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,
I expect this article to change your life. Enjoy-
There are two sections, theoretical “By The Book”, where you will hear the most optimal situations you can hope to achieve. These are good to know, so you can think about them when doing laundry. There are lots of good ideas in there.
Finally, we will go into real world tips to get closer to optimal, so you can save time and effort right away.
This study was funded by Elizabeth P. Thank her for donating to study Efficient Laundry!
Ergonomics is a hybrid of human health and engineering. This combines the mathematical and logic rigor of engineering to studies in humans. This data comes out as measurements, estimations, and best practice.
One book suggested human attention is limited to ~30 minutes on a routine job. No reason to feel bad about getting bored of household tasks, you are only human.
Room Temperatures above 79 degrees are bad.
Work quickly, being motivated is proven to make you work quicker. Literally, thinking, can make you more Efficient. Rally! Don’t be weak!
Making a decision is fatiguing. Regardless if its trivial, the mind needs to see, understand, think, and convert into an output. It should be noted that after basic skills are obtained, people get better at speed.
Since these tasks require decisions, both in muscle control and mind, proficiency will happen with time.
A 5th percentile female can reach approx 2 feet, and this can be extended an additional 9 inches when standing.
Bending over is not desired. A rolling cart may help elevate baskets off the floor and ease transportation.
Motion is not desired, if you can grab multiple items per bend, you will save time and effort.
Another reminder, Motion is not desired, items that need to be put far away can be tossed aside. Hang up all necessary items, once.
Pulling motions are best done between 120 and 180 degrees, with best performance at 150 degrees. while pulling >120 degrees. This means its easier to pick items up below you, and put away higher.
However, any sort of grabbing without bending over or reaching is encouraged.
Use a power grip! Instead of using fingers, use your fist to pick up.
Discomfort will cause inefficiency, even a 5cm/2in too high counter can cause shoulder pain.
Static, holding still, restricts blood flow and requires longer rest periods. Dynamic movement allows blood to circulate during relaxation.
To reach further, bend your hip(8.2in/20cm) and rotate(1.8in/4.5cm) and extend shoulder(4in/10cm). Those are your 3 ways to extend.
For long tasks, if you can adjust between sitting and standing, this is preferred. Equipment exists to change the height level.
Sitting is better for blood flow.
Try not to hold the same position for more than 15 seconds, that is when lactic acid begins to build up.
Avoid moving/transportation to put something away.
Stress can be good, according to one book, a 10 is very stressful, a 3-5 stress is beneficial. 1 stress was bad.
The arrangement of your workplace(dimensions, relative locations, etc…), makes a major contribution to how a task is handled.
What are the accuracy requirements? Do things need to be folded/unwrinkeled? Could you change this to be happier doing laundry? Or make more challenging?
Is there flow? Work-rest cycles may be beneficial and for extended tasks, having start-stop times.
Environment- Temperature, family/pets, surroundings.
One book had root causes of boredom, here is a take on how to make tasks less boring.
Short cycle times may be boring. Is there an opportunity for process flow?
A task with few opportunities for body movement gets boring, its okay to stretch/exercise muscles.
Warm temperatures, could cooler temps get you motivated.
No coworkers. Does this mean we should be doing laundry with family?
People with high abilities and eager to excel find boredom, so next time you do laundry, try to be more Efficient. This is your new challenge, let us know if you find any discoveries.
Dim work environment causes boredom. Changing color RGB light strips are a solution to boredom, or maybe the book intended to use brighter white light.
Here are applicable to everyone efficiency tips.
The goal here, limit motion like digging around and extended searching. Like Quicksort, your visible items are your ‘sorting set’, and items you cannot see are not sorted. All while picking up many items reduces the number of times you bend/turn to get clothes.
Hanging up clothes may be better separated into a different task. This is highly dependent on if you are sorting clothes near your closet and are near hangers.
This asks the question, if laundry was done at the individual level rather than family level, would it be quicker due to less sorting?
Limit Transportation. Do your work within range if possible. Consider Swapping the contents of drawers to make sorting possible without taking steps.
