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Becoming Happier: Money and Time

By Lauren Szeto

This is Part 18 of the series Money on Your Mind, a blog series created to expand financial education where we invite you to learn more and question the relationship between your brain and your spending habits.

Money and finances can often cause financial stress or anxiety. However, people still pose the question: Can you buy your happiness? This common debate usually leads to one conclusion: money doesn’t buy happiness but it sure can give you a little help acquiring a little day to day happiness.

Can money buy happiness?

We know that money can’t guarantee overall life happiness, but there is actually a way to use your money to bring yourself a little bit of day-to-day happiness. How can you do this? It’s actually pretty simple. Spend money on things that will save you time.

How many times have you told someone that there were not enough hours in the day, that you were pressed for time, or haven’t had much free time lately? If you feel like you’re constantly multitasking and trying to find a work-life balance, you’re not alone.

Mogilner’s 2010 Study showed that happiness requires us to redirect our attention towards time. Working for hours (although productive) does not directly translate into greater happiness. But dedicating time with our loved ones and creating memories does

Gain more time in your day: Why This Happens

When you choose to spend your money on chores like cleaning services, ordering food, or laundry, you alleviate the small stresses of mundane tasks and gain extra time in your day to relax or do something you enjoy.

Getting rid of these errands generally improves your quality of life, as well as life satisfaction, by taking some of the routine inconveniences out of your to-do list to give yourself more time. Whether you take that extra time to finish up some work, indulge in your hobbies, or just kick back and relax, those extra minutes can make a difference.

On top of a busy schedule that your career brings, these little tasks are usually at the back of your mind and are nuisances that can be a hassle to complete. Yet, many people aren’t willing to spend money to free up their time because they feel guilty spending money on simple errands they know they are capable of completing themselves.

Even though spending money on these chores may feel wasteful, spending money on material items, like shoes, clothes, and vehicles can be even more wasteful. The rush of buying these physical items is often short-lived and can be addictive (read more in this blog about how the chemicals in your brain influence your spending). Still, the brief high of purchasing material items doesn’t compare to the increased overall life satisfaction you gain when you don’t have to do chores that you spend all day dreading to complete.


Maybe you can buy both happiness and time. Your general feeling towards your quality of life would increase if you didn’t have to do tasks you didn’t like. Why not spend a little less on your material possessions so you can use your money to avoid mundane chores that add stress and displeasure to your life? What chores would you spend your money on?

Want to start your pursuit of happiness? Start managing your money more efficiently. Nova is here to help start your financial journey. Connect all your bank accounts, track your bills and control your spending habits today!

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