Protein Powder Per Dollar 2022

Efficiency User Leo J. reached out with a suggestion for protein powder. It seemed quite a bit more expensive than what the original protein powder per dollar article was suggesting. I looked up our former recommendation and was shocked to see our former leader in protein powder had gone up to $80 for a 5lb bag. It was time to revisit this study. (Old article here)

Hope you like this no-fluff study, its the opposite of the SEO spam all over Google.

Comparison before Marketing/Sales/Discounts

Any long time viewer here knows how much I loathe marketing tricks, so the first set of data that will be presented is without sales. I wonder if there is some sort of dishonesty correlation between companies that run constant sales and the quality of their product.

Comparison With Marketing/Sales/Discounts

Finally, what you actually want, the current cost of protein, including the never ending sales.

Myprotein tops the list again. They seem to have a forever ‘40% ends today’ gimmick. As much as I hate marketing gimmicks, this is where you can get the cheapest protein powder. EDIT: WRONG, MyProtein changed to a 30% off gimmick today. If they don’t have that gimmick, you can use this referral link for a 30% off coupon.

I used to like MyProtein as a company and their protein powder before this silly marketing strategy. I suppose if you can get the discount, its fine. If you can’t get the discount, Walmart is the cheapest. To free yourself from marketing tricks, I highly recommend this article and the exercises suggested, its like a traumatic experience.

$0.04 Sports Drink, using Stoichiometry to reverse engineer the Gatorade and Pedialyte formula

Feel free to skip to the formula later in the article, the rest of the article describes the effectiveness and limitations.

Using College Chemistry 1 skills, you can calculate the amount of salt(NaCl), NoSalt(KCl), and Sugar needed to replicate Gatorade and Pedialyte.

This can be useful for rehydrating yourself after an intense workout, an intense night drinking, or an intense trip to the bathroom.

Inspired by Alex Harrison

Anecdotes on effectiveness

After running 6 miles in 90F+ sunny weather, water will not quench my thirst. I could drink 50oz of water and still be thirsty. This means you need salt. I have used this drink to quench my thirst.

After my friend accidentally drank what she thought was ~15% ‘apple pie moonshine’ but was closer to 30%, she was basically passed out. This ultra sugary drink was the recipe for a hangover. I made the World Health Organization rehydration drink and she hated it. But… no hangover, and we are in our 30s.


Some ingredients are more complicated than an element on the periodic table of elements. You can still get within the same order of magnitude by comparing the order of ingredients. If an ingredient is shown after salt, you can assume there is less weight of it. Using this, we figured out that there should be more citric acid than salt.

There also seems to be Sodium Citrate, which I occasionally will add. I consider it negligible. I suppose an improvement would be including it in the sodium calculation. I should note that the World Health Organization rehydration drink includes Sodium Citrate or Sodium Bicarbonate. The scientific article I read mentioned this is for the correction of acidosis. I’m not certain the purpose, especially in the presence of citric acid. My only guess is that it makes a buffer solution. As soon as we talk about Buffers, we leave General Chemistry 1, and find ourselves in late General Chemistry 2. The lazy solution is to sprinkle a tiny bit of sodium citrate, which I rarely do.

You can/should substitute ~5g of sugar for fructose, I’m sure my athlete friends will pounce on me for suggesting we just use sugar. Its what I use. You somewhat need sugar as it helps the rehydration process.

The Formula for Homemade Gatorade and Pedialyte

I used a gram scale to measure these, but I provided the measurements in typical cooking measurements, this loses some of the accuracy but after making a few I started eyeballing it.


591 ml Water or 2.5 cups
0.636 g Salt (NaCl) or 1/16 tsp
0.124 g NoSalt (KCl) or 1 large pinch (3 small pinches)
35g Sugar or about 2 tbsp slightly heaping
0.8g Citric Acid or 1/8 tsp

It should be noted, my wife loves when I add 1/4 tsp citric acid, it makes it more like a candy drink. You can substitute this with lemon or lime juice. As a note my wife told me “Let them know I’m picky and was reluctant to try this, but now its my favorite.”


