McDonalds Per Dollar – Calorie and Protein Per Dollar At The Largest Fast Food Chain

Cheapest McDonalds Food


With over 35,000 locations, this one will probably end up coming in handy.

How To Use

Select higher items that are similar – You get 50% more buying a Jr. Mac instead of a Big Mac. Not sure how picky you are, but some items are simply better deals.

Remove things you wouldn’t have ordered anyway – If you are a repeat customer, eliminate the over-the-top expensive items you weren’t a fan of. I never really liked their Fillet-o-Fish much anyway.

Fill up when desperate on Cheese Burgers – The protein + calories is going to be the best you are going to get. Consider purchasing a preferable item and one cheese burger for calories.

Should you get a drink? Drinks are technically Infinity Calories Per Dollar. Is it ethical to buy a soda pop and use McDonalds as a wifi hub all day? I can imagine drinking a lot of Calories, Caffeine and getting some work done.

McDonald’s Calories Per Dollar

If you frequent a specific location and want your customized data, download the list and enter your prices. The orders, calories, and protein servings are there for you. Also included in the excel file is Protein/Calorie and a dimensionless weighing system. Prices were similar enough between restaurants to make Efficient decisions.

New functionality! Click on a unit to sort

Menu Item Before Tax Price Calories Per Dollar Protein Per Dollar Cost If Eaten All Year Calories Protein
Sausage Buscuit $1.00 490.0 12.0 $1,489.80 490 12
Chocolate Cookie $0.39 435.9 5.1 $1,674.71 170 2
2 Apple Pies $1.29 356.6 3.1 $2,047.17 460 4
McChicken $1.00 350.0 15.0 $2,085.71 350 15
Fresh Baked muffin $1.49 302.0 4.7 $2,417.11 450 7
Sausage Burrito $1.00 300.0 12.0 $2,433.33 300 12
Cheeseburger $1.00 300.0 15.0 $2,433.33 300 15
Chocolate Shake $2.89 290.7 6.6 $2,511.55 840 19
Vanilla Shake $2.89 276.8 6.2 $2,637.13 800 18
Strawberry Shake $2.89 276.8 6.6 $2,637.13 800 19
Apple Pie $0.89 258.4 2.2 $2,824.78 230 2
McDouble $1.49 255.0 15.4 $2,862.37 380 23
Fudge Sundae $1.49 255.0 6.7 $2,862.37 380 10
Caramel sundae $1.49 255.0 6.0 $2,862.37 380 9
Big breakfast with hotcakes $5.49 245.9 6.4 $2,968.67 1350 35
Double Cheeseburger $1.79 240.2 14.0 $3,038.84 430 25
Oreo Mcflurry w/ candies $2.69 234.2 4.8 $3,116.98 630 13
Bacon McDouble $2.00 225.0 14.0 $3,244.44 450 28
Sausage McGriddles $2.00 215.0 5.5 $3,395.35 430 11
Strawberry Sundae $1.49 214.8 5.4 $3,399.06 320 8
Large Fries $2.39 213.4 2.9 $3,420.98 510 7
Sausage McMuffin $1.99 201.0 7.0 $3,631.75 400 14
Tripple Cheeseburger $3.00 173.3 10.7 $4,211.54 520 32
20 Pc. McNugget $5.19 171.5 9.4 $4,256.97 890 49
Classic Chicken Sandwich $3.00 170.0 8.3 $4,294.12 510 25
Sausage Buscuit with Egg $3.49 151.9 4.9 $4,806.98 530 17
Sweet BBQ Bacon crispy chicken $5.49 151.2 7.7 $4,828.55 830 42
Hot Caramel Macchiato $2.79 143.4 4.7 $5,091.75 400 13
Sausage,Egg & Cheese McGriddles $3.89 141.4 5.1 $5,163.09 550 20
Sweet BBQ Bacon burger $5.49 140.3 7.7 $5,204.81 770 42
Sausage biscuit with egg $3.79 139.8 4.5 $5,220.19 530 17
Pico Guacamole crispy chicken $5.19 138.7 6.4 $5,262.08 720 33
Snack Wrap $2.19 137.0 9.6 $5,329.00 300 21
2 Snack Wraps $4.38 137.0 9.6 $5,329.00 600 42
Garlic White Chedder crispy chicken $5.19 134.9 6.4 $5,412.43 700 33
Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles $4.09 134.5 4.4 $5,428.55 550 18
Vanilla cone $1.49 134.2 3.4 $5,438.50 200 5
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit $3.59 133.7 5.3 $5,459.79 480 19
Sausage McMuffin with Egg $3.59 130.9 5.8 $5,575.96 470 21
Fruit & Mapple oatmeal $2.40 129.2 2.5 $5,651.61 310 6
10 Pc. Buttermilk Crispy Tenders $9.69 129.0 10.1 $5,658.96 1250 98
Double Quarter Pounder $5.99 128.5 8.5 $5,678.83 770 51
Pico Guacamole burger $5.19 127.2 6.6 $5,740.45 660 34
2 Pc. Buttermilk Crispy Tenders $2.00 125.0 10.0 $5,840.00 250 20
Garlic White Chedder burger $5.19 123.3 6.4 $5,919.84 640 33
Sweet BBQ Bacon grilled chicken $5.49 122.0 9.1 $5,981.64 670 50
Mocha $2.79 121.9 3.2 $5,990.29 340 9
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Bagel $4.55 120.9 5.7 $6,039.09 550 26
Hash Browns $1.29 116.3 0.8 $6,278.00 150 1
Bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit $3.89 115.7 4.6 $6,310.44 450 18
Quarter Pounder $4.59 115.5 6.8 $6,322.08 530 31
Big mac $4.69 115.1 5.3 $6,340.19 540 25
Steak, Egg & Cheese Bagel $4.85 113.4 5.2 $6,437.27 550 25
Southwest buttermilk chicken salad $4.79 108.6 5.8 $6,724.42 520 28
Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles $3.89 108.0 4.6 $6,761.19 420 18
Buttermilk Crispy Chicken $5.29 107.8 5.3 $6,774.91 570 28
Bacon Ranch salad w/ buttermilk chicken $4.59 106.8 7.2 $6,838.16 490 33
Mango Pineapple smoothie $3.19 106.6 1.3 $6,849.12 340 4
Pico Guacamole grilled chicken $5.19 106.0 8.1 $6,888.55 550 42
Iced Mocha $2.79 103.9 2.5 $7,023.10 290 7
Strawberry Banana smoothie $3.19 103.4 1.3 $7,056.67 330 4
10 Pc. Chicken Nuggets $4.29 102.6 5.6 $7,117.50 440 24
Garlic White Chedder grilled chicken $5.19 102.1 8.1 $7,148.49 530 42
Fruit & yogurt parfait $1.49 100.7 2.7 $7,251.33 150 4
Hot Latte $2.79 100.4 5.4 $7,273.93 280 15
Filet-O-Fish $4.39 88.8 3.9 $8,217.18 390 17
Hamburger $3.00 83.3 4.3 $8,760.00 250 13
Egg McMuffin $3.79 79.2 4.7 $9,222.33 300 18
Iced Caramel Macchiato $2.79 75.3 2.2 $9,698.57 210 6
Iced Coffe $1.89 74.1 1.1 $9,855.00 140 2
Southwest Grilled chicken salad $4.79 73.1 7.7 $9,990.57 350 37
Artisan Grilled Chicken $5.29 71.8 7.0 $10,162.37 380 37
Bacon Ranch salad w/ Grilled chicken $4.59 69.7 9.2 $10,470.94 320 42
Egg White delight McMuffin $3.89 66.8 4.6 $10,921.92 260 18
Iced Latte $2.79 43.0 2.2 $16,972.50 120 6
Cappuccino $2.79 43.0 3.9 $16,972.50 120 11

