According to new research, it looks as though it can after all. We’ve always been told money can’t buy happiness, and most of us would probably agree with that. It can buy you other things, such as never having to worry about paying bills. It can also buy you better medical care if you need it, by presenting you with the option to go private. If you’re well off, it might also mean being able to work fewer hours.
But it cannot buy you happiness in other ways. People who have lots of money aren’t generally any happier than the rest of us. We all have good and bad times in our lives. Some people say that living a materialistic existence makes them feel empty, and it is other things that make them feel happier.
So, perhaps we should not be surprised that research conducted at British Columbia University in Canada has revealed it’s the way we use our money that can make us happier. And it would appear those who use it to buy themselves more time get the most happiness out of that cash.
For example, instead of spending time cleaning the house and tackling household maintenance tasks, we should pay others to do them for us. In doing so, we are converting some cash into free time we would not otherwise have. Think about the time you spend maintaining your garden. If you hired someone to come in once a week and spend, say, two hours out there doing all those jobs for you, what would you do with the spare time you had gained?
I know I hate the idea of having a weekend off and needing to do the housework. It’s my time off, and I cannot enjoy it because I need to keep the house looking neat and tidy. And I’m not a neat freak either – it’s just a case of being hygienic and keeping everything clean. I’ve worked hard all week, and now I must spend my time off doing things I don’t enjoy. It’s no wonder cleaning doesn’t make me feel happy!
And that’s why we are now looking for a cleaner. Someone who can come in once or twice a week to get these jobs done for us. It doesn’t cost a fortune, and I would rather spend the money on something like this – something that would make me happy by freeing up more time – than spending it frivolously.
Few people think about money like this. We think of tangible things when we consider what we can buy with it. We rarely think of how we can use it to make us happier.
So, if you have some extra cash left over each month, think about how you could use it to free up more time for yourself. If you don’t have spare cash, look at ways to generate some, so you can discover how money might really make you happier after all. I was surprised – will you be too?