1-6-19 New Major Cost Saving Study This Week, New Donations, Downtime

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

We have a major Store to Store comparison, Amazon vs Target vs Target Online vs Walmart vs Walmart Online (vs Buy Buy Baby). Comparing Brick and Mortar vs Online and Store vs Store. This changed our shopping habits.

(baby) Items Per Dollar – A Store to Store Comparison

We have raised $645 to be spent on Interns. Intern Josh has spent only $135 of this on his Dates Per Dollar study. He is backlogged, which is a good problem. Excited to see how his next upcoming studies will turn out. Thank you to everyone who has donated and everyone who is sharing with their friends.

There will be periodic downtime week of 1-7-19 to 1-14-19 to upgrade the website to run faster.

Retailers Are Exploiting Your Price Ignorance- Target vs Amazon vs Walmart and More with our Store to Store comparison Baby Items Per Dollar

Lead Engineer-Michael Kirk:

Do not get hung up on ‘baby’.

What started as a baby registry optimization evolved into a store to store comparison when we found huge difference in prices. 

This article is a Store vs Store, Brick and Mortar vs Online comparison. There is a lowest cost way to purchase items, and we wanted the data to prove it.

There are not many ‘baby’ specific tips in this article, but here is one baby oddity- Colors, Boy colors, Girl colors, and neutral colors changed the price and availability. 


Store vs Store –  The Comparison To Be Quantified


The goal was to make an overall shopping decision and pick 2 stores to shop and register at. This is a commitment, having more than 2 stores is overwhelming and difficult. 


Each store had to have an item that meet all consumer quality metrics, from Dr. Mandy Kirk. Metrics were reasonable, and often only 1 name brand had the quality. Lowest price, or the equal product were captured for each store.  Quality was considered and noted.

If a store did not have a product that meet the criteria, they were noted False, not having the item.

The Data

The Winners-

The Data is at the end of the article, but its important to know who comes out on top. Online stores are cheaper and have better selection than brick and mortar stores. 

Does this mean shopping at brick and mortar is an expensive luxury?

Further, upon request, we added a blanket 20% off on Buy Buy Baby, this did not change its Rank in any item. Meaning Buy Buy Baby is always at least 20% more expensive than all of its competitors. 


Is it safe to say Target and Buy Buy Baby are ‘Never Buy’?



Online had a significantly better selection, especially Amazon.

11 items cold not be found at Walmart in Store. If you included Walmart online, only 1 item could not be found online.

Target had 7 items unable to be found, and 2 unable to be found online.

Amazon and Buy Buy Baby had all items.

Best In Class- The Lowest Cost Items At Each Store

If you were trying to buy one of these items, it would be best to buy from these stores.

Lesson: At Target, there is 1 item in store that was lower cost than anywhere else. This is the exception that proves ‘doing your homework’ and researching gives you the best price. 

Walmart (online), undeniably the best-

Amazon, not a long list, but they still scored 2nd best overall. 

There are no items to buy at Buy Buy Baby.

Conclusions and Next Steps

Now that we narrowed our selection down to Walmart and Amazon, we will pick the best products. Items will be revisited to ensure the items meet quality metrics at the lowest price.

There is more data

There may be use outside consumer applications of this data. New products? Implications of Brick and Mortar’s future?  Is there something telling about the future of consumer retail? Are there other overly expensive stores like Buy Buy Baby out there?

The data is massive.

You will see how retailers like Walmart are pushing the weight on low prices- sometimes.  Walmart in-store seemed to be marked up vs online. 


The best experience is with our Excel File. Click Here


Otherwise enjoy the picture-

*False means the store did not have a comparable item.


If you have made this this far, you might care to see how the different grocers stacked up

Aldi vs Costco vs Sams Club vs Walmart vs Meijer

Expand your Efficiency

Get more Efficiency to improve your daily life. Subscribe and get three slow cooker recipes designed to be low cost, quick and healthy.





