Unlike an old song that our moms and dads used to sing to, a new study says that yes, money can buy happiness — But it all depends on the things you buy with your money.
Researchers of the study entitled Buying Time Promotes Happiness found that people who spent money on the right things are happier than those who go to all sorts of trouble to avoid spending.
Among the things that happier people spend on are services that do menial tasks for us, like a cleaning service or takeout food.
“Around the world, increases in wealth have produced an unintended consequence: a rising sense of time scarcity,” authors of the study wrote. “We provide evidence that using money to buy time can provide a buffer against this time famine, thereby promoting happiness.”
The study was published in Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences and as a result of studying 4,500 people, Denmark, Canada and Netherlands, asking how they spent their money and their life satisfaction.
Twenty-eights percent reported spending money on time-saving services and those people felt more satisfaction in their lives.
“If there’s some task that just thinking about it fills you with dread, then it’s probably worth considering whether you can afford to buy your way out of it,” said Elizabeth Dunn, one of the authors of the study and a professor at University of British Columbia.
The results are the same in all income levels, although the authors admitted that very few came from the very low income bracket.
“Despite the potential benefits of buying time, many respondents allocated no discretionary income to buying time, even when they could afford it: just under half of the 818 millionaires that we surveyed spent no money outsourcing disliked tasks,” they noted.
So, to sum things up, money can buy happiness if that purchase is one that will buy you time.