360 ml Water or 1.5 cups
0.941 g Salt (NaCl) or 3/4 of a 1/8 tsp
0.534 g NoSalt (KCl) or 1/16 tsp
10g Sugar or a little less than 1tbsp

Bonus: World Health Organization rehydration drink. Warning this is absurdly salty, use this for emergencies only. This one is not fun, but it works. https://www.who.int/medicines/publications/pharmacopoeia/Oralrehydrationsalts.pdf

The Math – Calculate Your Own

Feel free to download the:

Sports Drink Calculator

to calculate your own size/strength sports drink.

Here is a photo of what you are going to work with, the green is the final answer.

Sports Drink Calculator

If you want this in Google Sheets format, or a request, shoot me an email. Contact Us is below.

Credit Card 5% cash back this Q4, 2% cashback always- free money IF YOU PAY ON TIME

No affiliates here, just excitement that I saved 2% on $10,000 dollars on our medical bills(24 hours in the hospital when Mandy gave birth).

WAIT! You must pay your credit card back on time

Disclaimer, you only save money if you pay your balance off before the bill is due. If you don’t, the credit card company wins.

These incredible savings exist to tempt you to overspend. Have you ever been unable to pay off a credit card? If so, you might want to exit this article because the deal is tempting. If you have learned your lesson, ‘never again’, these savings might be worth it.

I’m excited about 5% at Walmart and Amazon, 2% everywhere

To make it clear that I’m not some shill for credit card companies, you will have to google which credit cards I’m discussing. However I wanted to give you some ideas which products I’m spending 5% on. (Thanks to a few people who contacted me with ideas)

The 5% cash back at some stores

>Christmas Presents

>Backup Harddrive

>Battery Backup/Generator

>Basement flooring

>Air Filters (for the home furnace and for the car)


>Materials for our charity

These I can all buy with this 5% cash back and generally don’t have an expiration date. (or I was going to buy anyway)

2% on everything

Here are some items that I can’t get 5% cash back on, but I get 2% cash back on everything-

>Home utilities (Gas, Electric, Internet)




>Fast food(on vacations, otherwise we eat at home)

>And everything else

Don’t overspend! Don’t overspend

Wrapping up this article that is likely common knowledge, I just want to remind you that if you do not pay off your credit card, you lose the game. The credit card company wins. So, don’t overspend.

Definitely consider these credit cards, as long as you can handle yourself.

Avoid the $1,000,000 dollar lifetime 401k mistake- Operating Expenses

This is nothing ground breaking, other websites may cover this in detail, however the sheer amount of money at play makes this incredibly important.

Do you know what your 401k’s Operating Expenses are?

If your answer is ‘No’, this is likely the most important article I’ve written for you. Its also one of the best $/hr savings since you can change this in mere minutes. Want to make $1,000,000/hr? Keep reading.

When you signed up for a 401k, you chose various plans to invest your money into. They most likely were classified by risk and had name that describes which assets and what company controls it. Each of these plans have different operating expenses.

If you look into each plan, you can find things like stock/asset breakdowns, performance, etc… What you are most interested in to save money is the Operating Expense or Expense Ratio which is typically shown as a percentage.

Which plan should I pick?

Up to you really. I’ve seen people laugh at people paying 1% for unmanaged money. Maybe if you find the next Michael Burry, its worth paying 1%. However, if you randomly picked 401k plans with little oversight, it may be better to pick index funds that are closer to 0.1%. Personally the most expensive 401k plan I have has a 0.3% operating expense, and that invests in small businesses.

I’m a huge fan of diversifying and keeping fees low.

How much money will I save?

If you are paying 1% instead of a 0.1% plan for the next 35 years, you are paying something like-

1- (0.991^35)= 1- 0.728= 27% fee for 35 years.

Note that I saw plans as high as 1.3% fees, and you could be investing from the age of 18 years old and withdrawing as old as 115 years old. 62% fee! If you had $5,000,000 in your account, $3,000,000+ would have been taken in fees.

And further, as you make gains in the market, that money goes up in value, so you are paying an even higher fee than mentioned above.

But I need to look up my login/password, research…decision fatigue

1 million dollars. $1,000,000. If you aren’t aware of your operating expenses on your 401k, you can think of this as spending $1,000,000 on the wrong groceries, cable company, cellphone plan, etc… You fix this one time, and you don’t need to think about it again. To update my investments, it took me less than 1 hour.