12-24-18-Efficiency Michael is Newly Unemployed + Your Donations At Work, Intern Josh Presents- Dates Per Dollar

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

We have our first donation sponsored article- Dates Per Dollar + Additional quality metrics. This will be both beneficial to Singles and Couples.

Other News- I am a casualty of Tariffs and a General Motors sacrifice.

Next Article- Baby Shower Registry Per Dollar- Comparing Bye Bye Baby, Amazon, Walmart Online, Walmart, Target Online, Target, and Thrift Stores. I expect this to be telling about Brick and Mortar vs Online, and Store vs Store.

We have received a $350 donation from Greg Kopanski, who changed our January plans with his support! He also has incredible time saving tips that I’m looking forward to sharing soon.

Dates Per Dollar Study + Privacy, Creativity, and Classy

Looking for something ‘to-do’ with your partner? Do you want it to be quiet? Interesting? Low cost?

In addition to the metric Minutes of Date Per Dollar, we included Privacy, Creativity, and Classy quality metrics(Boolean, because if it isn’t math driven, its not engineering).

This is our first 100% donation sponsored article, using the first $135 donated by Efficiency Is Everything Users. As a note, I offered our Intern Josh $180, 12 hours of work, but he completed it in 9. Honest and Efficient. If you want to see more studies, consider supporting Josh and our study of Life Industrial Engineering.

Dates Per Dollar – Lowest Cost, Creative and Classy Dates – Click Here

Lead Engineer Michael Kirk is Unemployed

Don’t Panic.

Fortunately our household has planned ahead by Comparing Future Jobs and putting us on Cost Freeze.

Living in Metro Detroit for 28 years, hearing news about a down economy means 1 thing- Layoffs. As much as I blame Tariffs for being bad capitalism, I also made the decision to stay Contract instead of taking a direct position at GM. Opting to accept a higher paying job, and accepting to be part of GM’s ‘Flexible workforce’.

Next steps- As mentioned, I have prepared and in January, I have accepted an Electrical Engineering job at Nissan. Bonus- it pays better too.

However, this means I am off work, for approximately 1 month. If you have an interest in having me complete freelance work, I consider myself proficient in-

Dates Per Dollar- Dates compared by Price, Privacy, Creativity, and Classiness

Lead Engineer-Michael Kirk

Our Intern Josh has collected data to find the best dates, given various quality metrics and cost.

The Data – Comparing How To Save Money On Dates

This data uses specific pricing, and has gas costs calculated using a common location. While the description on this website is generic(Coffee Date), the detailed description(Atomic Coffee Royal Oak, 2 Cinnamon Dolce Latte) can be found in our raw data – Click Here.

Classy, Creative, and Public were subjectively decided on a scale from 0-10, and based on that given a True/False value. This is considered Boolean, as it has only 2 possible values.

Given how specific this data is, but how varied prices and distances to locations in your own life, the data should be compared on a scale. For instance, 100-400 Minutes Per Dollar are similar. 7-10 Minutes Per Dollar are similar. There is a drastic difference between 5 Minutes Per Dollar and 20 Minutes Per Dollar. This is mentally doing Logarithms with the data.

Note: Clicking the Column names will sort, and if you click in a specific order, IE: Minutes Per Dollar, then Creative, you can see a comparison of qualities without opening the raw data.

