering take-out reported more overall happiness.
You’re Not Lazy
The study also indicates that these time saving strategies especially benefit women who work all day and feel like they come home to a “second shift” of housecleaning and other chores. Despite these revelations, many people who can easily afford outsourcing these duties don’t. The common reason given for not having others perform these tasks is to avoid laziness. The research, however, suggests it’s important to think of these solutions as your personal “escape hatch from the excessive time pressure of modern life.”[iii]