Reminds me of those meme questions- Would you do X for $1,000,000?

Would you update your 401k plan for $1,000,000?

Baby Formula Per Dollar

Baby formula has lots of fancy labels, and its difficult to know if the different colors and words on the labels have a serious meaning.

Abstract- What do you want in baby formula?

All baby formula meets FDA nutrition requirements. Most baby formula has similar amounts of nutrients with 1 exception, the ‘premature’ type. The premature label has around ~20%-30% more nutrients.

Outside of that, the big ingredients are pretty similar from brand to brand, milk, oil, protein powder, corn syrup/sugar and various vitamins.

There are some brands that include probiotics, swap milk for soy, etc… if you wanted these qualities, you could compare oz/$ and look for those ingredients.

The goal of this study was to find the lowest cost baby formula, and ensure we were getting adequate nutrition. If individual ingredients are your style, you can check the data in .xlsx format which includes 13 samples with ingredients typed out.

Download baby-formula-data.xlsx

Data- Baby Formula Per Dollar

Rank is calculated as Sum of all(X Vitamin/ X Vitamin Max) divided by the total number of vitamins. A score of 1 is best, a score of 0 is worse. Any duplicates are various sizes.

Given the FDA has nutrition requirements and most stores provide the oz/$, you can essentially do this study at your local store with a quick glance. The only added benefit here is the comparison of nutrient amount. The nice part is that the data confirms nutrients are pretty similar.

Some casual commentary from the engineer that has been doing this research for years- I find it ‘funny’ that Walmart brand has the worst quality on the cheapest product(as shown in rank). In the dog food study, the Walmart versions had a number 1 ingredient of corn, while other stores had a number 1 ingredient of meat. The other Walmart brands performed better for quality, and even the lowest cost is competitive for quality. I wonder what is going on that causes brand name to be literally 2x more expensive.

Conclusions- Buy the cheapest? or second cheapest? Or whatever works for your kid.

We currently buy Parents Choice Gentle Infant Formula to supplement breast milk(which is the cheapest if you eat better than 200 calories per dollar).

With extra time, I’d research every ingredient, normalize for spelling/abbreviations, and see the commonalities/differences. From a quick glance, I am not concerned unless you really want probiotics/immune system stuff. At that point, its a simple comparison between the options that contain your desired ingredient.

Qualities – The engineering tool, not the buzz word, (Theory)

Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

On this website, we will use things like Calories, Vitamin A (g), Amount of 4G data/$. These qualities can be measured.

Or I can use it in my personal life. Label Maker- Hooks up to PC(True/False), inkless(True/False), doesnt use proprietary label paper(True/False), Cost($), size of label(inches).

These allow things to be compared objectively and without bias from brands and their marketing. Or if you do drink cooperate koolaid, this can help ensure you get the best product they offer.

Understanding the word Quality with an example

Suppose you need to buy a computer, consider what you want in a computer.

Do you want a fast computer, one that doesn’t slow down under movies, most video games, CAD, Photoshop, a video editor, and mobile? Do you only need something that runs Excel and a Browser? You can use qualities to find you the highest quality option at the lowest cost. There is even a situation that someone might have to give Apple money.

Qualities can be as simple as True/False or more complex/specific with numerical values. This depends on how much effort you want to put into collecting data. More time spent collecting information will give you a better end result, but this may not be necessary if you are buying something in the $0-$20 range. This may be more important when buying something in the $100-$1000 range.

When choosing a fast computer(as described above), you can choose the quality metric- Dedicated Video Card? (True/False). Or, you can use a numerical value of a standard Video Card Benchmark. Choice is yours to how you want to spend your time.

You could include RAM(GB of Memory), Storage Space(SSD or HDD). Deciding if these qualities are necessary to your decision is up to you.

Apple may meet your quality metrics, but they have the highest cost. This causes them to fall into last place quality per dollar (Not to mention their support for Chinese dictatorships), you wouldn’t buy an Apple product unless you had to. Suppose you need to compile an App for iPhone owners. In that case, there would be a quality called, Can compile for iOS (True/False). In that event, you are forced to buy an Apple product, you can still apply the previous advice. You don’t need video editing or fast speed, you need something that lets you compile.