Date Cost Minutes Spent Minutes of Date Per Dollar Classy Creative Public
Park $0.30 120 400.0 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Animal Watching $0.30 45 150.0 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Tennis $1.20 120 100.0 FALSE FALSE FALSE
Hike $7.50 180 24.0 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Cooking Date Night $10.00 180 18.0 FALSE TRUE FALSE
Party $18.00 300 16.7 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Mall $10.60 140 13.2 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Beach $16.00 180 11.3 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Fair/Festival $17.00 180 10.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Long Distance travel with 2 night hotel $282.50 2880 10.2 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Zoo $36.40 300 8.2 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Store $14.90 120 8.1 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Apple Orchard $16.50 120 7.3 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Drive in $37.00 240 6.5 FALSE FALSE FALSE
Swimming $21.50 120 5.6 FALSE FALSE TRUE
72 Mile Roadtrip $21.75 120 5.5 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Museum $21.80 120 5.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
DIA $32.80 180 5.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Netflix’N’Chill $10.99 60 5.5 FALSE FALSE FALSE
Coffee Date $11.50 60 5.2 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Downtown Free $13.00 60 4.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Fair/Festival all day(Drink,booth,etc) $82.00 360 4.4 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Science Center $42.80 180 4.2 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Mini Golf $14.50 60 4.1 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Picnic with drinks $15.30 60 3.9 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Fair/Festival with 2 drinks each $53.00 180 3.4 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Local Concert $55.40 180 3.2 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Wine Tasting $14.60 45 3.1 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Movie at Emagine with 2 Beers $47.50 140 2.9 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Normal movie at Emagine $44.50 130 2.9 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Low Cost Movie $45.00 130 2.9 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Thrift store $21.20 60 2.8 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Downtown Bar $46.00 120 2.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Ice cream/ frozen yogurt $12.00 30 2.5 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Ski $169.50 360 2.1 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Bar $28.30 60 2.1 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Bowling $22.20 45 2.0 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Flea Market $31.40 60 1.9 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Gym $50.30 90 1.8 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Aquarium $51.00 80 1.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Pro Sporting event with pregame $201.00 300 1.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Pro Sporting event $161.00 240 1.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
International Concert $286.00 360 1.3 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Dinner at Chilis $47.70 60 1.3 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Dinner at Red Lobster $55.20 60 1.1 TRUE FALSE TRUE
International Concert with drinks $338.00 360 1.1 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Fast food $15.30 15 1.0 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Laser tag $32.00 30 0.9 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Cooking Class $171.20 140 0.8 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Dinner at Capital Grille $94.50 60 0.6 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Dinner at Melting Pot $121.14 60 0.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Psychic $153.00 70 0.5 FALSE TRUE TRUE

Interpreting Dates Per Dollar

Parks, beaches, trails, and outdoor activities are the lowest cost Dates. The cost comes from gas money, parking, and cost for entry. These are top results because they are low cost and have the potential to provide hours of entertainment.

On a similar note, public locations like the Mall and Local Festivals can also be a good value, as long as your spending doesn’t get out of control. These have the benefit of being potentially multi hour activities despite being more expensive than free locations.

Comparing these low cost options, to getting Ice Cream or Coffee, these have similar costs as a low cost trip to the mall, but last under an hour. This is the benefit of comparing items Minutes Per Dollar rather than cost alone.

More expensive activities include visiting Museums and Art Institutes, but are a better value than visiting a restaurant.

Classy and Creative Dates

Looking at the best values and including non traditional dates(Creative) and non embarrassing dates(Classy) give some fantastic recommendations-

It may be helpful to know your Partner, and how to make these experiences memorable.

Privacy- Good for Romance, Bad for Creepers

Public dates are something that is either desired or can put a dampen on your romance. A first blind date likely will be at a public location, while by the end of the night, you may want to be alone.

Most dates are in public locations where people do business, making low cost first dates plentiful in options.

Finding privacy can be more difficult. Dates that involve traveling give you the option to find uninhabited areas.

Best Dates

It seems the ‘wholesome’ date ideas like Hiking and Visiting Museums are a better value than ones that involve quick indulging like eating/drinking.

These are perceived Creative and Classy, give you plenty of time to spend together, and are affordable on seemingly every budget.

If you are struggling to get a first date, check out low effort ways to improve your appearance.

Too Important Not To Cover: Future Value vs Present Value is a Multi-Million Dollar Decision

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

Some topics are far to critical to Life to remain untouched. Your allocation of resources and assets is a choice that changes your life whether you like it or not.

The goal is to compare various opportunities for Future Value so you can make a decision based on your current life conditions and goals.