According to one book, locations of items should have priority- Most important items in front, then items by sequence(multi step items), then items by similarity, then frequency.
Turn Less, consider that turning your body is motion, if doing laundry on the bed causes you to turn significantly, consider sorting in a different location.
Note: this equipment suggestion is best practice, it serves to give you an idea what an Ergonomic Laundry Basket would be. Elevated, with wheels.
If you are interested, these are called Laundry Carts.
Even better, some laundry carts have false/auto adjusting bottoms to elevate laundry to make it easier to reach. Push laundry carts instead of pulling. Although changing muscle groups has economic advantages as well.
Get excited about doing laundry, like you never have before. I was shocked at how fast Quicksort had me putting away clothes.
With 5 ergonomics books under my belt, I expect more household tasks to get optimized, and laundry to be further studied with MODAPTS, which are used to code task time like reaching and grabbing. They use this in Sweat Shop Sewing.
If we can reach 5,000 dollars, we are currently at 800 dollars, I will match and we can finance 2 interns to work 12 hours a week for 28 weeks completing studies that will help everyone.
The goal is to raise 5000 dollars to create more studies on Industrial Engineering Life.
Some topics are far to critical to Life to remain untouched. Your allocation of resources and assets is a choice that changes your life whether you like it or not.
The goal is to compare various opportunities for Future Value so you can make a decision based on your current life conditions and goals.
This is the fancy way of saying ‘United States Dollar’ in the US. This is your combined bank account, wallet, safe, under your bed, etc.. value of USD. This is a special number because the government has the ability to print money, and has historically devalued currency through ‘inflation’.
The US government claims ~2% inflation, others report 4% yearly inflation.
Your goal with excess Cash on Hand is to allocate it outside of USD to beat 2% inflation.
The goal is to beat 2%/year inflation. But you also have other Qualities- Risk and Liquidity(ease of selling)
A US Treasury Bond returns at 2%/year and would be ‘cost neutral’. Which explains its worldwide popularity. Its safe, it makes money, and it can be liquid.
Hoarding USD is popular, but runs risk of inflation.
Real Estate is popular, but isn’t liquid. Warning, real estate is also work, consider real estate a part time job rather than a passive investment.
Student Loans, Mortgages, Credit Cards. That % interest per year, is your new number to beat. A 4% mortgage means that any investment, should return more than this.
To convert Cash on Hand into a debt payment and make a positive impact on your interest payment, you must refinance. Paying more money each month, makes little to no difference as your loan is the same size. More payments means saving thousands of dollars, rather than refinancing for tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Its best to wait until rates are favorable to refinance.
Loans often have an amortization where the first payments are 75% interest/25% principle, and at 15 years in 50/50, and year 29 its 75% principle/25% interest. Refinancing resets this clock, and you do lose a few thousands dollars. We calculated if this is significant and if there was an optimal time.
Note, this is a ~400,000 dollar mortgage:
If 15 years are spent before refinancing and the amortization never works in our favor, we spend over 50,000 USD on amortization. At worst case its about 6% of your mortgage, totaling likely tens of thousands of dollars.
However, after refinancing, you will have saved likely hundreds of thousands of dollars on your mortgage and interest, about 20% of your mortgage.
When refinancing(20%+) you will eliminate tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in future interest payments.
This is why saving up for a large debt payment is a safe way to ‘earn 4% interest’.
Re: Tax Write offs- There is a myth that spending more money on interest can save money on taxes. Your taxes will be slightly lower, but you will have spent more money on interest. Its wrong to spend, to spend for taxes.
Abundance is a strange thing. People of all types are throwing money in investment apps.
As we try to increase our assets, we can try to beat our debt interest or exceed new highs.
Long term, safe, market investing can expect 7-30% yearly returns, or 30% yearly lows. This needs to beat our 4%/yr mortgage interest. Buying on a bad year can be disappointing and worse performing than USD.
Pick your favorite assets that you believe will perform better than USD. It is a good idea to have at least some diversification.
Maxing out your 401k/IRA is a good start. Diversify. Use your experience/knowledge to make niche investment decisions. Gold/Bitcoin. Diversify. SPY. Unicorn Projects. Your own project. Diversify.