These qualities can be compared to help you choose a $600 gaming laptop, a $200 used computer, or a $1000 barebones used Mac Mini.

Doing Math with Quality

Choosing a quality.

Start by brainstorming what qualities matter. In engineering this could be the max voltage for a transistor, at home it could be the number of inches a TV is. Don’t worry exactly how you will measure it, or the units. Focus on the problem you are looking to solve, and consider what qualities you need to achieve.

Choosing a dimension for a quality

Time to consider dimensions. It helps if there is an ‘objective measurement’, inches for a TV is generally something you are going to care about. You can extend this quality into multiple measurements. Diagonal in, width in, height in. Your decision how detailed you make your study. This can also be a simple Boolean True/False, ‘Does this allow me to connect via USB?’. (Also I have stopped making the Boolean/Bouillon joke, I get too many emails.)

You can even use subjective values, like a 0-10 ranking. Consider ‘coolness’, you could do a subjective 0/10 to 10/10. Its not perfect, but any measurement gets you closer than emotion.

Gather Data

After looking at lots of t-tables, it seems like there is a fantastic benefit in certainty to take even 2 samples. I personally recommend taking 3 samples because you get a 3x benefit in certainty by taking 3 samples over 2 samples. All that being said, if you want to actually be correct, you can take a larger sample. The most time conscious person should check 2 options, but I highly recommend 3 for lazy people. Weirdly enough confidence increases, but the diminishing returns are early. Fun fact, your airbags are officially tested 3 times.

Sometimes you need to get creative, if all you have available is the average caffeine content of coffee per liter, you might need to use it and make a note of how you came up with it. If the deciding factor comes down to this estimation, it may be worth spending more of your resources to figure out a better estimate.

Doing Math with it

Now that you have numbers, you can begin to compare. Its common to sort by max/min, but you can also do other useful things. Inches of TV divided by Cost of TV is the unit In/$, which later can be sorted for max/min. Other units I’ve used, mg Vitamin A/Calorie, mg Vitamin A/Gram of Broccoli. Protein per Second.

Making a decision

After you sort the data, you should learn a lot about the options. You can eliminate poor performers and begin focusing on the difference between the best options.

Where you can apply Quality for Correct Decisions

Ideas- Phones, Food, Contractors, Colleges, Degrees, Cars, Video Game systems, Laundry Detergents, and more. This website is full of comparisons, the best ROI I’ve seen on comparing quality per dollar was health insurance.

Next time you spend money, especially on big purchases, consider what quality metrics you care about. This will prevent corporate marketing from using psychology tricks on you. You save money, you get the best product.

Diaper Per Dollar, Over 200 Diapers Compared From Walmart, Amazon, Costco, Target and more

Target shoppers, never again believe the marketing ‘Target has the best diaper prices’.

Costco shoppers, never again believe their marketing ‘Costco has the lowest cost Bulk prices’.

This study will help you understand the lowest cost brands, sizes, stores, and qualities of a diaper. In addition, we’ll share our hybrid system for using cloth and disposable diapers.

Comparing- Store, Brand, Cost, and Quality

Even if you refuse to shop at Walmart who dominates the top of this list, you can still have some takeaways regarding brands, and size from this table below-


You can see the most expensive brands, sizes, and qualities(nighttime and special allergic diapers) performed worse-


Generally stay away from Huggies and Pampers.

Parents Choice Quality

Parents Choice won best diaper per dollar, so we evaluated it for quality. One of the sides came undone on about 3 diapers in a row, but this could be our kid messing with the diaper. We had no issues in 3 months since.

We also tried their nighttime diapers and ~30% of the nights our 20 month old kid peed through the diaper. It’s hard to know if this is a quality issue, or my kid drank too much before bed.

Given those issues, these are not enough to deter us. We continue to use Parents Choice.

Other General Tips

If your kid fits in a size 4, do not waste money on a size 5. (Exception not shown in the data, seems that Newborn diapers cost more than size 1)

There may be differences between Pampers types(swaddlers vs cruisers), but when other brands are half the cost, you can easily change a diaper 2x as often and forget about that quality difference.

