…or you may find more happiness paying for someone to fix the leak in your sink rather than buying a new golf club. You fill in the blanks for yourself. Is there something that you could “hire out” that would make you happier than buying a material thing? The answer is yes, according to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

I was convinced of this long ago. Not because I am smarter, but because I learned early that I am not wired to be able to do most things around the house. It costs me more to try to fix something than to just pay someone to fix it.  But this study goes beyond paying for repairs. The study focused on paying for things that save you time and thus reduce your stress. This could be house cleaning, washing your car, cooking dinner, mowing the yard, cleaning the pool, or even standing in line at the post office. Did you know there is a service that you can use to do that? You bet. Simply text your need and they do it for a reasonable hourly rate.

Anyway, onto the study (you can read the full study HERE). The scientists had participants spend two payments of $40. One group was told to spend it on something that would save them time. The second group was told to spend it on a material purchase. In the end, the stress level of the first group that spent the money on a time reducer was lower than those that bought something. Could it be that saving time could actually make you happier than a shiny new thing?

I remember as a kid reading a Reader’s Digest article that detailed how much money one needed to make to hire out certain jobs. It was an interesting concept that I have tried to live by. The more I hire out, the more time I have to enjoy life. I fully buy into this theory. Yes, you need to be smart and not pay for something that you can’t afford. But if you use the theory proposed in this study, you are actually using money that would have been “wasted” on stuff

Here are some things that you could pay for that may save you time:

  • Home upkeep. Who enjoys cleaning the fridge grate, draining the hot water heaters, cleaning the grill, maintaining your leather goods, etc.? We all know that we are supposed to do these things but they are rarely done. What if you hired someone every 6 months to take care of them for you? Your stuff lasts longer and you may end up saving money in the end.
  • Cook some meals. If you normally eat at home during the week, cooking a meal night after night can be tiresome. The alternative could be to go out and eat, but why not hire someone to cook some meals for you? You can control the nutritional content and save time for not that much of a cost difference when compared to eating out.
  • Wait for you. What if you could have someone wait at your house, or even outside your home, for a package that will need a signature? You need to work and the last thing you want to do is sit at home. There are several services that you can use for this, and other things. One of my favorites is getmagic.com. Once you have an account set up, simply text them your need, and you get a prompt reply. Yes, someone can wait at your home for that package. Genius!

Spending money can reduce stress. We knew that long before this study. If this were not the case, credit cards would not be such a problem today. Be careful with this. Just as drinking too much wine for the “health benefits’ can be an issue, so can overspending. Make sure you have a budget set and that you are taking care of the other basics like saving for your future, covering your insurance needs and maintaining an adequate cash reserve. However, don’t be afraid to spend on time and stress saving things. You may thank yourself when your stress level is lower.


Want some help with your overall financial plan?  Go to http://doingmoneyright.com/cbc to set up your FREE, one-on-one, Confidence Booster Call. Byron W. Ellis, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, CRPC®, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Managing Director with United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC, a Financial Life Management firm. The information contained in this article is intended for information only is not a recommendation, and should not be considered investment advice. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances.