FlyBuys is a rewards points system in New Zealand. When you shop at selected stores you get a point for every $20 or $30 you spend. When you collect enough points you can redeem them for things that you want. As a FlyBuys member I often make an effort to shop at a store which rewards me with FlyBuys. I recently got a brochure from them in the mail along with my points balance and was disappointed to discover that after being a member for 18 months I only had enough points to buy the game Jenga.
So I could make better purchasing decisions I wanted to know what FlyBuys points are worth in a dollar value. I collected a basket of FlyBuys items and found prices for them online. The raw figures are here
After analysis, I found that a standard FlyBuys point is worth around $0.15 — $0.20 depending on what you redeem your points on. Considering that you need to spend $20-$30 for a standard FlyBuys point this works out to earning 1 cent back per dollar you spend. There was no real pattern on which things were better value and I suspect that the point value for items is chosen based on perceived value rather than dollar cost. The surprising thing to me from this was that even though I had seen my quarterly points statements and knew I was collecting very few points, I still assigned value to the FlyBuys brand. I now think that they are a nice bonus but probably not even worth the petrol to drive further than I normally would.
A year ago, inspired by the account of Jonathon Coulton’s Thing A Week project, I decided I too would write a song a week. I had been wanting to pick up the pace of my songwriting and this seemed like a good way to do it. This went well for several months. The songs were often rushed and less polished than I would have liked but getting movement was was worth that compromise.
At the end of the year I finished up my music degree and drove north to Hamilton over a few weeks. I was living out of a suitcase for this time and several weeks after I got back and recording songs became pretty difficult. I fell behind the posting schedule and broke the flow. In the new year I posted a few songs but not enough to keep up with the demanding schedule I had set for myself. I wrote many songs this year but I didn’t get them to the point where I wanted to record and publish them.
It has now been 52 weeks since I started the project. I didn’t achieve the 52 song target but I did pick up the pace of my songwriting and get some fresh perspective on creative work. To me this makes the whole thing a success, not a failure. Emulating someone else’s model was useful as an exercise but I’m happy to leave it behind and start building my own creative model. Some of that will be on this website and some of it will be in private or writing songs for other bands where I won’t be able to share the results on a week by week basis. The last 52 weeks were full of new creations and it’s looking like the next 52 will be as well.