Cash on Hand

This is the fancy way of saying ‘United States Dollar’ in the US. This is your combined bank account, wallet, safe, under your bed, etc.. value of USD. This is a special number because the government has the ability to print money, and has historically devalued currency through ‘inflation’.

The US government claims ~2% inflation, others report 4% yearly inflation.

Your goal with excess Cash on Hand is to allocate it outside of USD to beat 2% inflation.

Interest Rates, Risk, Returns

The goal is to beat 2%/year inflation. But you also have other Qualities- Risk and Liquidity(ease of selling)

  • Do you need your investment to pay for something soon? If so, less risky and more liquid.
  • Do you have a loan? Refinancing is a good option
  • Lots of excess income? Gambling vs long term investing.

Safest Asset Locations

A US Treasury Bond returns at 2%/year and would be ‘cost neutral’. Which explains its worldwide popularity. Its safe, it makes money, and it can be liquid.

Hoarding USD is popular, but runs risk of inflation.

Real Estate is popular, but isn’t liquid. Warning, real estate is also work, consider real estate a part time job rather than a passive investment.

Debt is worse than Inflation

Student Loans, Mortgages, Credit Cards. That % interest per year, is your new number to beat. A 4% mortgage means that any investment, should return more than this.

To convert Cash on Hand into a debt payment and make a positive impact on your interest payment, you must refinance. Paying more money each month, makes little to no difference as your loan is the same size. More payments means saving thousands of dollars, rather than refinancing for tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Its best to wait until rates are favorable to refinance.

Unimportant, can skip – A note on Amortization

Loans often have an amortization where the first payments are 75% interest/25% principle, and at 15 years in 50/50, and year 29 its 75% principle/25% interest. Refinancing resets this clock, and you do lose a few thousands dollars. We calculated if this is significant and if there was an optimal time.

Note, this is a ~400,000 dollar mortgage:

If 15 years are spent before refinancing and the amortization never works in our favor, we spend over 50,000 USD on amortization. At worst case its about 6% of your mortgage, totaling likely tens of thousands of dollars.

However, after refinancing, you will have saved likely hundreds of thousands of dollars on your mortgage and interest, about 20% of your mortgage.

Very Important- Refinancing

When refinancing(20%+) you will eliminate tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in future interest payments.

This is why saving up for a large debt payment is a safe way to ‘earn 4% interest’.

Re: Tax Write offs- There is a myth that spending more money on interest can save money on taxes. Your taxes will be slightly lower, but you will have spent more money on interest. Its wrong to spend, to spend for taxes.


Abundance is a strange thing. People of all types are throwing money in investment apps.

As we try to increase our assets, we can try to beat our debt interest or exceed new highs.

Long term, safe, market investing can expect 7-30% yearly returns, or 30% yearly lows. This needs to beat our 4%/yr mortgage interest. Buying on a bad year can be disappointing and worse performing than USD.

Pick your favorite assets that you believe will perform better than USD. It is a good idea to have at least some diversification.

Maxing out your 401k/IRA is a good start. Diversify. Use your experience/knowledge to make niche investment decisions. Gold/Bitcoin. Diversify. SPY. Unicorn Projects. Your own project. Diversify.

The goal is to keep Cash on Hand low, and assets invested either passively or actively. You have millions of future dollars at stake. (But don’t stress, you do the best you can).

Re Gambling: The word Gambling was a misnomer for the unpredictability of investments. Actual gambling? No way, that’s bad math.

Recap- Your Options

You have Cash on Hand that loses value at 2% a year. Beat this.

Treasury Bonds are safe and liquid return 2% a year.

Debt often costs more then 4% a year, whatever your highest debt interest is your new number to beat. Beat this.

Investing comes in many shades from long term index funds vs gambling. This is the risky way to earn money.

Lead Engineer-Michael Kirk:

Given the current economy, we are choosing to save up to refinance. 4% isn’t bad when everything else is sinking.

This decision comes from many inputs, including political climate, like it or not. Your experiences should make an impact on your decisions.

