"The researchers, led by Ashley Whillans, a new professor at the Harvard Business School, began with survey data from nearly 4,500 people from the United States, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands. Survey-takers were asked whether they paid other people to do “unenjoyable daily tasks” in order to “increase their free time.”
In 28% of cases, the answer was yes. These folks spent an average of $147.95 per month to buy themselves extra time.
What they lost in currency, they made up for in happiness. Whillans and her colleagues found that the people who traded money for time were more satisfied with life than their counterparts who didn’t. They also were less likely to say they felt “time stress,” a condition that was linked with lower levels of life satisfaction.
Just in case their original question was too narrow, the researchers conducted a second survey that asked more than 1,800 Americans whether they spent money to buy themselves “more free time.”
This time, half of the survey-takers answered yes. These folks spent between $80 and $99 per month, on average, so that others would handle chores like cooking, shopping and “household maintenance.”
As before, the people who bought themselves time were more satisfied with life than those who didn’t. And as before, the people who didn’t employ this strategy were generally less satisfied with life because their lack of free time was stressing them out.
These findings held up even after the researchers took into account the amount of money survey-takers spent on groceries — a variable used as a proxy for discretionary income.
“People across the income spectrum benefited from buying time,” the researchers wrote."
What Brings More Happiness, More Time Or More Money? (this study found that people that chose more free time over more money tended to be happier)
Does Wealth Make Us Happier? (maybe wealth buys freedom that makes us happier)
Another interesting article is The pursuit of happiness: Author seeks to take its measure and find where people are most content. It quotes former University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He said "Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved."
Some earlier posts on happiness:
Does Or Can Money Buy Happiness?
Interesting Book: Stumbling on Happiness
Does Money Make You Mean?
Money buys happiness after all
The happiness wars
Dagwood Bumpstead Explains The Hedonic Treadmill