The goal is to keep Cash on Hand low, and assets invested either passively or actively. You have millions of future dollars at stake. (But don’t stress, you do the best you can).
Re Gambling: The word Gambling was a misnomer for the unpredictability of investments. Actual gambling? No way, that’s bad math.
You have Cash on Hand that loses value at 2% a year. Beat this.
Treasury Bonds are safe and liquid return 2% a year.
Debt often costs more then 4% a year, whatever your highest debt interest is your new number to beat. Beat this.
Investing comes in many shades from long term index funds vs gambling. This is the risky way to earn money.
Given the current economy, we are choosing to save up to refinance. 4% isn’t bad when everything else is sinking.
This decision comes from many inputs, including political climate, like it or not. Your experiences should make an impact on your decisions.
Wish you the best on your asset allocations,
First, we have been hard at work studying various restaurants for the best Calories and Protein Per Dollar. If you haven’t visited our Food page, its a comprehensive list of optimizing food. Note: This article is how we eat 99% of our meals.
Hopefully this is every restaurant you would like. Feel free to comment any others you want studied.
It seems Google is starting to pick this up, you can ask ‘The highest Calorie per dollar food’, and it should tell you.
I don’t like to talk about myself, I really just want to provide you high quality data. However I had people reach out about my absence. Skip ahead for this weeks article.
I’d like to make quality articles rather than hit deadlines. I had been working more than 70 hours a week between Efficiency and my Engineering job. Paying an Intern only made me raise the quality of the articles rather than reduce workload.
I want to spend a few months programming an App that will make Mutual Funds feel like Cash. “Cash” with a 7% yearly return but with an ability to exchange without fees. This isnt cryptocurrency, this is a solution to a problem I had since I worked at a clothing store. I asked my boss if I could be paid in NASDAQs instead of USD- No. USD inflates, Investment provides value. I’m excited to program for a few months, I hope to come back to Efficiency with some new skills.
In addition, we have a team starting a charity, Kids In Kitchens, where we teach 5th graders how to make a no-chop slowcooker meal to feed 5 people for 6 dollars.
I stopped playing video games and started sewing with a focus on fashion. I post my creations on Instagram.
While I take a break, I’d like to set some very reasonable goals to work toward an Efficient Life.
“Oh, you really do this in your life?”
My neighbor was shocked when I was telling him about having shelves in our kitchen to reduce time opening and closing cabinets.
While I don’t expect you to remodel your kitchen, I want to you implement major improvements that will pay dividends throughout your life.
Reducing steps in daily routines are something that pays off instantly.
Something like your daily morning routine should be optimized in detail, setting aside time for timed and recorded trial. Either having a partner write down every detail of every step of your routine, or recording and reviewing your routine will give you an opportunity to find waste.
Find steps that do not add value and make it a goal to either remove or reduce that time.
This is something you can do on smaller scales. When cutting food, moving the cutting board and knives closer to the refrigerator. Simply being aware that (movement) Waste is significant will begin to make a serious impact to giving you more free time.
You know what I’m going to say,
The data has shown over and over that processed foods, frozen, canned, fast food, restaurant food, are not as cost effective as fresh foods.
Could you make it a goal to stop eating out?
3 quick solutions to laziness:
Protein Shakes– Can be made in 1 minute, filling, add some veggies and its a real meal.
Breakfast– Eggs and Breakfast Sausage take me less than 6 minutes to get 1000 calorie.
Bulk Food– We make 6+ servings for 2 people every night. Tupperware!
If you must eat out, limit yourself to only top calorie or protein per dollar items. This is a self-control thing. Eating out isnt going to be healthy, might as well eat it cheap.
Otherwise we eat out for birthdays.
Regardless what time you go to bed or wake up, biphasic sleep can work with almost every lifestyle. Misses Efficiency Wakes up at 6am and takes her nap as late as 9pm. After that, she has a shot of energy and we have 3 hours of productivity, fun, or whatever the situation needs.
Take a look at our sleep articles. Many other users have made the change and say they are not going back.
I want you to think about your daily life and where there is waste, fix your food (dont be weak), and try something new.