Wish you the best on your asset allocations,
Michael Kirk

12-6-18 Back with Cost Freeze and Rational Decision Making – Picking Your Next Job With Math

Lead Engineer-Michael Kirk:

Excuse us for last week, rather, excuse Amazon. An AWS email problem caused Efficiency Is Everything to be flagged and blocked. We apologized and lets see how it goes this week.

In the future, expect less articles, but better.

And GM announced getting rid of 15% of their contractors. So…

11-28-18 Rational Decision Making- Choosing Your Next Job With Math

$/hr does not include vacation, health insurance, work culture, and job security. Putting numbers to everything.
Rational Decision Making- Choosing Your Next Job With Math – Click Here

12-5-18 Cost Freeze- Surviving Bad Times

Being close to this GM news, Cost Freeze is in Effect.

This Fortune 500 tool is excellent to put a fast halt on extra spending, find waste, and allocate money to the best sources of value.

Cost Freeze – Click Here

Next Steps

The most useful studies are data heavy. Here is the plan for 2018-

Expect at least 1 major Engineering study by the end of 2018. Mrs. Efficiency wants to share another life changing tip one of these days. Future uncertain… Finance app?

We urge you to give feedback via email, share with your friends, donate, or do your own Life Engineering study. Efficiency Is Everything runs at a loss so we can provide Consumer data to everyone.

Cost Freeze

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

We are on Cost Freeze and my credit cards transactions for this month was nearly empty outside groceries and gas. Cost Freeze works.

How Cost Freeze Works

A tool used at the best and most successful fortune 500 companies to tell everyone- Stop.

Non essential is maintained or removed.

Its quite simple. You need to eat. You need to buy gas. Rent/Mortgage, heat(lowered), subscriptions ended.

Then everyone realizes this problem is not so simple and getting some non essentials will improve the situation.

When you begin Cost Freeze, you stop spending money, you scrutinize every purchase, and you review your reoccurring expenses.

Spend Money to Save

Insulation of your home, LED lights, and more can pay for itself.


The Math

Multiple hundred dollars a year in potential savings. Note that expected hours of use are high, but these LEDs are going to last years, this is a quick and dirty estimation. Cost was less than 100 dollars to make the change.

Can you imagine other areas where spending money saves money?

Mind Tricks

Going on ‘Cost Freeze’ is a change in mentality that you decide, declare, and carryout. You will start to save money, and on an extreme basis.

This is cause for innovation, as scarcity in spending money will have you find other uses for time. For instance, instead of getting pie at an expensive restaurant, baking a pie with friends is nearly free. No driving, no parking, no tipping, no drinks- still 100% friendship.

Allocate Resources

After a freeze in spending money, you may find it almost necessary to improve your life. Old shoes, haircut, carbonated drinks, etc…

There is a way to deal with this. Budget. Put a set amount(ie: 50 dollars) towards non essentials, and decide if you would rather fix your shoes or drink diet caffeine free coke.

Hold On

The mild pain of saying ‘No’ to things gives you the benefit of security as you can extend the use of your assets.

While others are in panic about making debt payments, Cost Freeze extends your cash many months.

This may be overkill, but after an economy recovers you will be stronger than before. Good decisions today pay dividends and failure is expensive.

11-27-18 Rational Decision Making – Choosing Your Next Job With Math

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk

GM announced getting rid of 15% of their contractors. So…

Rational Decision Making- Choosing Your Next Job With Math

$/hr does not include vacation, health insurance, work culture, and job security. Putting numbers to everything.
Rational Decision Making- Choosing Your Next Job With Math – Click Here

Next Steps

The most useful studies are data heavy. Here is the plan for 2018-

Expect at least 1 major Engineering study by the end of 2018. It also may be useful to share a Fortune 500 tool called, “Cost Freeze”. Mrs. Efficiency wants to share another life changing tip one of these days.

We urge you to give feedback via email, share with your friends, donate, or do your own Life Engineering study. Efficiency Is Everything runs at a loss so we can provide Consumer data to everyone.

