Buying Time

Our two main resources are time and money, and generally one is a trade-off for the other. Accordingly, many people find themselves in the position of having discretionary income but no time to spend it. As a result, paying for a service that creates more time in your schedule generally provides greater satisfaction than buying more “stuff.”

For example, if you pay someone to clean your house, the time you save by eliminating that task from your to-do list brings greater happiness than if you took that same money and went shopping. It allows you to spend more time with family and friends while also reducing the stress by taking something off your to-do list.

However, most people are reluctant to take this route. According Ashley Whillans and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School, “People often feel guilty about paying someone else to complete their disliked tasks.” They would rather take pride in completing some miserable task than feel guilty about giving “their” work to someone else.

Now, there is definitely something admirable about that type of resolve, but if you are truly busy, then just because it’s admirable doesn’t mean it’s a wise use of resources. As I said previously, there’s a trade-off between time and money, and it’s up to you to find the best balance. So how can you justify paying for this type of service?

First, paying for services that create time in your schedule makes you happier. Recent studies show that this result occurs across different countries, cultures, and income levels. And since money is just a tool, it is wise to use that tool in the most efficient way, which in this case means allowing yourself to pay for services that you would otherwise complete yourself.

Second, it allows for a healthier lifestyle balance. When you have more time, you can spend it with family and friends, which is necessary to maintain healthy relationships and mental stability. Family is the most important thing, but it often gets put on the backburner to take care of things at work.

Third, you become an active participant in the local economy. You may see it as paying to get out of something you don’t want to do, but it’s really allowing someone else to make a living. You don’t want to clean your house? Allow a maid service to take care of it, and then you’ll be a new client and a new revenue stream for a local business.

I’m not advocating that you frivolously spend money on services you don’t need. But if you have the income and need the time, don’t feel guilty about making life easier for yourself.


Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at