Money is interesting. It’s one of the most extreme concepts. It can be used to buy anything you want anywhere in the world, and yet it has no intrinsic value.
Like an inspiring dream, money can be a means to experience the best life has to offer or, like a nightmare, it can trigger our deepest fears. Money is complex in so many ways.
Money can be a source of guilt and resentment. It can be used to gain power and control. It can cause fights and end friendships.
And, money a means to project and reflect on all that is going on in our lives.
Can money buy happiness? Up until last year, studies showed that the answer was, for the most part, no. While happiness levels do increase with income, after a certain point, there is very little correlation between income and happiness.
I don’t know many people who would say, “No thank you, I don’t want more money,” even if more stress often accompanies more money.
Of course, people still like the idea of more money. At least I do.
Being in the business of happiness, I was very interested in the results of a 2017 study by Harvard Business School that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings suggested that happiness may be improved if we spend money to save ourselves time. This is because many people stress about the limited time we have in a day.
The study found people who “buy time,” by paying others to help them with tasks and chores, reported greater overall life satisfaction.
When people spent the same amount of money on consumables and material goods, they didn’t report this same happiness. This was based on a series of surveys involving close to 4,500 people.
So what does this mean for you? If you find that you are spending more of your time dreading the doing things that do not bring you joy, instead of buying something you don’t really need, use that money to:
1. Hire a cleaning service. Do you really love the idea of scrubbing toilets, showers and mopping floors? If not, hire someone. You’ll be supporting a local business, as well as supporting yourself!
2. Hire a yard service. If you don’t love mowing the lawn and trimming the bushes, then it’s a great value to have someone else that loves doing this take care of your yard.
3. Hire a handyman. If you are procrastinating and dreading tackling all those jobs around the house, buy time some time by hiring someone else to fix them.
We are raised to think that we need to do it all, but in this day and age, it’s important to take care of ourselves, and be responsible for our own happiness. Your happiness is the greatest gift that you can give to the world.