Spending money either gives me a sense of confidence or heightens my anxiety to an unreasonable level. But psychologists are finding a link between spending money on time-saving activities and a rise in happiness. By paying someone else to do their chores for them, participants in the study found that their fear of not having enough hours in the day dissipated, giving them a more relaxed, happy mindset.
The study in depth
Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, conducted a study analyzing the link between spending money and a person’s happiness. Dunn believes that even if you have a lot of money and a lot of nice things, you can still be unhappy with day-to-day tasks that you abhor. In the study, 6,000 people in four different countries were given $40 a week to spend. During the first week, participants were instructed to buy something material. For the second week, they were told to buy themselves time by paying for a gardener or a maid, a taxi or even some online shopping. Ultimately, people were noticeably happier when they spent money on time-saving activities over material goods.
Dunn suggests that before we buy something, we should ask ourselves, “Will this save me time?” If the answer is no, then we most likely do not need it. In fact, if you prioritize your spending habits to focus on giving yourself more time, you might notice an increase in your happiness. Time prioritization is important because if we spend our whole day stressed about doing tasks that we hate, our happiness meters decline. Prioritizing tasks of self-improvement, such as going to class or the gym, and tasks that hold value should come first in the day before those we cannot stand. While most millennials can not afford a full-time maid, baby steps such as paying for dry cleaning or taking an Uber can be small steps toward time-saving happiness.
Millennials have been trained to save money, but they are also the biggest spenders on items of self-care. With millennial budgets refocusing on self-improvement, the change in spending will shift from mostly material to time-saving. Hopefully, millennials will continue to grow into a happier generation.
We often go out of our way to save money, sometimes handling unpleasant, time-consuming tasks ourselves. But utilizing time-saving ventures can make us happier. Millennials’ (and every generation’s) budgets should find ways to spend money on time without putting them in debt.
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