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July 26, 2017

It’s commonly thought that buying material objects is unlikely to make anybody happier.

The most valuable purchases for increasing life satisfaction are experiences like travel, concerts or outdoor activities. But a new study suggests there is one other way to turn dollars into happiness.

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New research from the University of British Columbia found that people who spent money on time — for example, paying for grocery delivery instead of going to the store — were more likely to report greater life satisfaction than those who spent money on things.

“People who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they're being lazy,” Ashley Whillans, one of the study’s lead authors said in a statement. “But our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.”

In our never-ending quest for life satisfaction, we’re willing to take these findings one step further by combining them with old knowledge. If both time and experience are the two most valuable things we can spend our money on, wouldn’t purchasing both just double our happiness?

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Use your newly bought time to travel and have experiences. Pay someone to water fickle house plants, take care of a pet, or perhaps just take over your job while you use that time to see the world instead. You can fully enjoy your vacation without worry about work piling up while you’re away. If you need an excuse, you can say that it’s in the name of science.

And then for the ultimate in satisfaction, be sure to share your vacation pictures on social media when you get home.

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