How to Use Your Money to Buy Time

By Miranda Marquit

In recent years, a spate of studies has been released indicating that money can buy happiness. It’s not about how much you make — or at least not completely. Instead, these studies seem to show that what you spend your money on matters more than just about anything else.

Studies indicate that you’re happier when you spend money on others. When you use your money to buy experiences rather than things, you might also be happier, according to science.

And now it looks like there’s another way to increase your happiness with the help of money: Buy time.

Buy Time and Buy Happiness

According to a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, spending your money on things that free up more of your time can help you feel happier.

One of the reasons you can feel better when you buy time is because time is a finite resource.While it’s not always easy, you can earn more money.  I know that I’m always looking for ways to get some of my time back. Once that time is gone, it’s gone. For good.

Many of us would like more time to spend with family and friends. Maybe you want time to relax and enjoy life. No matter the reason you want more time, the reality is that you probably don’t think you have enough of it right now. Freeing up that time — even if it cost you money — probably seems more important than a lot of the other priorities in your life.

How to Buy Time in Your Life

The first thing to do if you want to buy time is to review the things you do that take up time. Look at some of the tasks you do that cause you to feel like you’re rushing around without accomplishing much. Changing your own oil, yard work, grocery shopping, and laundry are probably prime examples of tasks that take up time in your life.

For me, one of the biggest time-consuming tasks was cleaning the house. Not only did I hate doing it, but it took time away from my son. We’d clean together sometimes. But I hated that on the weekend when he was home from school and I wasn’t working, we’d clean the house.

I wanted to do fun things with my son. Not clean the house.

So I did some research, talked to some friends, held a few interviews, and hired a house cleaner. Yes, it costs money. And yes, I could do it myself. But now I have an extra three hours a week and I love it. Even better? My son and I enjoy our time together on the weekends.

Part of successfully buying your time back is getting over the guilt that you are spending money to have someone else do what you could do yourself.

Over the years, as my financial situation has improved, I’ve started finding other ways to buy time. This includes paying for grocery delivery, yard care, and for someone to come to my house to change the oil in my car.

Figure Out What You Can Afford

I didn’t wake up one day and start paying for all the things that buy me time. In fact, I started out small, getting grocery delivery from the local dairy. Just having my eggs, milk, bread, cheese, and other staples delivered weekly freed up time spent grocery shopping.

I couldn’t afford to have someone clean my house at the time, but I could afford the grocery delivery. So that’s what I did.

Start small. You might only be able to pay for house cleaning twice a month. Maybe you can only pay for laundry service once a month. That’s fine. Just start with something that you can do to free up a little more time in your life.

You might be surprised at what you can accomplish with even an extra half hour of time. Even if all you do is use that time to read or to play with your children, that’s valuable. You’ve added quality to your life — quality that wasn’t there before.

Don’t get caught up in the idea that you have to do something yourself just to save money. Instead, look at your priorities. Figure out what you would do if you had more time, and then decide if it’s worth the cost to pay for that time.