Lowest Cost Environmentally Friendly- Cloth Diapers

You may have considered saving big bucks and trying cloth diapers but were afraid of scraping poo on a daily basis. The solution is a hybrid system. The cost savings is incredible as we cut down disposable diaper usage by at least 1/2 if not 3/4. Most of our cloth diapers we got free or low cost from friends.

Here are our rules

>Nighttime Diapers for bed

>If there is small poo, put on a cloth diaper for the next 2-4 hours.

>If there is big poo, put on cloth diapers for the next 6-12 hours.

>If there is a hard poo and kid didn’t poo yesterday, put on a disposable diaper. More is on the way.

This generally works, with an occasional(1-4 times per month) missed poo that requires being rinsed off. As an added benefit, you learn how diapers work, and that disposable diapers can hold significantly more urine than you expect.

The Rest of the Data

The Diapers Per Dollar can be found here, have fun playing with the filters. Not every size of every brand was in stock at the time of recording. The excel file also contains notes. Some quick outputs below

Size 3

Size 4

Size 5

Size 6

Want an absorbency study or your favorite brand included? Contribute and send an email to michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com proposing a study.

Efficient Careers, Youtube Cooking Videos, Essential Fats and Amino Acids, Physical Cookbooks

5 new releases this quarter

  1. Our first ever physical cookbooks, Efficiency Is Everything In Cooking and New Perfect Eating. These recipes are free digitally In Cooking pdf and Perfect Eating article.
  2. New Recommendations – Essential Amino Acids and Essential Fats when eating for ~$1.50/day. Bonus nutrition information as we are building a calculator including every essential nutrient, essential amino acid, essential fat, antivitamin, and provitamin the human body needs(Minimum/RDA) and max(Dangerous).
  3. We Cook on Youtube- See how we eat for $1.50 per day, feat Dr. Mandy Kirk.
  4. Minor Article: Long term conclusions from our Restaurant study

Feature Article

The decisions you make at 18 years old changes everything. A veteran contacted me having no college debt and $400k in mortgages at the age of 23. We have 3 others compete to beat ‘5 years to the American Dream’.
American Dream Per Dollar– Efficiency Is Everything studies Career paths, change your life and make money in years.

Bonus Shoutout: Dr. Alex Harrison has a DIY Gatorade for endurance athletes


Read books/play musical instruments while watching your favorite sports. (~6hrs/week)

Eat more $1.50/day recipes, try once a week until you learn the recipes. (Saves $100-$10,000/yr + delicious healthy food)

If you must go to restaurants, dollar menu/loss leaders (400 Calories Per Dollar vs 100 Calories Per Dollar)

Bored and ready to buy entertainment? Save money and watch Philosophy videos on youtube. (Stoicism and Tao Te Ching are popular)


Wish you the best,
Michael Kirk
Lead Engineer

New Essential Amino Acids and Essential Fats to consume when eating for $1.59/day

Tl;dr: Its suggested to eat 7 eggs per day for men and 5 eggs per day for women. And get your Omega-3s and Omega-6s, fish or algae oil are popular for EPA and DHA.


Apparently these are Essential, so I’m going to list these to ensure you begin tracking these Essential nutrients.

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine + cysteine
  • Phenylalanine + tyrosine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

For the calculation these are merely more parameters and more data, but I can’t help to think about how ESSENTIAL these amino acids are. What happens if you don’t get enough? I imagine this has happened in our lives.

Anecdote- I never had essential fats until I learned about DHA EPA and ALA aka omega 3 and omega 6.

Now that I have fish/algae oil, I should stop having dandruff/rashes, be less depressed, have less chance of cancer.

So the 3,

  • ALA
  • DHA

Apparently it is difficult to get EPA and DHA which is why fish(or more efficient Fish Oil), is often recommended for this.

Low key conspiracy: Did some scientist name it essential to boost fish sales? This is Skepticism, its not engineering)

New Nutrients, Anti-Nutrients, Phytochemicals, Provitamins, and the calculator

We found some other dimensions to nutrition and we are going to quantify these effects in foods.

Anti-Nutrients are wild if you have never heard of them. These will disrupt biological processes and anti-nutrients are in the food you eat. Examples to get you started- Thiaminase, Avidin, and Goitrin.

Absorption(and provitamins) can apply multiplicative effects on nutrition and it may be useful or it might be more expensive than its worth. Goal is to find a data driven conclusion.

