5 tips to make your groceries last two weeks

We are entering a time where a lot of us are avoiding regular trips to the grocery store. We are honouring the stay at home protocols and it has had some side effects on our meal situation. 

About four years ago I started to simplify our groceries. One change we made was the Two-Week Grocery shop.

We’ve moved it up to weekly in the recent year, but I wanted to reshare this post from the lessons I was learning and the strategies that were helping us maintain a two-week shop. 

5 tips to make your groceries last two weeks

The fact is I do not enjoy grocery shopping.

I don’t mind the meal planning or making an exorbitantly detailed list for my husband, who – God bless him – shops for us, even it means navigating the ‘suitable substitution pop quiz portion’ of the shopping.
I do dislike having to shop every week (sometimes more). All the packing and unpacking. All the readjusting meal plans around the mystery ‘substituted’ food item’.
So when we brought in this new year with the plan to budget our butts off, we thought a monthly grocery shop to the big city would save us time and money.  After reading up on monthly shops (doing all your shopping at once to last for the whole month!) it seemed pretty daunting and we thought a two-week shop seemed like a better place to start out.

In the past, our frequent small trips to the store usually cost more than we intended. Though I’m sure we aren’t the only ones who go in for apples and bread and come out with a giant wheel of half-priced brie, nachos and mango juice. Not to mention it somehow took at least an hour every single trip.

meal planning, simple on purpose

The other bonus of doing this two-week shop is we can coordinate it with my Conor’s week on/week off shift work. This means we run out of food during Conor’s set home, and restock before he goes back to work which works better than the opposite (code, I will black box challenge to the death to avoid grocery shopping alone with three small kids!).

When Conor is home we plan a trip to ‘the city’ for appointments or to visit family and incorporate a grocery shop in the mix.

At this point, we bring all three kids in, two carts and divide and conquer the list.

I’d like to say this is a ‘simple’ thing. But it usually ends up with my husband driving a cart devoted to children and snacks. With me being the pace cart ahead, checking off the list like I’m on a nightmarish shopping spree gameshow that will only end in tears and a flurry of granola bar wrappers. Not to mention the intermission where one of our children lay starfished on the produce aisle floor and me getting that ‘if one more person bites a red pepper and I have to add it to my cart, I’m gonna snap and turn this cart around‘ look in my eyes. 

three kids in one grocery cart

Regardless. We about half a year in, we are still doing the two-week shop and we are actually following a grocery budget for the first time….. ever.

It’s been great on the results side. Aside from a minor disagreement on how many vegetarian meals a man can take before he pulls some chicken out of the freezer thereby derailing your future meals plans for said chicken. And maybe giving you some new marriage insight that goes something like: just let the man eat chicken.

Five tips to do the Two-Week Grocery Shop

1. Take inventory of what you already have

Before I make a meal plan for the two weeks I write down EVERYthing we have in the pantries, freezers and fridge. Our cupboards are full of money we’ve already spent and forgot about. Gotta use this stuff up!


2. Make a meal plan

Making a plan is what makes your grocery shop actually work. Know what you need and get just that – then you will save money instead of accumulating more and more groceries. This also helps you ensure you are getting enough of everything for the two weeks. 

To make a meal plan I read the flyers, take inventory and compare it to my meal planning book of ideas. The way I categorize the ideas is what makes it work, check it out right here. 


3. Plan to run out 

Oh? Another list? Yup,  I have a list of meals sorted by beginning of the two-weeks to end of the two-weeks. They range from using the fresh ingredients first to meals I can make near the end of the two weeks with more ingredients from the pantry and freezer.

We’ve learned a lot about meals we can make with what we have on hand in the freezer and pantry. I even try to challenge myself at the end of the two weeks to see if I can push it a few more days or before Conor begins to waste away from lack of protein.


4. Store your food properly

Did you know if you store cilantro with its stems in a jar of clean water and loosely covered with plastic that it will last for at least two weeks in your fridge? 

I have thrown out a lot of food that just went bad, so I started searching ways to store produce and make it last longer. 

There are legit tips out there. Like, don’t store potatoes and onions near one another.  Keep your avocados in the fridge and bring them out a day before you want to eat them. 

We have even started freezing cheese, and milk – it changes the consistency a bit but it helps prolong the groceries. 


5. Eat less

It sounds simple, but I’m a slow learner, and a gluttonous consumer. We have had to learn to pay attention to how much we are eating.

At first it felt like I was on constant ration patrol of our fresh ingredients (yes, I will arm wrestle you if you add more red pepper to your omelet dear).

As we’ve been intentionally eating less and not cramming all the awesomeness (cheese, bacon, more cheese) we can into singular meals it has been easier to make everything last two weeks and never feel like we are ‘going without’. First world problem, I’m well aware.


For more tips on how to simplify your home, heart and life check out the Simple on Purpose podcast





5 thoughts on “5 tips to make your groceries last two weeks”

  1. Are all of your shopping trips to my big city or do you head to Kelowna? (This is how ignorant I am about where the heck you actually live… ) How do I make shopping easier? I have laying hens in the back yard. When all else fails we have scrambled eggs and toast.


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