Rational Decision Making – Picking Your Next Job With Math

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

If you have been staying at a company ‘because the health insurance is good’, you should know the real world $/hr benefit. That good feeling might be a costly mistake.

Data Driven Decision Making

Compensation($), Time(hr), and Qualities make up the various inputs to aid decision making.

Compensation = Income + Benefits + Vacation

Your total compensation includes every value you get from a company. These are added up.

There are a few ways to do this, it can be simple, comparing vacation and health insurance benefits. If you will go to college and getting work to pay for it, you can include that too. This should be 0 if you do not achieve this educational goal.

There is an opportunity to add subjective values, ie- I like my current job, valued at $5,000.

Note, that the further you stray from data driven mathematics, the more variation can be in your expected outcome due to this estimation.

On Health insurance estimations. I’ve found that the best workers have health insurance benefits that value approx ~$6000/yr. If you are too lazy and cant go to healthcare.gov and find out how much your health insurance is, you can use a number less than $6000. This is approx what people say ‘fantastic health insurance’ but this is still an estimation. A ‘good’ health insurance plan may save you closer to ~$3000/year.

Costs- Time and Gas Money and Security?

You can include drive time and gas. This would raise your expected ~40 hour/week workload and reducing your $/hr accordingly.

Gas costs can be calculated/estimated to factor an additional expense for distance.

Could you factor in job security? A contract job has a higher risk of losing employment. For example, a GM employee or contract worker has a ’15’ percent chance of being cut. Should you factor this into a job at GM? These are your decisions to make rational job choices.

Real Life Example

Here is an example to show the possible complexities of this calculation. This could be simpler for your own life.

Data and situations are not perfect. Instead of an easy ‘fill in’ the blank, you should consider your situation and put numbers to it. Reminder that this is a multi-thousand dollar per year decision.

This outcome favors seeing the outcome of GM’s 15% cut to its workforce, as the commute and lack of vacation days at Nissan make the job a slight economic disadvantage. The final decision might come down to a ‘better career move’ decision as both jobs are competitive. Adjusted, the difference is only ~$2,500/yr. The career decision would only need to be worth $2,500 more to move to Nissan.

Rational Decision Making

The goal is to get closer to a good decision and notify you of abnormalities. Putting numbers to life decisions will often showcase harsh realities of being incorrect. A previous lifestyle, job, or career could be found to be a worse decision than a new opportunity. A new opportunity could also be a guilty pleasure to run from your current problems. Math can make you aware of these subconscious feelings. Its up to you to decide if that cost difference is worth it.

11-21-18 Chemical Engineering Hair Quality, Economy, and Downtime

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

If you have not seen, the results of our detailed health insurance study, it will save you thousands of dollars a year.

This week we look at engineering Quality of life.

And bonus, my personally intense week, is the next economic collapse starting?

Chemical Engineering Hair

Understanding the goal of shampoo, conditioner, and hair products will give you the tools to clean and control your hair.

Chemical Engineering Your Hair – Click Here

Before you skip this one, Dr. Mandy Kirk says its one of my best articles.

Economy and stuff

So- Maybe its the libertarian in me,

GM is starting to buy out old workers, FAANG and general recent stock has been awful, and I think there will soon be a chain reaction debt crisis somewhere in the world. Last reminder to buy Bitcoin before you see the words ‘Quantitative Easing’.

We personally are on cost freeze.

These moments are good and sobering, you take extra effort to watch expenses.

Next week we will have Jobs $/hr, Rational Decision making. Because ‘great health and dental’ should be quantified.

Earlier this week Efficiency Is Everything was down intermittently after going viral, having 178 people on at once took the website down. Thank you for sharing, I will fix the bugs.

Shoutout to Millionaire Mob who utilizes his food with Efficiency Is Everything, and as a bonus, I loved seeing his conclusions echoed what we collected in our Health Insurance study.

I wish you the best in finding ways to be Efficient. I’ve been enjoying my morning routine pay dividends in my own life, I hope it can in yours.
Michael Kirk