Keep me excited about Efficiency, implement Efficiency in your homes and teach people how to optimize their life.
This article will reduce the cook time of your meals by minutes. Lots of engineering to explain WHY, but I will be sure to bold the tips on how to implement ways to cook food quicker. This uses Chicken for most studies, but this can be replaced with any other meat protein.
This topic is going to have a LOT of tips on saving time cooking. The tips saved so much time, it messed with the data 😛
This data is ‘Out Of Control‘. Which means, the data isn’t significant. The data I post on this site is the highest mathematical quality I can possibly create, and I will not post bad data.
I will include the Protein Per Second, however I won’t post it in an Excel file format like I usually do.
Science would isolate this problem and find that throwing a few thousand pounds of chicken into Lava would be the fastest way. Engineering has to make this problem applicable. Grills, Stove Boiling, Stove Sauteing/Searing, and Slow Cookers are examined.
0.11 g Protein Per Second
Methodology for all of these is common. Prep to Clean. Writing down process is something we do in Industrial Engineering.
This can be done faster or slower depending on how you like your eggs cooked. I did this with 4 eggs with the goal of over medium-hard eggs. 27g protein, 4 minutes.
27g + 21 + 8 g protein in 6 minutes =
0.155g Protein Per Second
Eggs were cooked in a similar way. Warming up sausages and toasting bread to make taste optimal added an extra 2 minutes in prep time. This included taking out 1 extra pan, 1 extra lid, opening and closing the freezer 2 times, and taking out an extra appliance.
The biggest thing to note- Sausages will cook in a similar time regardless if you have 2 or 10.
To understand why, I drew a picture that brought me back to our dreaded ME331 Fluids and Heat Transfer.
The heat from Electric Burner to Pan is a Heat Conduction(Qconduction). Conduction is Contact-To-Contact. Meaning surfaces need to touch completely. The browning of meats require Conduction and absence of water(we will get to that later). Protein touching the surface of the pan is getting more heat than protein that isnt touching the surface.
The air inside the pan is moving heat through Convection(Qconvection). Convection is the air and liquid flowing next to the protein. When you point a fan at you, there is no surface to surface contact, but the air will brush your skin and reduce your temperature.
Convection is especially strong with liquids, which we are going to see further in Boiling.
Keeping the lid on, means water in a pan cannot evaporate into your kitchen, instead water vapor circulates in your pan. If you take the lid off, the hot air and water vapor escapes
781g of chicken, cooked in 8 minutes and 15 seconds. Barely brown. 242g protein makes this 0.49 g Protein Per Second.
Similar mentality as above, adding a lid will speed up the cooking process. Cooked on Medium High heat.
Calling it ugly because there is no browning. The Mailliard Reaction when the lid is on. Any moisture kills the browning that gives chicken flavor.
14 minutes for 1041g chicken. 312g protein and .37g Protein Per Second.
This is some beautiful cooking. Searing both sides of chicken for a near perfect Maillard Reaction. Adding a little vinegar to dissolve the brown Maillard bits stuck to the pan. Adding fajita seasoning and stirring.
Quality comes at a time price.
Despite having massive amounts of convection because boiling water is surrounding chicken, water has a high heat capacity. Instead of cooking the chicken, the heat from the burner is being transferred to the water.
Below is a table for specific heats of materials. Water has a high specific heat, water is more dense than air, and there is significantly more mass to heat up than the same volume of air.
However… once the water is boiling, water is a better conductor of heat.
The most optimal way to boil chicken is to start the water, do something else, come back and drop the chicken in. There will be no mallard reaction, but very quickly chicken will be cooked.
If you are going to use oil for frying chicken, take note that at high temperatures, low smoke point oils will begin to smoke and catch fire.
While this technically takes almost 4 hours, this is a favorite because most of this time is inactive. I am considering how to study this given the amount of meat depends on the slow cooker(and who really wants 5lbs of the same meal?). Here are two recipes that take less than 4 minutes to make.
After 4 hours on high or 6 hours low, the chicken can be shredded and topped with BBQ sauce and placed on a bun or eaten plain.
