Don’t buy things, buy time is the theory behind a new study publicized this week in The New York Timesand for today’s chronically hassled and time-pressed amateur, it offers plenty of food for thought.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesfound that of 6,300 people surveyed across four different countries and various socio economic groups, greater happiness was achieved when they spend money on outsourcing tasks rather than on material goods. For example, paying someone to run an errand, clean your home, drop off your dinner, or drive you to your destination produced more happiness than say, buying a board game, a new sweater, or even a nice bottle of wine (shocking, we know).

Here’s how it worked: in the first round of the study, authored by University of British Columbia psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn, researchers surveyed 4,500 people in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands about their use of time-saving services and overall well-being. They then did the same with a group of 1,800 (different) Americans. In both cases, researchers found that those people who utilized services—about 28 percent in the international group and half of the Americans—reported greater life satisfaction than those who didn’t.

In the next phase of the research, Dunn set out to determine if the connection between saving time and happiness was causally linked. To do so, her team gave $40 each to a survey group of a few dozen Canadians on two consecutive weekends. The participants were then directed to spend the money on either time-saving activities or material purchases, and then asked to evaluate their moods at the end of each day.  Again, Dunn discovered that those participants who spent the cash on things that saved them time (or things they didn’t want to do) reported being ‘happier’ than those who didn’t.

For busy amateurs, it’s a finding that’s worth keeping in mind, especially when evaluating your monthly board or (gulp) two-week-long horse show bill. When it comes to spending that extra pocket change on a pretty but unnecessary new show shirt, ask yourself, would your overall happiness be better served by paying someone else to body clip him this month instead?

The same goes for those small, occasionally annoying service charges on your bill; things like washing your used saddle pads, holding your horse for the farrier, etc. Instead of griping, maybe, just maybe, it’s worth considering whether the mental aggravation and stress you’re saving in the long run is worth the extra line item.