Meal Swap

For those who like to cook, you can save a lot of money by swapping meals with other people such as your family, friends, neighbors, or other people who have the same interest and live within your city limit. Most of the time, buying ingredients in bulk will save you more money than buying in smaller quantities. However, if you cannot consume all the food you bought, you will end up throwing them away which is a waste of money. Therefore, by swapping food with other people, you can expand your dinner menu without having to waste a lot of money.

When I first started to save money, I knew that I had to cook my own food or I would lose a lot of money eating at restaurants. However, I struggled for a while not knowing why I was still not able to save a lot. Turns out, it was because I chose to buy in bulk to save money but could not consume all of the food I bought. Since I live alone, and I do not have a big freezer, I can only store a small amount of leftovers. As I found out that a couple of my co-workers did not know how to cook, I offered them some food here and there. They told me that they got sick of take-out because they are often too expensive and unhealthy. As we became friends, they often hung out at my place, and we always cooked something together. Since I always have a lot of ingredients at home, my new friends and I often tried making all kinds of food that we wanted to try. Mostly from recipes on the internet. After I introduced my long-time friends to my new friends, we found a common interest in meal swap.

Within our group, we often exchange our food or take turns cooking so we can share food with each other. After we started swapping meals, I noticed that I could use a lot more ingredients than I used to. Personally, I always prefer fresh ingredients rather than frozen ones. For instance, I like to buy half a salmon or even a whole salmon, I know how to fillet a fish, to prepare meals. As there are more people to share with, I do not have to worry about the leftovers. To make sure it is fair to everybody, we listed ingredients each person does not like or allergic to. I find that the more we share food with each other, the closer we get. Even my long-time friends got along really well with my new friends.

Last but not least, since we often cook together, we helped whoever does not know how to cook but wanted to learn. To me, cooking is easy. I have never taken any cooking classes, I just copy what people do from the internet. If you find yourself not so good at cooking but wanted to learn, just as some of my friends did, you can sign up for basic cooking classes, or you can watch your can-cook friends and learn from them. Since friends and I are all college students, we often cook simple meals that we can pack and bring with us to school or work easily. After a few months into meal swap, I saved a lot more than I used to when I was cooking for only myself.

If you find meal swapping to be interesting, try looking for other people, especially friends or relatives who also have the same interest and ask them to swap meals with you. You may be surprised by your friends’ cooking skills. 

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