\Raw Data Download


Key Takeaways

  1. Despite The Telegraph claiming the McDouble is the cheapest and most nutritious food in human history. It doesnt stack up to similar home cooked foods.
  2. The McDouble and Cheese Burger are the highest protein per dollar item at 15g/$. This is 33% more expensive than canned tuna and over 300% more expensive than chicken breasts. Honorable mention to the 20% more expensive McChicken.
  3. You could fill up on empty carbs with their 430 Calories Per Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies. Not exactly healthy, but I’ve done similar if I made a protein shake and wanted some solid food.
  4. It seems McDonalds runs sales, see their $1 cheese burger. In this case it was a top deal.

See how we apply engineering to life.

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The Highest Calorie Per Dollar Food In Human History- Oil vs Flour

With only 4 Weekly Updates left for the year my personal goal is for every article to be outstanding. Let me know how I’m doing, I’m always looking to improve.

Reminder that we have a Massive Nutrition Per Dollar Study and the classic Calorie Per Dollar List.

Studying The Highest Calories Per Dollar

Data Collection

Data was collected from various stores, sizes, and brands of different Carbohydrates and Fat.

Despite being bombarded with marketing, we know processed food and fast foods are expensive.

Empty carbs and Jugs of Oil? Those perform well for this metric.

Highest Calories Per Dollar

Take note of how quickly the effectiveness drops off(nonlinear). This is a big deal, especially as something worth 2000 calories per dollar costs 4x as much as your best values.

If you can beat the highest item at 8944 Calories Per Dollar, shoot me a message. The highest value by Christmas will get a copy of Efficiency Is Everything In Life. Send me an email with a photo of the price, Calories, and Servings.


  1. The first ‘edible’ food is Costco’s Rice at 4,800 Calories Per Dollar.
  2. Very few foods at your grocery store exceed 700 Calories Per Dollar
  3. Fast food and Restaurants give closer to 100-200 Calories Per Dollar

Conclusions- Do We Implement This?

Diet Shift

If you currently are eating Pasta or Rice, you are likely averaging about 2000 Calories Per Dollar on those carbs.

A 100% switch to flour(baked goods) would save you about 60 dollars a year. Not exactly worth a gigantic lifestyle change.

Consider it financially healthy to make cookies, fresh bread, and other baked goods*.

*Chocolate chips are expensive, Peanut butter is cheap

Reasonable Supplement

Getting all 2000 calories from Oils or Flour is a disaster waiting to happen.

Lets be reasonable, a ~500 calorie goal. 25% of an average diet.

For 500 Caloires:

Previous Average 700 Calories Per Dollar = 260$ a year
Soybeen Oil = 30$ a year

230$ a year in savings if you supplemented your diet with Costco’s 40lb Jug of Soybean Oil. 11,500$/lifetime

Decision Making

A few hundred dollars a year in savings don’t seem to be worth the lifestyle. However, I can’t blame someone who wants to take the $14,000 dollars in savings over their lifetime.

My Takeaways-

I looked through the data and found I should be buying my Rice from Costco or Aldi. The difference over Walmart hits close to home as it comes out to a very real 180$/year extra expense.

