What’s the secret to happiness?
Spend your money on experiences, not things
The Wall Street Journal reported that people feel happier when they pay to save time than when they buy something nice for themselves.
Spending on things like housecleaning services or grocery delivery left people feeling more satisfied than spending on things like new clothes and wine.
And while this was reported in an American paper, the findings held true for people in different countries, and at different income levels.
Even though people feel better when they spend money to free up time, they often don’t choose to do it.
The same results showed up in a survey of more than 6,000 adults from the U.S., Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The researchers asked the participants about their typical spending habits and their life satisfaction, and found that people who typically spent money on saving time reported greater satisfaction.
This finding held even when we took individuals’ wealth into account.
The benefits of buying time were remarkably consistent across the income spectrum.
But only 50% of respondents actually chose to spend money to buy time, and only 28% spent it on outsourcing disliked tasks.
Why? Isn’t it obvious that it is more enjoyable to pay someone to clean the bathroom while you watch Netflix in your pyjamas?
Ongoing research by Dr. Whillans and Dr. Norton at Harvard Business School suggests that one barrier to buying time is that people often feel guilty about paying someone else to complete their disliked tasks.
To the extent that people feel that they are creating a burden for the service provider—rather than an opportunity to earn money—even those who could benefit from buying time might choose not to participate in the sharing economy.
Now…that’s intersting isn’t it.
So the lesson is don’t feel guilty about buying yourself time
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