Sacrificing money for more free time may make you happier, suggests new research from the University of British Columbia.
Scientists gave people with hypothetical choices, like: Would you rather have a pricey apartment close to work, or inexpensive apartment with a long commute? Would you prefer a high-paying job with longer hours, or a smaller paycheck but more free time?
In addition, one group of study participants was given a real choice between R585 cash and a R1400 housecleaning voucher.
The people who were willing to give up money in favour of more time—a shorter commute, less work hours, fewer chores—were happier, the researchers found.
Why? Because leisure time lets you do fun things, the researchers say. Even if you have millions of rands, what good is all that cash if you have no time to enjoy it?
It’s painfully obvious, but many people make the opposite choice—prioritizing money over time—every day.
You spend your weekends mowing and cleaning gutters rather than hiring a handyman or landscaping service. You take the indirect flight to save R1000, but at the expense of six hours of your life.
Of course, it’s smart to be cost-conscious. And no one is suggesting that you spend indiscriminately on conveniences.
But it’s worth remembering what really makes you happy when you create your budget. Maybe you can spend less on material goods to free up money for services that make your life easier.
That housecleaning bill could really buy less stress and an extra five hours of quality time with your family—and that’s priceless.