Soybean Oil was scary

I looked into Canola Oil, and their wikipedia page suggested it is decent. I am going to begin incorporating Canola Oil instead of Veg and Olive Oil when possible.

I’ll be using more Canola in my life.

Ideas for more Canola Oil:


I used to do make a similar shake when I was bulking for weight lifting. I used 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 16oz milk, and 1 scoop protein.

Here I suggest similar, but instead use 1 Tbsp of Corn Oil. Shake up and drink.


Lunch and dinner are easy. Oils add a pleasurable mouth-feel in food. Your body is constantly looking for this long term energy storage and has developed to enjoy the smoothness of fats.

You can add this to everything, Alfredo sauce, coat cooked chicken/meats, mix with a salad, mix into fried rice, heck- you can supplement fast food/restaurants by dipping your food in Oil.


Try swapping or supplementing canola oil in some recipes.

I don’t recommend doing this with butter, butter has flavor that is desired.

Time To Decide- Engineer Your Lifestyle

Engineers collect the data and decide the best course based on ability to meet specifications, cost, and time requirements.

You decide what requirements your food needs, make a decision, and optimize.

Reminder that we have a Massive Nutrition Per Dollar Study and the classic Calorie Per Dollar List.

Expand your Efficiency

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Taking a week off with- Party Wine Comparison

End of year is big, finish on a sprint. If you have any last articles you want in, email me right away.

Reminder Efficiency Is Everything – In Life, Beautiful Efficiency in the physical world. Read 3 chapters Free Here

Panara Bread Per Dollar – Don’t forget to get requests in ASAP

Allocated a lot of resources to study Grocery Stores. Engineering Intern Matt had strong opinions on high end wine. After we collected the data, he found interesting conclusions.

Here is Matt-

One of the biggest problems faced when attending a party is what food or drink you’ll bring to share with the guests. A bottle of wine is always a good bet when going to a dinner party, but what type do you bring???

Save Money – Don’t Overthink It

I love expensive wine, I really do. Hints of walnut with cast-iron undertones, its great. That’s not what your group of friends need. This is about a fun get together. In those situations the best bet is to go with a cheap wine that tastes good. Cheap wine like Oak Leaf is designed with one purpose, to taste commercially delicious. Oak Leaf finds no joy in having a “sophisticated” taste. We’re talking the “Family Guy” of wine. It tastes good to most people so it costs $7.


  • Buy the box wine. Its the best bang for your buck.
  • Stay away from reds, the alcohol percentage is lower and the bitterness makes them less appealing
  • Sparkling Wine is inefficient no matter the brand. Save money and stick with a Chardonnay, Moscato, or a Merlot.

Cheap Wine Is Better

Bringing box wine to  a party garners two reactions; Excitement or judgment. For those who wish to judge you on your box wine selection please point out the following:

  • Because of corks, an alarming amount of shelf wine is spoiled before you open it, Box Wine is much safer.
  • Box Wine is much more efficient to open and use as compared to traditional bottled wine.
  • It’s a party!

Download Data

Want to learn how to eat Healthy? Here is our Massive Nutrient Per Dollar Study
Save Time Drinking Water– Its actually significant, and learn about principles of Engineering your life.

Reminder to send/comment any articles you want studied before the end of the year, right away.

Aldi, Walmart, Costco, and More Grocer Comparison + Never Shop At Kroger Again

Seeing a deal vs Calculating a deal

Aldi will bring you in for loss leaders on Eggs, but their green peppers are 2x more expensive than Walmart. Which is more cost effective?

Typically we have used Calories Per Dollar, but there is nothing wrong with using other metrics. Rather than see which way a broccoli company rounded on protein nutrition, we will compare mass/$.

Process Notes:

Bulk sizes and store-brand were chosen when available.

We look at

Cost – Mass Per Dollar
Quality- Availability
Quality- Worker Pay

We did not look at: Self Checkout, Greeter Presence, and ‘Singing Employees’. My advice here- Don’t be weak. Basic human interaction is good for you. Consider it exercise.

Grocery Store Comparison

To Continue:

A common theme will be seen today, despite claiming to lower prices, Kroger was our worst performing store.

Aldi and Meijer did not have fresh broccoli available. We track this in a later section.

The size of the packaging didn’t matter to Aldi, who despite being 5lbs lighter was the cheapest place to get brown sugar.

Kroger looks to have a loss leader on butter. Costco does not seem to be the place to buy your weekly groceries.

When I go to Aldi, I usually limit myself to Eggs and Milk. Greek Yogurt hits 40g of protein per dollar at Aldi. This is exceptionally high and a recommendation.(Note, I haven’t tasted it)

Costco and Sams Club were recorded with their almost nauseating 3lbs of canned tuna. This does not reseal, and possibly intended for restaurants. This is more expensive than Walmart and Aldi consumer sizes. Aside from the membership fees, wholesale seems more like a Marketing tactic rather than bulk bargins.

Introducing Effectiveness

Efficiency is measured as Metric/Cost. Effectiveness is measured Metric/Maximum.

Aldi, Costco, Walmart, and Samsclub are all above 95% Effective. You aren’t losing that much going from store to store. However Meijer under 50% would be an awful place to frequently purchase flour.

Can you go into Aldi and Walmart with a smile and create a positive aura?

Sams Club is often close to the price of their own store, Walmart.

On many items we found it was significantly more expensive to get the Sams Club product.

While my original statement was a bit drastic(considering it was inspired by the fall of Carthage), I don’t see a reason to maintain a membership at Sams Club.

