Benefits of Bi-Weekly Meal Planning and Shopping

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‚Äôs 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.

Take it for a test spin.


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3 Responses to Benefits of Bi-Weekly Meal Planning and Shopping

  1. Emily says:

    I would love to shop once a month if I could get away with it, but frankly less frequently than once a week and I end up with bad fresh produce.

    Will be much better once we’re on our rural homestead and have a huge garden…

    BTW thanks for the trivia RE “bi-weekly” – had no idea there was a diff. between here and UK.

  2. Val says:

    It’s amazing how much you can save by just planning the meals out isn’t it? I do one major trip for the month. I like to make most of the meals for the month in that first few days, but it doesn’t always happen. However, I’ll freeze meat in sizes needed for future meals and a list will be on the fridge of what to make.

    But alas, like Emily said, it’s really difficult to go over 10 days without a trip for fresh veggies. We eat a lot of salads and lettuce just doesn’t keep. BUT I never mind going to the store for veggies, it means we are eating well :)

  3. I plan a monthly meal plan, but continue to buy weekly. I don’t know why, I guess I programmed myself that way. I need to change it since Kevin is not receiving a paycheck twice a month. It would be easier on the budget. Thanks for sharing this!

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