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Meal planning twice per month has saved on hundreds on groceries and a ton of time. Meal plan on a budget using a bi-weekly method where you can eat healthy for less. Grab the free meal planning worksheets that will help you create a meal plan in less than 15 minutes. #mealplan #mealplanonabudget #healthyonabudget #cleaneating

Almost every mom I talk to hates meal planning but wishes they had a plan when 5pm hits each night. Having a dedicated time to meal plan can reduce weeknight stress and have a positive impact on your grocery budget. A few years ago, I started meal planning for two weeks at a time, and it reduced my dread of meal planning and ended up helping me cut down on my grocery spending.

I’ve talked about how I budget by paycheck on the blog, so meal planning by paycheck fit well into this budgeting strategy. When we have our bi-monthly paycheck deposited into our bank account, this is the day that I sit down and plan out all of our expenses. I also use this time to plan out meals for the next two weeks.

How to Meal Plan Bi-Monthly

The first step to meal planning for a 2-week window of time is to print out a monthly calendar. Write down:

  • Nights you will be at extracurricular activities
  • If your husband will be out of town or at a business dinner
  • Date nights
  • Nights you plan to eat out at a restaurant or order takeout/food delivery
  • Special events or holidays

You essentially want to write down anything that would have an impact on what you choose to make for dinner on a given night. You’ll also know exactly how many meals you need to plan for over the next 2 weeks.

I look through my family favorites meal list and start assigning meals to a night where it is most appropriate. If your kids have soccer practice on Tuesday night, for example, maybe you want to do a crockpot meal so that it’s ready as soon as you get home. On nights where you have a little extra time, you can plan a meal that is easy to double and freeze.

Once I’ve chosen my meals and assigned them to days on the calendar, I create my shopping list. I generally like to separate my list out by which store I’ll be going to. I also place items into the section of the store I can find them so it’s easy to work my way through the aisles without backtracking. I like to be in and out of the store as fast as possible!

Why to Plan Meals Bimonthly

Regardless of whether or not you budget by paycheck, there are a few reasons this is my favorite way to meal plan.

1. You can choose recipes with similar ingredients and make bulk purchases. You can shop at places like Costco without worrying about food going to waste since you will use it in multiple recipes before food expires.

2. You can make less trips to the grocery store, which means fewer impulse purchases and time battling children in the grocery aisle. Outside of produce, you can buy almost anything in advance and stick it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

Instagram: I show my meal planning and prep every week in my stories

3. It is easy to plan for freezer meals. If you don’t mind eating the same thing two weeks in a row, this is a great way to make weeknight meals fast. Pick a night the first week that you have a little bit more time and make a double batch of a meal. Freeze the second batch for a night the following week where you don’t have as much time to make dinner.

Feeling Uninspired?

I don’t always follow a themed food schedule, but it can be a helpful trick when you just don’t know what to make every week. Examples include:

  • Mexican Monday
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Italian night
  • Asian-inspired night
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Leftovers Night
  • Meatless Meal/Vegetarian

Having a theme for each night helps to quickly assign meals to a given day without a lot of thought. The times that I have followed a themed schedule, I felt like my kids really enjoyed it. They liked the structure of weeknight meals, so that alone could be a reason to try it!

I have also gone through seasons where I have used a low-cost meal planning service to plan my meals for me. The ones that I have used and really enjoyed are:

I hope that helps take some of the stress out of meal planning. You just need to find the strategy that works best for you and your schedule. It’s taken a bit of trial and error for me, but planning on a bi-monthly basis has saved me countless hours and hundreds of dollars per month on our grocery budget.

Do you dedicate a certain time each week to meal planning? What has worked best for you and your family?

Other Posts You Might Like:

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Meal planning twice per month has saved on hundreds on groceries and a ton of time. Meal plan on a budget using a bi-weekly method where you can eat healthy for less. Grab the free meal planning worksheets that will help you create a meal plan in less than 15 minutes. #mealplan #mealplanonabudget #healthyonabudget #cleaneating


Sarah Nichols

Sarah Nichols, founder and CEO of Let's Talk Mom Business, has a background in business, research, advocacy, and family finances. LetsTalkMomBusiness.com combines her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and her love for budgeting and frugal living to help others take their family finances into their own hands by teaching budget basics, how to earn income from home as a mom, DIY tutorials, and frugal fun.

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