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This Meal-Swapping Trick Saved Me Major Time & $$$

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    Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

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    We're always looking to save money. We read up on finance tips and search for new, modern ways to pinch our pennies. At this point in our lives, many of us have heard that there are major bucks to be saved by cooking at home. We know that instead of dining out during the week or Seamlessing every day, we really should be taking matters into our own kitchens (i.e. planning our own menus, creating grocery lists, shopping at TJ's, and using our last bits of energy to cook). Before you write off this tiresome money-conservation formula, I'd like to present you with a fresh approach. Meet the meal swap.

    Most of us simply cannot justify the effort it takes to "whip up" homemade meals on a daily basis, even with the promise of budgetary bliss. But when a solo act becomes a group effort, you can do this (easily, too) without burning out and giving up. And I did do it — for an entire month.

    My roommate (hey, Arianna!) and I crafted weekly schedules and proceeded to swap our meals (i.e. weekday dinners and lunches, made by us) for all of September. I not only saved major cash, but serious time and energy, too.

    And on top of all of that, I never got bored and ended up ordering out instead (gasp). Don't believe me? Try it yourself! Click through for an easy-to-follow calendar, along with meal tips and tricks, and most importantly, a budget breakdown. If I can do it, you can, too.

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  2. Illustrated by Abbie Winters.

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  3. Illustrated by Abbie Winters.

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  4. Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

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  5. Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

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  6. Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.

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