Consumer confidence Consumer confidence

Mowing the lawn can be good exercise, and is fun for some people. But others who find themselves squeezed for time might find the luxury of paying someone else to do it to be of much more value than buying more stuff. Kristen Solecki for NPR hide caption

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Kristen Solecki for NPR

Need A Happiness Boost? Spend Your Money To Buy Time, Not More Stuff

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Construction workers in Washington, D.C., in December. The latest jobs report will further drive the "misery index" to its lowest level in more than half a century. But economists say meager wages and big debts are still problems. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

"Black Friday" 2011 in Manhattan: Retailers hope to see shoppers out again in force this holiday season. If confidence stays high, they may get their wish. Michael Nagle/Getty Images hide caption

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Michael Nagle/Getty Images