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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.

Engineering Conclusions on Health Insurance


EDIT 2020:

After multiple years of use, here are a few things we learned-

  • Make sure your hospital, clinics, doctors, accept your insurance
  • If you don’t plan to get sick/injured, pick the cheapest insurance
  • Basic pregnancy does not hit max out of pocket (around 6k)
  • If you do plan to get sick/injured, read the rest of the article

This is one of the best articles on this website on how to save money.

Lead Engineer- Michael Kirk:

The data is conclusive, and there is not much room for argument that Health Insurance companies are using marketing tactics against us.

There is almost never a reason to pick an expensive or medium tier health insurance company. Lowest monthly premiums perform best-in-class when it comes to saving money and dealing with catastrophic injury.

If you have a reason to believe gold plans are ever a good idea, -Speak Up-

The overwhelming evidence explaining why you should pick low cost plans is about to begin. See how much data was collected to draw these conclusions:


The excel data can be found – Here

Premiums-Save Money Here

For us, our lowest cost plan was $343.04/mo. $4116/yr. If you are planning on staying healthy(and not getting pregnant or sick) your search ends here. Pick the lowest cost plan. At worst, you would expect to pay 12016.48 for an entire year and full medical coverage for 1 individual.

For full disclosure, these are the most expensive plans, even in times of injury and illness.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan Mutual Insurance Company · Blue Cross® Premier PPO Silver Saver HSA
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan Mutual Insurance Company · Blue Cross® Premier PPO Silver
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan Mutual Insurance Company · Blue Cross® Premier PPO Silver Extra
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan Mutual Insurance Company · Blue Cross® Premier PPO Gold

The upfront premiums of expensive insurance plans outweighs any benefits that it claims to have. Paying more money is worse. Fancy names are looking to take advantage of what would appear to be a cautious consumer.

Saving Money When Needing Medical

Consider if you are planning on getting over 7000 dollars of medical procedures this calendar year. If so, there is a slight optimization, and will require basic math to complete for yourself. Here are the results while we expect Mrs. Efficiency to hit our Max Out of Pocket, and myself to stay healthy.

If you skip this step, the difference between our lowest cost premium and our optimization is $842/year. ~34,000$/lifetime.

Do It Yourself

You will need to do the math, Click Here For Our Simple Excel File

Fill in Name, Premium, and Max Out-Of-Pocket. The excel file does math for:

Yearly Premium = Premium/month *12 , Worst Case= Yearly Premium+ Max Out-of-Pocket

The goal would be to get the lowest cost Worst Case.

Deductible, Copays, Coinsurance are Teases

Fancy words, when often the only thing that matters is the premium. Often the US government enforces a cap of $15,800 max out of pocket.

We studied what it looked like to take advantage of high quality health insurance benefits on Emergency, Primary Doctors Visits, Specialists, and Generic Drugs. This data was unreliable from the healthcare.gov website, but we were able to draw generalized conclusions.

Best, Worst Case Scenarios

In a situation where you visit the emergency room once a year, there is are 2 plans that has a copay for the potentially expensive emergency room visit.

Total Health Care USA, Inc. · Total HMO Standard and Meridian Choice · Meridian Smart Silver have a copay before you hit your deductible.

This set of circumstances would cost you 8842.64 per year, given the correct set of circumstances that you aren’t charged for tests, or a plethora of other exceptions.

At risk is ~$3,000 in premiums to have this odd Emergency privilege. Recommendation is the lowest cost premium plan.

Expensive Generic Drugs?

Do you only take expensive generic prescription drugs? No doctors visits, but a constant flow of medically necessary generic prescription drugs? If you don’t plan on hitting your deductible. But if you do plan on hitting your deductible, this would be more expensive. This situation is an ideal fantasy.

Doctors Visits

Continuing this unlikely optimization, Total Health Care USA, Inc. · Total HMO Standard has been quite the situational loophole despite being a decent deal. They have set copays before hitting a deductible.

Reminder that this plan,

  1. Is 2-3k more expensive Premium per year than recommended plans
  2. Relies on your physicians billing everything correctly
  3. Max Out Of Pocket is still higher than other plans

Filing as Multiple Individuals vs Family

Overall, yearly premiums seem to be better for families rather than 2 individuals. This gets slightly more complicated when you offer the ability to have 1 member pick a lower deductible plan. However, even with this, we found that its better or negligible to file as a family in each situation.

Health Insurance 2019

Thank you for reading our guide to selecting health insurance. Reminder that if you find anything wrong, email us at michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com for review.

Expand your Efficiency

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


Cheapest McDonalds Food

mcdonalds-sign

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

McDonaldsPerDollar3

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


Efficiency- Michael:

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.

Notes:

  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:

Breakfast

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

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.

Dinner

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


Efficiency- 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.

Takeaways

  • 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.

Expand your Efficiency

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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.

Costco

Don’t shop at Costco.

Aldi

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.

Walmart

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

Meijer

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.

Kroger

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.

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


Efficiency- Michael

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.

Forewarning-

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.

Decorations

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.

Entertainment

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.

Conclusions

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.

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


Efficiency- Michael:

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

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. 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?

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Nutrients Per Calorie – Math Proves The Healthiest Lowest Calorie Foods


Interested In Nutrient Dense Food? You arent alone.

The Nutrition Per Dollar table has been updated to include this measurement. You can download the raw data here.

Efficiency- Michael: Dividing By Max To Remove Dimensions

The units were a bit daunting, ie: (micrograms of Folate Per gram of food)

We removed the dimensions-

Rank= Nutrient Per Gram / Best(max) Nutrient Per Gram

For example:

We then add the nutrients that the USDA provided. Summed up…

Nutrients Per Gram Ranked

This is probably most useful for hikers who are trying to limit the weight of food.

Nutrients Per Calorie Ranked

This was my real fascination, what are the most nutrient dense foods per calorie?

This is what many people would consider ‘The Healthiest Foods’.

Conclusions

Fresh Green Veggies top the list of highest Nutrients Per Calorie.

Peanuts and Almonds are relatively light weight and are packed with Nutrients.

Fortified foods like Cereal and Flour scored high in Nutrient Per Gram, but low in Nutrient Per Calorie.


Anything shown on the list is in the top 30% of foods studied, if your goal is to maximize, consume more foods on the list.

Draw Your Own Conclusions With The Raw Excel Data

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


Efficiency- Michael: 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.

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