How $5 A Week Can Get Your Family 295 Pounds Of Food

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason December 4, 2018 07:50

How $5 A Week Can Get Your Family 295 Pounds Of Food

Looking at the state of the world today, with all its threats to our society and way of life, it’s easy to think anyone would see the benefits of preparedness. Personally I think most people do realize that being prepared is a good idea, but still, preppers make up a small minority of Americans. There are several reasons for that. Some people are optimists that believe any crisis can be avoided. Others believe the government will look after them if help is needed. For most, though, the problem is likely to be money.

Prepping does cost money; there’s no way around that. It isn’t all about major purchases, like bug-out locations or bunkers, though. One of the most basic and important preps is to build up a stockpile of food that will get you through the critical first weeks of a crisis. That’s also a major purchase if you just head for the grocery store and buy three months’ worth of food – major enough to put almost everyone off doing it.

There’s some good news, though. You don’t need to buy your emergency food stockpile all at once. With some patience, and an extra $5 a week on your regular grocery shopping, you can build up a large, well-balanced food reserve in the space of a year. Most of us can find $5 a week from somewhere; it might be as simple as dropping a couple of luxuries from our shopping list and replacing them with cheaper, but more useful, items for our reserves. You’ll be surprised how much food $5 can get at a store like Walmart or Sam’s Club if you spend it on staples in large, economical packages.

Do it right and you’ll have a useful emergency supply in just a few weeks – and, in a year, you’ll have close to 300 pounds of food stockpiled – all you need to ride out a major crisis. Here’s how to do it by spending between $4 and $6 every week.

Week 1 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Rice is a great emergency food – it’s filling, and contains plenty of carbs for energy. It’s also easy to prepare and very versatile.

Week 2 – 8 Pounds of Pinto Beans

Dried beans are another staple prepper food. They store well, and once rehydrated can be used as a side dish or added to soups and stews. Combine them with rice and you also get a complete protein that contains all the amino acids your body needs.

Related: 50 Days of ‘Survival’ Calories with Rice and Beans

Week 3 – 12 Cans of Vienna Sausages

Add some meat to your survival diet with convenient cans of Vienna sausages. These can be grilled, chopped and added to stews, or eaten straight out the can.

Week 4 – 10 Cans of Tomato Sauce

Rice and pasta are nutritious, but they can also get pretty boring. Adding tomato sauce to your stockpile lets you create tastier recipes – and that’s good for morale.

Week 5 – 10 Pounds of Sugar

Sugar is packed with energy that your body can access in a hurry. It also lets you make sweet drinks and improves a load of other recipes.

Week 6 – 8 Pounds of Flour

Flour has a lot of uses around the kitchen. As well as baking bread and cakes, it can be used to thicken sauces and soups. It’s a good source of carbohydrates and, if you get all-purpose flour, it’s enriched with other nutrients too.

Week 7 – 1 Gallon of Canola Oil

You need fat for a balanced diet, and oil is a great source of it. Canola oil is good for cooking, too.

Week 8 – 6 Pounds of Rice

You’re starting to get some variety, so go back and increase your supply of this staple.

Week 9 – 6 Pounds of Navy Beans

Add more beans as well, but there’s no need to get the same kind – variety is good.

Week 10 – 8 Cans of Fruit

Fruit is nutritious, energy-rich and tasty. You can get more by buying a multipack, or you might prioritize variety here.

Week 11 – 1 Can of Powdered Milk

You’ll want this for your coffee, and it can also be reconstituted and used to replace fresh milk in many recipes.

Related: How to Make Cheese from Powdered Milk

Week 12 – 6.5 Pounds of Salt

We keep getting warned about salt, but it’s an essential part of our diet – especially if we’re working hard. Pick up a four-pack of iodized salt; the iodine is valuable if there’s any kind of nuclear hazard.

Week 13 – 12 Cans of Tuna

Tuna is rich in protein and essential fatty acids. It’s also tasty and can be used in all sorts of recipes. You can pick up a 12-pack of small cans for just over $5.

Week 14 – 6 Pounds of Pasta

Another carb-loaded staple, pasta is the base for a range of tasty meals. Smaller pasta shapes cook faster than larger ones, using less energy.

Week 15 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

Canned vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and easy to cook – you just need to heat them through.

Week 16 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Yep, more rice.

Week 17 – 6 Pounds of Black Beans

More beans, and more variety.

Week 18 – 12 Cans of Vienna Sausages

The ratio of carbs to protein is starting to get out of balance, so add more sausages.

Week 19 – 4 Pounds of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter makes for a quick and tasty sandwich, it can be adapted into a great sauce for chicken, and it’s loaded with energy, fat and protein. You can get a 4lb jar of it for $6.33 at Walmart.

Week 20 – 4 Cans of Chicken

Just for a change from Vienna sausages, pick up a four-pack of canned chicken breast chunks. These can be used in a huge list of recipes.