Here is the recipe, takes a tiny bit longer because there are more ingredients and I suggest cooking rice + veggies. However this is a lazy favorite.
1500g in 9.5 minutes =
.81 g protein per second
Cut the fat off and butterflied 1.5 pallets of chicken. 15 minutes in the oven at 350F.
This is potentially misleading because most people arent eating 1500g of chicken out of the oven. It also negates the time in the oven, similar to slow cooker chicken dishes. This was further packaged for later use.
It should be noted that both Ugly Lid On Chicken and Mass Produced Baked Chicken do not produce the Maillard Reaction.
Homemade protein shake using Myprotin Impact (since it was my highest rated Protein Powder per dollar)
28g protein including milk in 1 minute flat.
.46g protein per second
This actually surprised me, I thought a protein shake would crush all competition. It seems that bulk production of food beats the competition.
Prep and Cleanup is a significant use of time on many proteins and I will continue to look to optimize further.
An ultimate study of Protein Per Second, including fast food, street vendors, store rotisserie chicken and more is in the works. However different methods of home prep are going to be practically useful.
Engineer David Richelson conducted this study on Shoes Per Hour-
David- “There has to be a faster way!”
I spent about 3 months taking my shoes on and off at least twice a day. Every time I’d think to myself, “there has to be a faster way!” Since trying out different shoes and different laces, it turns out there’s not much I can do.
I’ve finished a time study on tying and untying my shoelaces, slip ons, shoe horns, and more. The most Efficient way to put on shoes.
To keep it consistent, I would place my phone on the table in front of me, in timer mode, with my shoes in front of me. Then I would slip each shoe on, and tie them at my regular pace, being careful not to rush. I took four samples for each shoe for 7 different shoes: my personal dress shoes, my personal running shoes with standard laces, my personal running shoes with “Lock Laces”, basketball shoes, work shoes, running shoes with braided laces, and running shoes with standard laces. Ultimately what I want to know is: how much time does it take, on average, “per cycle”. In engineering, a cycle is when a given process is complete. In this case, a the process consists of putting the shoes on and then taking them off.
Before I can discuss the results, I need to mention that my Puma shoes and the Starter shoes came with comically large laces (pictured below). It was unreasonable for me to single knot these shoes. Realistically, I’d double knot them, which is how I timed it. This added significant time to taking them off as well as putting them on.
You can see from the chart below, that most tied shoes require relatively similar times to take on and off.
I suspect that the length of the shoelace has more to do with the time, than the profile. I was surprised to see that the Athletic Works shoes, which had a braided shoe lace, had no noticeable effect on the time.
The most dramatic difference was between my Pumas with the stock laces vs replacing them with “Lock Laces.” I shaved at least 15 seconds off putting them on! That’s the most relevant improvement for me, since I know that my motivation for working out is fleeting, and can easily evaporate in 15 seconds. But once I have my shoes on, I might as well work out.
For better or for worse, I’ve got the need for speed. Can I shave off any more time? I needed to think outside the box. I tried stylish slip on dress shoes for work, and velcro shoes for working out. My most inventive idea was leaving my dress shoes tied, and then pushing my feet into them with a shoehorn to assist me.
Slip-on shoes are the clear champion. It was almost too fast to measure. Since there’s no laces for either the Slip-ons, or my pre-tied dress shoes, timing the cycle consisted of just pushing them on. Here’s a quick video of how I timed it.
Switching to slip-ons would save me about 25 seconds per day. That’s worth 15 days vacation(120 hours) over the course of my life! Pushing my pre-tied shoes on did technically work, but it was destructive to the shoe and slightly painful for my feet.
When it comes to working out, I could commit the fashion faux pax of getting Velcro. But, I’ve gotta look stylish in the gym too.
At the end of the day, 25 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot. But it adds up over time. This was a great exercise and I can’t wait to apply these time study techniques to the next part of my life.
Utilizing David’s data, I just had to… I can’t resist 🙂
I currently use Dress Shoes + Shoe Horn set up, but seeing that slip-ons are 2x faster, I’m going to be on the lookout for nice Slip-ons.
