I had to google “bi-weekly”, because I’ve never been sure whether it meant “every two weeks” or “twice a week”. Turns out, in the US the word bi-weekly means “every two weeks”, but if you live in the UK, it means “twice a week”. (So the UK folks should say “bi-fortnightly” instead.)
Just a little trivia for you there.
For as long as I’ve been a homemaker, I’ve done my meal planning and grocery shopping once a week. Don’t most people?
A couple of months ago however, I decided to switch to twice a month. Why?
Honestly, I just wanted to run around less.
Because I shop at 2 grocery stores (ALDI for most stuff, one other store for specialty items and deals), sometimes 3 (the health food store), that ends up being several errands a week. Running errands is tiring, takes a lot of time out of our day, and the kids are happier when we stay home more.
Since I’ve been doing my meal planning and grocery shopping bi-weekly, I’ve noticed some distinct benefits.
I Save Money
This is a biggie. Something about the “sticker shock” of buying groceries 2 weeks at at time forces me to want to spend less. Every time we go into a store, we’re tempted to buy things we don’t need. Even if it’s a great deal, being in the store more often means I’ll spend more money.
I Waste Less Food
We’re always running out of food by the end of the two weeks. But this makes me become more creative in the kitchen. So I don’t waste as much food. Of course, in the last few days of the bi-weekly period all the fresh fruit is gone, so the kids snack on other things. That’s fine. It’s often raw veggies, tortillas and hummus, or other healthy snacks that last longer in the fridge.
I Save Time
Meal planning two weeks at a time takes a few minutes more than doing it weekly. But anytime you “batch” an activity and do more of the same thing at once, you save time. In other words, it takes me less time to plan 2 bi-weekly menus a month than it does to plan 4 weekly menus a month.
I also save time by not running to the store as often.
How often do you shop and meal plan, and why?
By the way, for those of you who like to use online menu planning services, there’s a new kid on the block called Food On The Table. You can check it out for free. It offers the ability to create menus and shopping lists (printable, or download them to your phone!) – and here’s the coolest part – based on what’s on sale at your favorite grocery store.