Thought this was interesting. Want that peanuty flavor? Peanut butter is 2x more effective than peanuts.

I’ve noticed this reoccurring, massive bulk packaging saves around 30% of the cost. That is the highest possible amount you can save from Costco and Sams Club. The top item was a 50lb bag of pinto beans. Despite my urge to believe I need commercial sized quantities of food, the savings on this 50lb bag is only 10 dollars, and in 2 years the food will have expired.

Oh Kroger…

Home Stretch

This looks quite odd, however, my Walmart and Aldi lack a variety of produce, their only Spinach was precut in packaged bags. The lesson here- Packaging is expensive, if you can avoid it, you will save money.

Walmart kicks butt on sugar. Wholesale doesnt benefit you for going big.

Aldi had a crazy loss leader, a bag of sweet potatoes for a dollar. I didn’t believe it, so it was the item I purchased to confirm, they gave you a multi-pound bag of sweet potato for 1 dollar.

Fish prices vary drastically by store.

Tortillas seem to be similar from store to store.

This week everyone had a sale on Turkey. It seems Walmart and Aldi are not having difficulty bringing people in. The protein per dollar is deceptively high due to using the weight of bird=weight of edible meat in this math.

More interested in the Calories per Dollar, Pasta seems to have gone down in price in the last few years. My goal for ’empty white carbs’ is around 2000 calories per dollar. I’ve gotten crazy deals on cereal close to that amount, and I usually stock up. At 2000 calories per dollar, anything is a pretty good buy. Walmart 1$ knockoff girl scout cookies often meet this criteria.

Raw Data can be found here.

Comparing Workers Wages

Really Kroger? Really?

Your decision if this matters to you. It doesnt seem like any grocery store pays well.

Variety and Cleanliness

From our list we found Costco, Aldi, and Sams Club did not have many of the items we were looking for.

How to Shop

Sams Club

Don’t shop at Sam’s Club.


Don’t shop at Costco.


Aldi is great for a few products, however, keep an eye out for massively expensive products. IE: If chicken breasts are 1$/lb more than other stores.


They have a massive variety of groceries at low costs. I recommend them for low cost fresh food and produce.


Meat costs were low. With protein being expensive, Meijer surprised me and will have a new customer. Warning to keep an eye out for expensive products.


Never again, and you should tell your friends.

Why Kroger?

How does a company pay their employees so poorly and have such uncompetitive food prices? Their target demographic will pay more. Flashy signs claiming low prices, clean store, a name that isnt ‘Walmart’. Upper Middle class people routinely go to Kroger without knowing how bad costs are.

Try eliminating Kroger, it will take a few weeks to learn a new grocery store, but your weekly savings will be noticeable.

Expand your Efficiency

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Completely Cut The Cord- Save Thousands By Replacing Cable Internet With Hotspots

Do you like the Newsletter format? Or should we go back to Article only?

Moved into our new half million dollar mortgage this week. First home ownership already has me thinking of topics like: Saving Time On Lawns and Landscaping, Thermodynamics of Heating a home, Quality Metrics of Patios, Moving items upstairs using Buffers… and we’ve only been living there 4 days.

Home Ownership Efficiency Incoming

Jimmy John’s Calories and Protein Per Dollar– Optimize your Order, pick the best bread.

If you have been thinking about trying biphasic sleep, take a look at our new Sleep Section. Our implementation to save 12 hours a week plus anecdotes and tips from others that have made the change and ‘won’t be going back’.

Heads up on a ‘non engineering’ article coming up. Finance/Investing. I feel almost irresponsible for not discussing this in the past. Investing can take money today and make it worth 7x as much in the future without any extra effort. I’ll go through the math and focus on quality metrics. There will be no affiliate plugs, just math and some notes about my own investments.

Cutting the Cord, The Next Generation

I’ve heard the term ‘Cut the Cord’, the big middle finger to Cable companies for annoying introductory rates.

Replacing Cable TV with alternatives. This was studied earlier this year. This still requires using the Cable company for internet service.

Next, We remove cable companies from your home using Hotspots.

Premise- Meeting Quality Specifications

Internet needs to provide:

  • Netflix
  • Video Games- MMORPGs(I suppose its 2017, so MOBAs?)
  • Multiple users Googling
  • Youtube

Or whatever you need. You decide your quality specifications.

These specifications achievable through Comcast and AT&T internet. If Comcast is 5 dollars cheaper than AT&T, and they both hit all quality specifications, spending $5 extra dollars a month for AT&T would be Overprocessing Waste.

You are paying extra money and not getting value.

If Hotspots can meet those specifications, you can make the change without noticing any change.

Testing Hotspot Technology

Steps to Test:

  1. Turn on your phone’s Hotspot.
  2. Change your home internet to your new Wifi
  3. Test connectivity to your favorite websites
  4. Test Video Streaming Services. All of them ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  5. Test Video Games
  6. Make a decision if the internet speed met your expectations

Upon finishing our testing, Tmobile’s LTE was a suitable replacement for our needs. Our plan is about 60$/month for 1 phone’s service, which we also write off as a business expense in taxes. (hmmm… Might have to write about tax writeoffs…)

Next Steps

You need to conduct your own test. Try it tonight, make sure you plug in your phone for charging.

Very quickly we found that Hotspot technology met all of our expectations. Cancel your $50+/month cable bill. If your service is good enough, you won’t notice the difference… except for saving hundreds of dollars a year.


Make the change to Hotspots, optimize your money!

