Introducing Fun Per Dollar


I want to introduce a topic I’ve been hiding for a few years. As a heads up, this is a theory heavy intro. Feedback, thoughts, and ideas are all appreciated.

Fun/Dollar

I take moments out of my day to think about the math behind this concept.

What if you took an activity and:

  1. Measured the cost
  2. Measured the duration
  3. Measured the fun
  4. Calculate the Fun Per Dollar

 

Fun Per Dollar?

We have a very, very, basic, Minutes of Fun/Dollar output.

Minutes spent doing the activity divided by the After Tax Cost of doing the activity.

fun-per-dollar1

After collecting 150+ pieces of data from friends, I’ve had the following inputs for division by 0. Infinity Fun Per Dollar. Or, free activities.

  • Watching Youtube
  • Surfing
  • Playing Soccer
  • Running
  • Free Video Games(League got a 6/10 fun)
  • Hiking
  • Watching a Football Game
  • Board Game Night
  • Web Development

Some very high ranking sources of Minutes of Fun/Dollar that do cost money

  • Video Game- Diablo 3
  • Video Game- Forza(with 2 samples, both being a 6/10)
  • D&D

Beyond that, everything costs significantly more. The Video Game, Forza had 133 minutes of Fun Per Dollar(200 hours, $90). Compare that to seeing a $5, 2.5 hour movie, only has 30 Minutes of Fun Per Dollar. That video game would be a 400% better value Minutes of Fun Per Dollar.

The difference between activities gets drastic, renting Kayaks netted only 1.8 Minutes of Fun Per Dollar. Go Karting, 0.5. Kayaks are a 3x better value.

  • Free and low cost activities rank very high.
  • Investments like a video games or bike can be used multiple times.
  • Differences in prices vary drastically between restaurants/bars and personal preferences.

Warning: The data I have collected is inconsistent when it comes to including gas prices, cost of internet, and initial purchases. My expectation for data is ‘Airbag Safety’ high. This is as valid as something you’d see in non-engineering fields. Data was collected over a few years, from over a hundred people.

Here is a preview of what I have collected so far, expect a higher quality version to come.

Not Good Enough

Adding three more variables, each person could find out based on their preferences what their best value is:

  1. Fun Rank- A number between 1 and 10, where 10 is the most fun, 1 is a disappointment
  2. Priority on Saving Money – A number between 1 and 10, where 10 is extremely frugal.
  3. Priority on Having Fun – A number between 1 and 10, 10 is obsessed with having memorable experiences.

We needed to do some Dimensional Analysis. This is similar to how Reynolds number in fluid dynamics work. Its a jury-rigged method of using dimensionless units that mostly work in real life.

fun-per-dollar2

As a note, any self assigned values can go beyond 10 to add emphasis. For consistency, all of my collected data has used the range 1-10. The data displayed here uses Priority Fun/Priority Money = 1.

There are multiple entries from multiple people, remember this is all subjective.

Basic Example- Bagel Club

Bagel club is a weekly membership that requires you to buy bagels once every few months.

Assuming each person eats 1 bagel + cream cheese, each person pays close to 2$ a week to be in bagel club. Given having a bagel is a 9.5/10 fun for the 3 minutes in takes me to eat a bagel, how much Fun Per Dollar is that?

3 minutes /$2 = 1.5 minutes of fun per dollar spent.

But it was a 10/10 fun. 10* 1.5 Minutes of Fun= 15 “Kirks”(PLEASE tell me a better name!)

So is bagel club worth it?

Well consider dropping 30 dollars at a bar over 2 hours. Bars being a 7/10 fun for me, would score:

120 minutes * 7 Fun / 30 Dollars = 28 Kirks

It seems it would be better value to skip bagel club, and head to the Bar. But hey, I love the occasional bagel.

I Have An App

I’m a nerd, so of course I have an app. As a 1 man show, I have Android and….

As a nerd, I also don’t have anything Apple.

However, I have a Web App. It records data, looks beautiful, but initial setup/understanding is rough. It works on all platforms, but I’d like to brief you first. Shoot me an email.

Future of Fun Per Dollar

Writing this article has provoked all sorts of new ideas about Fun Per Dollar.

  • Data- Decide what is getting paid for, beers, calories, gas, internet, etc…
  • Math- The priority method of 1-10 isnt enough for a billionaire to only care about the ‘fun’, This needs a solution
  • Engineering- How can we apply this? Should we compare a night with friends to a video game? Should we compare Buzzed vs Wasted vs Pot? Video Game vs Video Game?

Question to you: What are your lowest cost activities you find Fun?

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One thought on “Introducing Fun Per Dollar

  • July 12, 2017 at 1:36 pm
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    As a DnD player, I agree with its high ranking on the chart. However there are things to consider. As sessions can easily run 4-8 hours or even more, food and drinks are usually part of the ordeal. My group would often order a pizza throughout the night, and I would pick up beer to bring over. Obviously those are by choice and not required, but as a potential 8 hour activity, perhaps food should be factored in.

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