How spending just £30 can make you happier

You can pay to free up your time


How spending £30 can make you happier

This year the UK made its way into the top 20 of the UN's World Happiness Index , but still lags behind the likes of Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland.

So how can we improve our levels of happiness? According to one new study, money might hold the key - and it doesn't need to be a lot.

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A new study looked into what people in some of the world's happiest countries do with their cash to find out if there was a better way to spend it.

This is what they found:

Money DOES buy happiness - but only if you spend it a certain way, claims science

Unhappy? Get a cleaner!

Credits: Getty

Freeing up time, such as by getting a cleaner occasionally, can help boost happiness according to a new study

Research from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School has suggested that using money to buy free time, such as by paying for a cleaner, can boost life satisfaction.

More than 6,000 adults across the United States, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands were interviewed, looking at their levels of satisfaction with their life, how time stressed they feel, and how much they spend each month in order to buy themselves free time.

And the study found that those who spent money on time saving purchases, rather than simply material goods, were more satisfied with their life overall.

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The researchers conducted a field experiment to test whether this was really true. Sixty adults were assigned $40 (around £30) to spend on a time-saving purchase one weekend, and the same amount on a material purchase another weekend. It found that people felt happier when that money went towards a purchase that would ease their time stresses.

However, the study revealed that in practice, very few of us opt to spend our money in this way.

Elizabeth Dunn, psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and a senior author of the study, said: "The benefits of buying time aren't just for wealthy people. We thought the effects might only hold up for people with quite a bit of disposable income, but to our surprise, we found the same effects across the income spectrum.

"Although buying time can serve as a buffer against the time pressures of daily life, few people are doing it even when they can afford it. Lots of research has shown that people benefit from buying their way into pleasant experiences, but our research suggests people should also consider buying their way out of unpleasant experiences."

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How can it work for me?

If cutting the grass fills you with rage get someone else to do it!

If you want to free up your time, then first you need to work out which jobs and chores are taking you the longest.

Perhaps you get stressed out about the hoovering, can't handle the creases when ironing, or are simply sick to the back teeth of cracking out the lawnmower.

Pick a task or two that you are happy to hand over to someone else, and how much you'd be willing to pay to do so.

There are absolutely loads of different ways to find reputable helpers in your area; take a look at the notices in your local newsagent or supermarket for example, or ask your friends and neighbours if there is anyone they would recommend.

Heading online is a great option too, with listing sites like Gumtree worth a look.

However, personally I'd be tempted to use a service like TaskRabbit . You can quickly find all sorts of cleaners or handymen in your area, and book them in for a one-off or as a recurring basis, and at a time that suits you. What's more, you can do it all through a single app as well.

If you are just looking for a cleaner, then FindAPrivateCleaner is a good option. You enter the details of exactly what you want and can pick from a selection of cleaners in your area.

BidVine is slightly different - you fill in details about what you need and when, and cleaners are then invited to 'bid' for the work.

A cleaner doesn't have to cost a fortune either - looking at these sites I saw plenty offering their services for around £10 an hour.

Shopping: when spending more isn't always better

Shopping: when spending more isn't always better

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