I haven’t tied a pair of shoes in memory and this data shows why. Tying your shoes takes 2x more time than using a shoe horn.
Thanks to David for completing this study to my Engineering Standards.
Edit 4/26/21- user Jay reached out suggesting Olukai shoes as they have a collapsible heel. This makes it close to slip-on shoes per hour. While they still require a hand to convert the heel to upright, this can be done when time is less urgent. Something to consider if you are looking for something more fashionable than slip on shoes.
This math will change your life.
There are two types of data presented. Nutrition Per Dollar and Nutrition Ratio Total(Sum).
A straight addition of nutrients would yield an unimportant number due to a wildly high amount of Vitamin A in carrots.
The solution was to remove the dimensions of each to find a Nutrient Ratio:
(Ingredient’s Nutrient mg/dollar) / Max Nutrient mg/dollar
This creates a scale from 0 to 1, where 1 is the best value for that Nutrient/$. By removing the dimensions, we can now add these up. If we decided we wanted to weight one nutrient over others, we could use multiplication.
The numbers below are an addition of 37 micronutrients I considered beneficial.
On Data Collection- I nearly always picked the lowest cost option, and obtained nutrition data from here.
Understanding and implementing top 50 ranked foods is valuable.
Nutrition Ratio Total = Sum of 37 (Nutrient/$ / Highest Nutrient/$). The original Nutrient/$ can be found below.
The Nutrition Ratio Total is good for understanding scale of value. IE: Oranges(1.57) are 3x more Nutritious Per Dollar than Lemons(0.51).
If you havent eaten a specific vegetable before, I’d toss the veggie into something you already enjoy. We started adding Spinach or Kale to our friend rice. After 10 minutes of cooking, it still tastes like my favorite fried rice in the world, but it has Kale.
Frozen food doesnt show up until #19, where Frozen Carrots are 2x more expensive than Fresh Carrots. The lesson here is to reduce/eliminate canned and frozen food. Fresh/Raw foods are typically cheaper.
One more cost saving tip- Replace a $1.69 Red Pepper with Carrots. Just as sweet.
Flour + Cereal- Apparently low fiber and enriched with vitamins help you score pretty well. Monster took a note from them. We sometimes use flour to thicken our soups/stews, but that’s about it.
Here is the Excel Data:
*IU= International Units(Used to distinguish biological activity rather than raw weight)
A half decade of studying this topic and having to cook for my ‘used to be picky’ wife, here is my ultimate guide to eating the most nutritious, healthy, low cost food ever. We aim to eat around 700 Calories Per Dollar and my ‘used to be picky’ wife now prefers our menu over restaurants.
Protein– Beans, Lentils, Chicken, Eggs, Milk, and potentially discounted meats(turkey,pork/ground beef).
Veggies– Leafy greens, Carrots, and in-season veggies
Carbs– Pick Bread, Rice, Noodles- Don’t buy premade boxed rice/noodles.
Spices– Reward yourself. By eating at home you can borderline go wild on spices, sauces, etc… I’ll stay within ~1$ on things like, cream of chicken, a variety of spices, dressing, BBQ sauces, etc…
Salt, Lemon/Lime/Vinegar, Sugar, Butter/Oil/Fats, and umami taste good.
Add each slowly and taste like you would testing saltiness. If you are unaware of these cheat codes to cooking, they are worth googling.
Play around with texture, how you cook each type of food. Mess around with timing when you add spices/sauces.
My preferred texture, usually uses this method to cooking anything- Cook chicken on medium-high ~4 minutes, flip, 4 minutes, (optional deglaze), throw in veggies, cook everything for ~8 minutes. Serve on top of the carb. Change around timing when you add spices and sauces, the order will slightly change the finished product.
Everything tastes good. There are almost 0 foul flavors. Just make sure you Salt, Add an Acid, Add sweetness, Fats, and Umami (the 5 things up top).
I go to the lowest cost store in my area with a printed out grocery list of what we are eating for the week(we cycle through 28 recipes).
Writing the list was a solid 1 hour job to type everything out and plan it. We even sorted by isle. However after 5 years of using it, grocery shopping takes less than 15 minutes including checkout.