If there is something other than Anti-nutrients, Phytochemicals, and Provitamins that has been missed, speak now or forever hold your peace michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com Long term, we have Interns to collect this obscure data.

In 2021, we will have an excel file so you can delete whatever you are allergic to or hate. This is where I’ll have phytochemicals as there are no RDAs. Then we learn Excel’s Solver together.

Final Reminder

So far the lowest cost way while eating for ~$1.50/day- 7 eggs per day for men and 5 eggs per day for women. Get your Omega-3s and Omega-6s, fish or algae oil are popular for EPA and DHA.

American Dream Per Dollar, the lowest cost path to a degree and 400k home.

I was talking to an Efficiency Is Everything User who is the owner of multiple homes and a college degree with no college debt, age 25.

I was curious what the most optimal path to this ‘American Dream’ of being college debt free and owning a 400k USD home. Note- I personally don’t know if I support personal home mortgages, but this can otherwise be viewed as-

“Paid College degree and $80,000”

We have Michael and Mandy Kirk, Austin, and Francesca racing to 80k.

Michael(Me) and Dr. Mandy Kirk

I saved a few thousand dollars by being stingy as a child, knowing I’d need to pay for college. I worked a retail clothing job making ~9k yr until I got coop job turned midnight shift job paying 38k/yr. This worked out as I took 60 credits at the community college and 68 credits at our local university, living off campus(19k/yr expense). Year 2 my parents loaned me $9k USD to pay for college and I was able to pay it back by graduation with the help of my process technician job.

From there it was engineering money. And both the costs and the benefits of my wife’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. We finally bought our house 9 years after high school graduation. Speaking of benefits, Dr. Mandy now has over 40 patients per week.

9 Years.

Michael Kirk(Individual Run)

Suppose in 2012 I didn’t buy a wedding ring and doctorate degree. I hit 80k+ savings year 7.

7 Years.


A veteran Active Duty Marine uses benefits to get free college and VA loans that require no down payment. The catch is that you need 4 years of Active Duty. (Austin did 5 years Active Duty)

Austin then found a college that you could take tests to get credits toward the degree. He could study for the tests, take them, and get credit for the classes. The total cost of his bachelor degree was $~7200, the government paid for almost all of it by being in the Air Force or Army Reserves. In 2020 Austin finished his Bachelors degree and got a pay raise to $115,000/yr. Or so he expected, until he was called upon in the reserves. Its both a pay cut and cost of living cut as he no longer needs the place he currently rents. He currently is getting the government to pay for his masters degree.

This is a way to get the same outcome and meets the goal-line. Reminder, this could be shorter with 4 years active duty or using reserves.

7 Years.


Our conversation started off with her teaching piano lessons and saving money since she was 13. Even with us only tracking her from 18 on, she had Money figured out. After her first year of college she worked a intern job, taught piano, and did school. When you make ~20k profit per year before graduating college you are going to win this race.

Some notes about this lifestyle. She said her parents were annoying and work was more tolerable than being home. And one time she almost fell asleep teaching piano lessons.

5 Years.

Conclusions and Errors

Here is the raw data. Francesca wins the race by the numbers.

However, is the race to a downpayment on a 400k house a good metric?

Upon finishing the race the Engineer and Dr of Physical Therapy has a revenue close to 300k/yr, Francesca makes teacher pay.

The Final Ultimate Answer – Job/Reserves for 2 years while working a second job and getting a high value degree.

Marry a doctor.

Possibly join the reserves as they have $5k/yr or higher benefit toward school plus access into potentially high paying ‘top secret’ government jobs. It takes ~39 days per year x8 hour days, a benefit of about 16$/hr.

Or maybe you get a factory engineering job and learn about Industrial Engineering while attending engineering school.

The trend is having no time and high value degrees. Anecdote: I thought the weekends and money was nice.

Bonus note: Western Governors University allows you to test out of classes, saving money. Might be worth considering a college that lets you do this.


Hope this was engineering enough, but for such a critical life decision as a career it seems necessary for Efficiency Is Everything to cover it. Completing a suggested path is going to be difficult, but consider it like exercising a muscle in toughness- wait, that’s not engineering.

Wish you the best,
Lead Engineer
Michael Kirk