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When Money Can Buy Happiness: Getting the Gift of Time

It’s an age old question: Can money really buy happiness? For many people, the answer is a resounding “no,” as they point to their family, career, and other sources of fulfillment. Others cite studies that show how a higher income can often correlate with higher levels of contentment, at least up until you have a personal income of $105,000 per year.

While we may never know exactly how money fits into the pursuit of happiness, researchers have confirmed at least one way it can make life more joyful. Spending your cash on time-saving services – whether that means hiring an expert gardener or calling your local Merry Maids® for house cleaning – has been shown to improve your overall happiness, by allowing you to win back some precious free time for yourself.

Why Time Is Better than Money

Time is a great equalizer, and according to researchers at the University of British Columbia, it’s also the one thing everyone wishes they had more of. Over the course of their study, more than 6,000 adults were surveyed throughout the United States, Denmark, Canada, and other countries.

The results were surprising even for the researchers, who found that time-saving purchases increased immediate happiness and enjoyment for people of all backgrounds. Not only that, but time-saving services actually increased happiness more for those on the lower end of the income spectrum, who saw significantly reduced “time pressure” at the end of an arduous work day.

Experiences vs. Possessions

When we think of saving time, we also tend to think of all the experiences we could have instead, if only we could live in the moment. You may have heard the popular theory that millennials are now spending more money on experiences than on material possessions – and the booming experience economy seems proof that it’s true. One oft-cited 2015 study by The Harris Group found that over 78% of all millennials do “prefer buying a desirable experience or event” over purchasing something new.

However, after taking another look at the data, researchers weren’t as sure that experiences always trump possessions on the happiness spectrum. Because buying positive experiences can often be an expensive and complicated affair, not all people reported the same degree of enjoyment from activities like attending a music festival or taking a vacation.

The takeaway here? Most researchers now believe that happiness isn’t about buying into positive experiences, but about delegating stressful experiences. As head researcher Elizabeth Dunn noted in the UBC study: "Buying yourself out of [tasks] like mowing the lawn or cleaning the bathroom — these were pretty small, mundane expenditures, and yet we see them making a difference in people's happiness.”

Make Time for More with Merry Maids®

Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or giving your house a good vacuuming, house chores can add to your stress, especially when you’re already juggling too many tasks. At Merry Maids®, our licensed and bonded professionals can offer you the gift of time, while ensuring that your house still sparkles throughout the week. With over 40 years of experience helping families just like yours, and we’ll o help you recover time to rest and relax.


Find your local Merry Maids and discover how we can help you get back some R&R in your life!

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