Pick fresh veggies, chicken, eggs, milk. Our list is more specific but we often will grab low cost, in-season foods. When in doubt- You are still saving money not eating out, and all food will taste good.
Buy fresh instead of canned, frozen. Avoid processed rice/noodles.
There will be a recipe for it. And since all food tastes good, it probably will too.
Avoid Fast Food, Restaurants, Boxed Food, Canned Food, Frozen Food, Processed Food. (sorry, I just really want to save you money.)
Even Clif Bars on sale for 1$ off were less than 20g Protein Per Dollar.
You were told, McDonalds was the cheapest, most nutritious food. How did that 440 Calorie Per Dollar propaganda spread? Today its 2-3x more expensive than anything we eat.
How much did McDonald’s pay The Telegraph to write the article “McDouble is ‘cheapest and most nutritious food in human history'” ?
You were told Prepared Foods are cheaper than fresh food.
Nice move Marketing Companies. You got away with it for, ~20 years?
After years of studying cost effective eating- Healthy, fresh foods are almost always cheaper than anything a company prepares and re-sells.
We understand the convenience factor of having food prepared for us. That has value.
However, Marketing Companies pushed the idea their foods are low cost. I thought I was saving money by eating canned veggies.
Data shuts the myth down.
Article from Mrs. Efficiency- Dr. Mandy Kirk.
Checklists are used in the factory to make sure things get done correctly 100% of the time. If you need to make sure a valve gets closed before we turn a pump on, Checklists prevent failure.
Before our factory developed a Start Up Checklist, I walked out of our Process Room to see a floor full of polyol to which our maintenance guy said- “Have you ever seen a grown man cry?”
Leaving home, I’d forget my lunch, belt, and work laptop often enough that Mandy told me we needed a solution. Its been 4 years and I haven’t forgotten anything since.
People ask me if I like the efficiency lifestyle that Michael and I live. I do enjoy the benefits and it’s strangely calming. We’re always trying to alter our lives for the better. It makes me feel that we appreciate life more if we strive to maximize every second. Although we often end up watching Netflix with all of our time saving.
I used to spend a lot of time in the morning getting to my car – only to realize I forgot something.
Phone, Wallet, Lunch, Homework…
We brainstormed the things we needed every morning. We wrote it all down, and stuck it on the door.
And… We started using it.
At first I was reluctant, I’m stuck in my ways and tend to dislike change. But it helped Michael. He stopped forgetting things.
Then I stopped forgetting things.
And after a week or two I started to learn it and love it. Having every item written down and visible saves me time. Now I don’t even worry. I read through them, check each off in my head. 10 seconds and works every time.
Give it a try! Best case you will save yourself frustration and time. Worst case you are out a piece of paper.
1 Calorie / 0$ = infinity
(technically this doesn’t equal infinity, but rather approaches infinity however – no calculus until after dinner)
Originally I thought this was going to be silly – telling people to eat sugar at their local coffee store, but I think there is something fascinating about
I often see engineer’s cubicles have this printed:
Given those, there are all sorts of ways to classify each ‘deal’.
These assume either Sunk Cost, or Calories are infinite (infinity/30$ is still tending towards infinity)
Right away, there are a few things that caught my attention:
There is a fine line between frugal and theft, I don’t feel bad about taking an extra few sugar packets, but I don’t think its right to take all of the sugar packets.
Deals are misleading
- Buy one get one free, is not actually free.
- Coupons/rewards usually require an expensive upfront cost.
Unless you are walking to a location, gasoline costs money.
There is time cost to doing any of these. How often do you drive by the place you have a coupon on the way home from work?
Upon doing this I decided – its SOOO much easier, tastier, and healthier to just cook food.
We eat for ~3$/day and personally, I’d put more time into looking for a higher paying job before signing up for Red Robin Birthday Coupons.
My exception is Work Food and Sunk Cost when they are healthy. I’ve outgrown work’s weekly donuts, but I’m a sucker for protein filled sandwiches. Regarding the chips and salsa, I can’t tell if I love salsa or I love getting Infinity Calories Per Dollar.