Get the latest Efficiency articles to save time and money applying Industrial Engineering

Learn more Efficiency to improve your daily life.

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.

The Math To Throwing Parties Efficiently – Appetizers, Food, Oz Liquid Drinks, Alcohol, Per Dollar

With the holidays’s coming up, you can save money on throwing your own party understanding the cost breakdown of throwing parties. Article idea courtesy of Brooke.

New for 11-1-17:

Week 2 Video + 4 solutions to avoid wasting money on fast food

For Arby’s Fans, Calories And Protein Per Dollar– For cheaper and healthier- Nutrient Per Dollar Study.

Last Chance to join our 2 Hours Per Week Workout for free. 12 others have signed up to transform, its only 2 hours a week.


All food recommendations ahead are mostly out of time necessity. If you have time, you can likely save money by making homecooked hipster foods. Your friends will like it better too.

Party Essentials

Throwing a party should focus on the people, not the features. However, without food and drinks, parties teeter out, making providing these a necessity.

Paper Plates, Cups, and Napkins

The following two are full studies that I found fascinating to run.

Paper Plates, Plastic Cups, and Plastic Forks were studied last year. We found the prices so cheap, I was afraid releasing the article would cause massive pollution.

Regarding Cleanup- Paper Towels and Napkins Per Dollar

All Raw Data For This Article- Click Here

Drinks For Thirst

This is one of those ‘Quantity over Quality”. Although, if your goal is to quench your thirst, Quantity is your Quality.

Drinks For Drunk

Old Article, Ethanol Per Dollar. The list below is different, more party-centric.

This has a bit of variety and can give you a scale to understand how much alcohol comparatively costs to one another.

Bread and Circuses, Feeding The Masses

Starting with food, Appetizers are a warmup as a party gets started. It also saves the evening of someone who forgot to eat.

Note that home cooked foods dominate the top of the list. Filler carbs performed well too.

Eggs were on sale causing the Protein Per Dollar to skyrocket. As an aside, eggs are a fantastic value, especially as grocery stores like Aldi and Walmart fight for the lowest cost carton of eggs. Keep an eye out of sales on commodities(milk, bread, meat, etc…), they are actually deals. Sales on Name Brand products are advertisements, not efficient.

Frozen foods like bagel bites performed poorly. As a recommendation, if you are going to spend that much money, get a veggie tray.

Catered food?

I was originally going to compare catered food, but after 6 restaurants, I found the prices were high and the quality wasnt comparable. The cheapest I found was Pizza, and as you spend closer to 10-15 dollars a person, you will get banquet level food.

Major Food Solutions

Need dinner amounts of food? I’m a big fan of cooking. The most difficult aspect here is cooking massive amounts of food at a single time. Pasta with sauce, slow cooker pulled pork, meatballs, etc.. are all cost friendly options.

Look for deals this winter on meats. Last year I found Turkey for almost 1.00$/lb. In the past, I’ve found Ham on sale as well.


For a house party, we like to visit Wikipedia This Day In History, and throw a party about the event. Telling everyone to wear a single color, make funny related games, and naming appetizers is a cheap way to add some Culture to the party.

DIY custom banners are significantly cheaper than a professional custom banner. Your call if a generic Happy Birthday Banner is worth the price. Consider the event before impulsively buying dollar store decorations. Your party should have life without tacky generic decoration.

If you must, garage sales, thrift shops, and dollar stores can fill up your home with decoration.


While I’m not a fan of board games, having friends bring board games can be a free way to keep people entertained. However, I’m repulsed by board games, I’d much rather wander around talking to party-goers.

Background music is a free MUST. It sets the mood of the party, use it for Good.

I’m a big fan of twister.


Lots of information this week, but here are my takeaways:

  • The more DIY, the lower the cost.
  • Food is cheap, Alcohol is more expensive. Catered food is more expensive than Alcohol.
  • If friends are offering, have them bring their favorite drink instead of food
  • Parties are often lower cost than visiting a restaurant or going to a bar
  • All of my parties will now include peanuts 😛

Other tips:

Don’t forget Ice, Utensils, Mini Umbrellas, Ice, Lemons, Limes, and Ice. Don’t forget ice.

Let me know what you think, how else can you optimize a party?

High Per Dollar – The Data – Legal vs Pharma vs Illegal Drugs.

Disclaimer: This is a study, may the data be used for Good.

New This Week

Failed Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Haley’s Q&A

First Efficiency Challenge – You will save money, take it on!

Fun Fact, The Definition of Efficiency (Wikipedia):

Efficiency is often measured as the ratio of useful output to total input, which can be expressed with the mathematical formula r=P/C, where P is the amount of useful output (“product”) produced per the amount C (“cost”) of resources consumed.

Product Per Cost Of Various Drugs- Data Collection

The data gathered for this study was from peers, it varies by region, person, etc… however the data came out to be significantly more consistent than expected. Hours High Per Dollar seems to come out on an exponential scale rather than linear. This made it forgiving for price differences.

Drug should be pretty straight forward, Situation is how its consumed. IE: 5 Cups of coffee, 1 (one time use), Average Smoker(daily). Duration was close to the average, and rounding up/down taking into consideration half-life and order of reaction.

Remember all of this is user data, if you would like to contribute data, leave a comment and I’ll get it updated.

Hours High Per Dollar

Caffeine Vs Everybody

Warning Caffeine kicks butt. I’m not impartial, I drink 5 Cups of Caffeine a day.

Appetite suppressant, nootropic, and highest High Per Dollar. Caffeine is the best drug, relatively safe, and wildly accessible.

