Ordering Takeout and Hiring a Maid Can Buy You Happiness, New Study Says

woman cleaning the house
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Here at The Penny Hoarder, saving money makes us happy.

So, it is a little hard for me to tell you to open that wallet and spend money on things you could do for yourself for free. But based on new study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that’s just what I’m going to do.

Go ahead. Order takeout.

Don’t like cleaning? Find a maid service and pay them to clean for you.

How can The Penny Hoarder promote such a wanton waste of money? Because it’s actually not wasteful. It’s an investment in your own happiness.

“A field experiment provides causal evidence that working adults report greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase. Together, these results suggest that using money to buy time can protect people from the detrimental effects of time pressure on life satisfaction.”

In other words, the study found that in today’s world (and it was a worldwide study), time is our most precious commodity.

People are working hard, long hours. Beyond work, there are time commitments to family and friends. The study discovered that those people who were willing to hand over some money to outsource tasks they don’t enjoy were simply more satisfied with their lives.

Buying time equals buying happiness.

But I Can’t Afford to Buy Time!

That being said, let’s rein it in a little. All of this assumes you can afford to spend money on these time-saving expenses. If you’re living on a tight budget, you’ll want to think carefully before you call your favorite takeout place. Cooking at home can be very easy and rewarding.

If you don’t have room in your budget to buy time, put a little effort into saving time. You’ll get a similar effect without needlessly spending your hard-earned money.

However, if it fits your budget, it may be worth spending a little money to give yourself the precious gift of time.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.