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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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-
We have Michael and Mandy Kirk, Austin, and Francesca racing to 80k.
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.
Suppose in 2012 I didn’t buy a wedding ring and doctorate degree. I hit 80k+ savings year 7.
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.
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.
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.
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,
Our Intern Josh has collected data to find the best dates, given various quality metrics and cost.
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|
|Cooking Date Night||$10.00||180||18.0||FALSE||TRUE||FALSE|
|Long Distance travel with 2 night hotel||$282.50||2880||10.2||TRUE||TRUE||FALSE|
|72 Mile Roadtrip||$21.75||120||5.5||TRUE||TRUE||FALSE|
|Fair/Festival all day(Drink,booth,etc)||$82.00||360||4.4||TRUE||TRUE||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|
|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|
|Ice cream/ frozen yogurt||$12.00||30||2.5||FALSE||FALSE||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|
|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|
|Dinner at Capital Grille||$94.50||60||0.6||TRUE||FALSE||TRUE|
|Dinner at Melting Pot||$121.14||60||0.5||TRUE||TRUE||TRUE|
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.
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.
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.
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.