The accessibility of caffeine means many forms of getting the drug. While I used drip coffee, even an expensive trip to a Fast Coffee Shop is lower cost than many alternatives.

Now, Caffeine might not make you forget your existence and decide to live the rest of your life as an Orange- but it can be powerful.

Even with a high tolerance, 5 cups of coffee during work hours will have me focused, excited, and jittery. Plus, who knows, maybe questioning your own existance on psychoactive drugs could be a bad idea. Then again, it is possible to die from caffeine, so- use this data for Good.

Other Oddities

A few things to point out:

  1. Hard Drugs are Bad, mmk? Heroin and Cocaine are not very good deals for occupying time
  2. Weed appears lower cost than Alcohol on a “One Off” bases and an addictive habitual use
  3. Prescription drugs vary drastically by type
  4. Your best deal for a daily habit is Caffeine, then Weed, then Alcohol, then Nicotine, then hard drugs.

If there is any interest in deeper studies like a more comprehensive Nicotine or Prescription drug study, comment. My drug use is limited to daily caffeine, alcohol, weed, and occasionally Kava Tea.

Can this be used for Good?

I’m unsure what problems this study can solve.

Could the math behind this encourage better government policy toward drugs?

Could this be used by addicts to attempt to replace an expensive drug with a safer and lower cost alternative?

Any ideas how this data can be used for good?

Free Yourself From Marketing – The Non Value Added Trick

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Marketing is one of the fastest ways to overspend. Looking at marketing from a quality aspect will free you to save money. Its been too long to not address the 0 Value Added nature of Marketing-

Beat Marketing – Save Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

It never looks like this. And why is there a fire in the background?

During my masters, I took a marketing class. It was horrifying and I can’t Unsee.

Your Lifechanging Homework:

  1. Turn on Cable TV.
  2. Go to BET and watch the commercials.
  3. Go to the Country Station and watch the commercials.
  4. Go to comedy central, watch the commercials.

This is an actual challenge for you, It woke me up. Spend a moment and watch commercials.

The Math

To show you how quickly a Marketing gimmick can set you back-

You buy a new car, costing you 20,000 dollars more than your specified quality requirements needed.

Future Value = Present Value (1+Interest Rate)^Number of Years

Future Value = 20,000*(1+0.07)^30 = $150,000

$20,000 as a 35 year old has the Future Value of over $150,000 by retirement.

Creating Quality Metrics

When I look at a problem, I break it down to Cost, Time, and Quality Metrics. A product’s marketing doesn’t convert to any tangible quality metric. This makes it easy to objectively analyze what value you get out of a product.

As some examples of quality: Taste, Expiration Date, Beauty, Long Lasting, Uniqueness, Potency, etc… These matter. A hilarious joke during the Superbowl? Non Value Added Marketing.

Brand Names- Hit and Miss

I’m a huge fan of offbrand products for commodities.

However, there is sometimes a correlation between a name brand product over an Offbrand. Offbrand Goldfish crackers don’t seem to have quite the Crack. Goldfish Crackers are reliable, they always tastes good.

We buy brand name Frozen Broccoli because Great Value gave you broccoli stems and called it broccoli. This is very much a quality metric that you can define:

Is a Broccoli Floret- True/False

You can make a better decision, instead of grabbing the brand name, it might be better to look into alternatives like Fresh or a lower cost Brand. But it needs to be a Broccoli Floret

(Note, not all quality metrics need to be a number like Calories Per Dollar, they can be Boolean(True/False). )

Selecting Products Objectively

  1. Define what quality metrics you are looking for
  2. Look over prices of products that meet Quality Specification
  3. Select the lowest cost product that meets Quality Specifications

You Will See Marketing Everywhere

Marketing evolves quickly. Black and white commercials were straight forward. Today entire organic looking podcasts/websites dedicated to affiliate sales yet they have fans.

Sneaky Modern Examples

Here are just a few examples that you may have seen recently:

Instant Pot on Reddit, Facebook, Mom Blogs, Twitter, and Instagram. All organic looking posts, done by marketing teams.

Soylent’s Vitamin and Protein Powder marketed as a magic drink that feeds you. They even have fake Facebook accounts to make fun of their name to seem organic and popular.

Aldi was caught on Reddit acting grassroots. (Astroturfing)

Health Insurance’s show. High cost plans actually cost you MORE money if you broke your arm and got cancer in the same year. Giving people 5 options called Gold and Platinum are marketing and a worse product. This is a scummy and unknowing people pay literally hundreds of thousands of dollars extra in their lifetime because of it. I’ll do the math when Insurance Season comes around.

Marketing Quality

Marketing is an unfortunate part of any successful business and will always be necessary. Its up to you to learn about products and break it down to things important to you.

Redbull charges insane amounts Caffeine Per Dollar to make their product a scarce luxury. Then they throw parties for various social communities. We’ve attended a Redbull Art Gallery and Starcraft party. I support Redbull’s marketing. They choose to invest their resources into their fans rather than product deception.

While I’m not a believer in Organic, Gluten Free, Preservative Free, Filtered, Natural, etc.. Products. These are real quality metrics to be considered.

There can be specialty premium that I pay for, but they are Quality based, not Marketing. H&M clothes are only good for 1 season. I will go for brand name jeans that fit well and last.

I often see Protein Powder + Nutrition Fads are putting a spin on everything to mark up whey protein more than 300%. That’s Marketing.