Week 21 – 3 Pounds of Shortening

You can bake a lot more if you have shortening. Get a three-pound can of Crisco.

Week 22 – 10 Pounds of Sugar

Increase your sugar supply this week.

Week 23 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

More vegetables are always good. Get something different this time to keep your diet interesting.

Week 24 – 6 Pounds of Rice

You saw this coming, didn’t you?

Related: Canning Amish Poor Man’s Steak

Week 25 – 8 Pounds of Pinto Beans

And this.

Week 26 – 10 Cans of Tomato Sauce

You’ll need sauces for all the rice and beans you have.

Week 27 – 6 Pounds of Pasta

You’ll need sauces for this, too.

Week 28 – 6 Jars of Assorted Spices

Add more variety to your sauces and other cooking by picking up six jars of herbs and spices. Get the basics – onion and garlic powder – then branch out. Try paprika, chilli flakes and oregano.

Week 29 – 8 Cans of Fruit

Vegetables are probably more important, but some extra fruit is good too.

Week 30 – 1 Gallon of Canola Oil

Make sure you have enough oil to cook your growing stockpile.

Week 31 – 1 Can of Powdered Milk

Milk is something you’ll really miss when you run out.

Week 32 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Yes, you already have a lot of rice. Get some more.

Week 33 – 12 Cans of Tuna

More protein that isn’t Vienna sausages.

Week 34 – 4oz of Yeast

Get a jar of dried yeast to make your bread rise.

Week 35 – 8 Pounds of Flour

Bread is something else you’ll really miss, so keep expanding your baking supplies.

Week 36 – 1 Pound of Honey

Honey is an amazing sweetener. It also has natural antibiotic properties and can help wounds heal.

Week 37 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

Again, go for variety here.

Week 38 – 6-Pack of Mac And Cheese

Sometimes you need comfort food in a hurry. Mac and cheese is the perfect choice.

Week 39 – 6 Pounds of Pasta

You can’t have enough of this stuff, really.

Week 40 – 6 Pounds of Rice

You can’t have enough of this either.

Related: Is Canned Tuna Still Safe to Stockpile 7 Years After Fukushima?

Week 41 – 6 Pounds of Navy Beans

You know what I’m going to say here.

Week 42 – 3 Cans of Corned Beef Hash

Get some more variety in your protein intake. Hash can be eaten on its own or used to improve pasta sauces.

Week 43 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

You should have enough vegetables by now to make your rice and bean dishes a lot more interesting.

Week 44 – 10 Pounds of Sugar

There are ways to make sugar yourself, but it’s much easier to buy the stuff and spend your time collecting other foods.

Week 45 – 12 Cans of Vienna Sausages

I really hope you like these.

Week 46 – 10 Cans of Tomato Sauce

By now you have enough ingredients and spices to turn this stuff into some pretty tasty recipes.

Week 47 – 2 Gallons of White Vinegar

Vinegar improves a lot of recipes and has plenty other uses around the home.

Week 48 – 6 Pounds of Rice

Relax; this is the last load of rice.

Week 49 – 8 Pounds of Pinto Beans

And these are the last beans.

Week 50 – 4 Cans of Chicken

A lot of prepper stockpiles are low on meat. Avoid that by adding more chicken.

Week 51 – 4 Pounds of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is energy-dense and easy to digest, so it’s a good way to get calories into someone who’s unwell.

Week 52 – 8 Cans of Vegetables

Beans and rice are a lot less boring when you mix some vegetables in.

If you follow this shopping plan, after a year you’ll have a massive 295 pound stockpile of food. The core of it is 36 pounds of rice, 40 pounds of beans, 18 pounds of pasta and 16 pounds of flour. To add protein, other nutrients and of course variety you’ll also have 30 cans of tomato sauce, 40 cans of vegetables, 16 cans of fruit and 67 cans of meat or fish. On top of that you have salt, spices and some other extras that will let you turn your stockpile into tasty meals. Best of all, it’s done without having to make a single huge purchase; just skip a couple of bottles of soda or bags of snacks each week, and you can spend the money on building up a valuable emergency supply instead.

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason December 4, 2018 07:50
Write a comment


  1. Armin December 4, 14:07

    I like the idea about Vienna sausages. May have to look into it. 🙂 Have plenty of canned salmon. Could get boring after a while. Find tuna too dry for my taste. Can’t stand the taste of Canola. Prefer sunflower oil even though it costs a little more. In a pinch, if you have no butter, you can use one of the better oils such as sunflower or olive on your bread. Which we’ve all learned to make for ourselves at this point. Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink. LOL! Not a big deal making bread. Make sure you have plenty of yeast on hand. 🙂 Keep the starter going. Feed it.

    Reply to this comment
    • Bonbon January 11, 15:16

      Canola is not fit for consumption! Animals apparently refuse to eat it!