Superstar Brands

Gucci, Tesla, That nice watch… Those are Veblen Goods

Veblen Goods

That watch didnt cost 1,000 dollars to make, but you want it. Nike Shoes and your store only has 30? Scarcity. Rolls Royce, very pretty interior, but you can get a pretty interior for under 300,000 dollars.

What Quality do you want?

Do you want a stylish watch? You can get something beautiful AND interesting for easily less than $100.

Do you want a nice pair of shoes? Do you need the Nike logo? Or can you find shoes that have more support, fit better, and last longer than this week’s Nike?

You want a fast car? What are the lowest cost vehicles that can hit 200 mph? Could you rent them?

High prices are a marketing tactic. Artificially tricking the user to assume high quality when luxury products are notorious for a short life.

Be smart, laugh off these tacky companies.

Protecting yourself from marketing is big money.

Despite seeing through these examples, I’m a puppet to marketing daily. Top Instagram accounts, ‘The News’, the popular page of reddit, twitter hashtags, and more are controlled by massive companies with insane resources. News is what a person wants to teach people. Marketing is unavoidable and no one has time to put up their guard 24/7.

If you can beat Marketing, you will be enormously wealthy while “The Joneses” will keep buying what their TV tells them.

Keeping a close eye at you resources, you can allocate them. Looking at what you purchase and quantifying it based on cost and quality free yourself from the burden of Marketing.

-Michael Kirk

Reminder, Your Lifechanging Homework:

  1. Turn on Cable TV.
  2. Go to BET and watch the commercials.
  3. Go to the Country Station and watch the commercials.
  4. Go to comedy central, watch the commercials.

Expand your Efficiency

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Miles Per Dollar- New vs Used vs Uber, The Most Efficient Automobile

Request from Sophia who is in the market for a new car. Instead of pointing her at a price tag, I decided to deep dive the cost of automotive transportation and prove it with tons of math. Protein Per Second next week, get hyped.

What REALLY is a car?

Beautiful Scenery, empty roads, someone with perfect hair driving a car, trendy music, and a ‘low cost’ financing plan.

Marketing strikes again.

Commercials will try to convince you that buying or leasing a new car is your ticket to happiness, popularity, and no traffic.

See beyond Automotive Marketing so you can get a higher quality product and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in your lifetime. The goal of this article is to debunk the myth that a new or leased car will ever be lower cost than a Used Car.

Disclaimer: I work in Auto, if you want to see how unbiased and objective I make this website, this is your article.

The Data And Methodology

Usually I go through the math first, add a drum roll, and present the data. However, it shouldn’t exactly surprise anyone that Used cars are lower cost than New. This data doesn’t tell the full story of my findings, and I encourage you to continue reading and explore the raw data.

Data out of Context

Depending on what dealership you go to, what features you select, private seller vs licensed… Prices for a used OR new car are going vary drastically. The lowest cost New cars are misleading, they exist to ‘get you in the door’. An Advertised 12,000 dollar Nissan Altima is likely going to cost you something closer to 16,000 dollars by the time you sign.

To see this further, a 2014 Ford F150 ‘costs more’ than a 2017 Ford F150. A New Car buyer does not often buy the economy version.

However, to kill the myth that a New Car is cheaper, I wanted to give New Cars the benefit of doubt.

How To Compare Buying New, Leasing, and Buying Used

New, Lease, and Used cars all have different quality aspects that should be noted.

Technology And Repairs

New cars often come with 3 years of ‘fix all’ problems. ~30,000 dollars and for 3 years, you wont be worried about the cost of a surprise issue, the manufacturer will take care of it. They also have the “latest technology” and styling. Lease cars are similar, taking the risk of a future problems and granting you the latest car available. These are often lower cost out of pocket, but a New car may last over a decade.

Used cars vary greatly. A 500 dollar car is unreliable, but a used car from 2015 will be as reliable as any. Technology can be as young as 2 years old which means it will have power mirrors, windows, and a backup cam.

Methodology- Repair Math And Yearly Expenses

I surveyed people on the Efficiency Is Everything Facebook to find out what repairs they needed. I found that on a yearly average, a user can expect to spend about 900 dollars a year on Repairs and Maintenance.

Adding in averages for Fuel, Insurance, Government Licences- A car costs a total of ~4300$/year to maintain after purchase.

I was surprised that given my unique inputs, the cost of car ownership was very similar to AAA’s calculation. Also note- I did not include financing and depreciation.

Long Lasting Math

As time goes on, a 30,000 dollar car will be averaged over years and years. I used 5 years of ownership for Miles Per Dollar. The raw data has calculations for 1,2,5, and 10 years.


I will use the Average New Car cost and compare. Before this article, I don’t think I could have survived a Car Dealership Salesmen. ~$30,000 New or 1.4 Miles per Dollar.

For Uber, I used an estimated cost of a 20 mile, 30 minute drive, converted to Cost Per Mile, and multiplied that by the 15,000 miles an Average American drives per year.


The survey turned out fascinating, with reasons for buying new that surprised me, we break this down into Monetary, Time, and Perceived Quality.

My recommendation in 1 sentence: Get a used car you can afford WITHOUT having to finance it, and make sure it has side airbags.


Used Cars are cheaper than a New Car. While not a single person surveyed claimed to spend more than 7,000 dollars on repairs over the lifespan of their vehicle, a single 10,000 dollar repair would still be lower cost than the average cost of a new vehicle.



The most common words from a New Car buyer is that they avoid being stranded.

This seems to be a pretty rare occurrence, I did want to note it. I couldn’t find any probabilities, but it seems to be something that doesn’t happen in cars under 10 years old. Beyond that, it continues to be a rare occurrence.

My recommendation: Get stranded, and Uber to your final destination.

New Car Smell

“No one else farted in your car.”

I found this quote fascinating. What exactly is amazing about a new car? Is there a difference between a sweaty factory worker moving the car out of the assembly plant and having someone drive 30,000 miles in a vehicle before giving it to you? I’m not sure, I buy shirts that I know other people tried on. I wish I could quantify this into a unit. I understand, it is weird to think of people living in your Home before you. Although I personally wouldn’t pay any premium for this ‘unused’ feature.

“Keeping up with the Jones”

There is a Showoffy aspect of having a new car. Personally I think this is Tacky. To each their own. I would bet that this feeling of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ is Marketing.

As someone with a household income significantly higher than 6 figures, I’m giving permission to laugh off commercials, luxury products, and new products. This is Marketing to those that don’t know better.

“I like it”

If cars are a hobby… you probably aren’t buying new cars anyway. Older cars are easier to work with and are more unique.

If you like the feeling of buying a new car… That’s Marketing. For the same reason, collecting luxury products like $1,000 Watches- its Marketing.

I recommend a Used Car that you can afford without financing and have side airbags

The rest of this article is my personal opinion and is not backed by data.

(Optional/Bonus) Automotive Stereotypes

Working in South East Michigan has brought me around people with strong car opinions. While reviews your Model + Model Year are your greatest indicator of how your car will perform, I have some Stereotypes for each company.

Note- I’ve worked with Honda, Ford, General Motors, and Nissan.

Personal Choices

Honda + Toyota– Very Reliable but boring cars. Japanese manufactures focus on long lasting components at the cost of having older technology and styles.

Ford – American manufactures focus on the latest technology. Ford was the first company to have a Smart display Sync. However, being first, users were frustrated with the untried interface. Similar reliability as Japanese manufacturers.

General Motors (Chevy, Buick, etc..)– Similar to Ford. Latest and greatest technology. Slightly more expensive than Ford. Similar reliability.

Probably Would Pass

Nissan and Fiat Chrystler These companies have management issues that cascade down to products. The engineers have a reputation of ‘doing what they want’. Risky buy IMO.

BMW, Audi, Volkswagen

– German superiority translates into high cost vehicles, high cost components, and a funky style. People pay the premium for the uniqueness on the road. Similar reliability as Japanese manufacturers.


Kia I’m not a fan of Kia. I have benchmarked their cars and studied their marketing. They seem to go for low quality products but sell their cars at moderate prices. Cute Mice dancing is marketing and wont have an effect on your millage.

Tesla I like Elon Musk, but if I am going to recommend a low cost, high miles per dollar car. I cannot. Tesla vehicles are brand new, first model years ever. They havent had the experience of decades of testing and lessons. This is unavoidable for a new car. When you buy a Tesla, you are buying into the marketing like a Gucci Car rather than a reliable automobile.

Take Away

Despite everything I posted, reviews for the specific Model Year are more important than brand name. I would look for something 1 year AFTER a major revision release.

-Michael Kirk

Entertainment Per Dollar- Cable TV, Netflix, Sony Vue, Audible, Youtube, and more

Edit: Fourms aren’t working as intended. I would appreciate if you mentioned breakfast foods you would like studied in the comments. I will study them for next weeks article.

Not going full social media, however there were requests to expand the knowledge base of Life Efficiency.

Contribute to the study of Life Efficiency by answering my questions or suggesting and discussing new topics.

Looking for specific suggestions for items to study for next week’s Food Study. I added the link to the menu or Click Here

Cost Efficient Entertainment And Sports

If you aren’t already watching Youtube for your entertainment, spend a few weeks watching and subscribing to videos you enjoy. Soon Youtube will learn from you and give you life changing content.

My parents are still spending thousands of dollars a year on Cable TV, full of commercials, and no ability to watch videos faster. Dropping cable TV in favor of internet entertainment will save you money.

Even with Youtube, We still find reasons to spend money for entertainment. Netflix, Big 10 Network, Game of Thrones.

Looking to optimize and find the lowest cost solutions for Entertainment and Sports.

Entertainment Per Dollar

We hooked up a laptop via HDMI cable to our Flat Screen TV. That + a USB Mouse/Keyboard gives us the freedom only a computer can provide.

Youtube is my go-to for entertainment with Netflix HD(Split with Family) slightly trailing behind in daily usage. Hulu is a low cost way to watch Game Of Thrones.

Efficiency Conclusions For Sports Fans

I was pretty excited about Sling TV(7 Day Free Promo) but they don’t have Big 10 Network, which is my biggest reason to get a sports package. If you aren’t watching Big 10 games, I recommend that for a sports fan.

I watch Michigan Football. At 39 hours per year, its a time efficient sport. Long Time Fan + Married into a Dr. from University of Michigan. However, it looks like that is going to cost me 35$/month to get fully legal Michigan Football through Youtube TV or Fubotv.

Time To Cut Cable

We have been Cable TV Free since 2012. Commercials seem extremely weird to me. Why is a hippie randomly meditating in front of a couple and why is he offering a credit check? Bizarre.

If you havent cut cable yet, I challenge you to. If you already have made the jump, optimize your entertainment so you get exactly what you need.

Friendly reminder- You should probably call your cable internet company and threaten to leave for a lower rate.

Share Efficiency with your friends so I can spend less time Marketing and you can get more Engineering.