      Reply to this comment
    • Cindy March 16, 18:27

      Even though rice and beans are nutritious, I wonder about relying too heavily on food that needs rehydrated. Perhaps clean water will be more scarce than nutrition. I’m just having a bit of difficulty figuring out my stock pile-

      Reply to this comment
      • DevilDog Marine July 10, 05:34

        Unless you live in a desert you should have access to water. Just have bleach tablets and a way to filter, and/or p&g water purification packets. Maybe a 20,000-liter LifeSaver Jerrycan water purification container.

        Reply to this comment
        • Lea January 15, 18:37

          Love the idea of the LifeSaver Jerrycan but the price is way outside my budget. I would have to save $5.00 a week for a year just to buy one of these.

          Reply to this comment
      • ST September 4, 19:05

        Explore your personal options for water sources, purification, and storage/retention.

        Reply to this comment
      • Chuck March 19, 16:59

        Well you stockpiled your food. Pick a method to “clean” your water. Water may be contaminated yes. Stockpile water purification tablets or use other methods to make your water safe. Read the articles on this sight on purifying water. And storage of water.

        Reply to this comment
    • Govtgirl July 13, 09:36

      One vote for Dinty Moore beef stew. A can on top of rice, mashed potatoes, pasta could feed a small family. Personally, I could eat it every day.

      Reply to this comment
  2. laura December 4, 14:21

    As pointed out in other articles, tomato products and flour do not keep well. I just opened a 5 pound bag of flour, stored several years ago. Before storing I placed the bag into the freezer for a couple of weeks in order to kill off any possible bugs inside. The flour was rock hard (had been vacuum sealed) and had an odd odor, not terribly unpleasant, however, it didn’t have that smell of fresh, which I love.

    Reply to this comment
    • Cool Breeze August 21, 16:29

      Store the wheat berries not the flour. Stored properly they will keep almost forever, won’t spoil, no bugs, more versatile than flour. Can also use it to grow your own. Grind what you want when you want.

      Reply to this comment
    • Omega 13 January 15, 17:32

      Of note, as of the first week of January, most of these items could be had for $6 a week. Vienna sausages are up. Spaghetti is way up (More like $7.50 for eight pounds), flour is six bucks.

      On the other hand, rice is still cheap, and if you don’t mind the cheap Walmart tuna, that’s 35 cents a can.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Becky December 4, 14:42

    Iodized salt is NOT useful in the event of nuclear disaster – wrong type of iodine!! Do NOT mislead folks this way!

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 4, 17:35

      While I have not researched the effect or non-effect of iodized salt after nuclear fall-out, we do need iodized salt in our diet to offset the effects of not enough iodine in our diet. Unless one is in the habit of eating seaweed on a regular basis or other iodine rich foods, we need iodine to avoid a condition known as goiter which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland which affects our metabolism.

      I believe a more balanced approach is to stock more non-iodized salt for salting purposes such as salting meat and fish for preservation and a smaller quantity of iodized salt to use for cooking and flavoring foods.

      While I can’t cite chapter and verse, somewhere in the dusty archives of my mind I seem to remember that non-iodized salt was better to use for food preservation. I cannot validate that foggy notion, I would suggest further research into the matter.

      I do know that iodized salt is necessary to prevent goiter and its subsequent effects on our metabolism.

      If you never use iodized salt for whatever reason and you have not developed goiter, it may be that you are getting the necessary iodine in your diet from some other source. It may also be that in an EOTW situation, that source of iodine may not be available to you, hence the need to use iodized salt. One needs to do all one can to avoid conditions that will be injurious to one’s health. One also needs to realize that dietary choices that are easy to satisfy in today’s abundance will not be available in an EOTW situation and thus one may perforce need to alter one diet from preferred diet to what is at hand. In other words you may have to learn to eat crows if they are readily available although that certainly will not be preferable to Cornish game hens or organic, range-free grilled chicken from Whole Foods.

      Reply to this comment
      • Kat December 5, 18:41

        Read “The Iodine Crisis” – EVERYONE is deficient in Iodine. helps with a LOT of health conditions including breast cancer, fibromyalgia, dry skin and thyroid. Iodized salt does not give us what we need – the RDA is way too low.
        Iodoral is the brand name – but there’s a cheaper one also. pill form. or the liquid Lugors blend.
        the protocol developed by Dr. Brownstein includes the Iodoral along with Selenium, Vit C, B2, B3 and Magnesium Oxide. along with mineralized sea salt.

        Reply to this comment
      • Farmer December 7, 00:10

        Some months ago, I emailed Morton salt and asked about the use of Morton pool salt as a game preservative. Their response (I’m sure lawyered up) was that it was not advised because of purity issues. Now, at $6 for 40 lbs, I’ll take that risk since salt “purity” will not be on my list of the 10 most dangerous things during SHTF.

        Reply to this comment
        • Govtgirl May 5, 05:59

          I looked up deer salt licks. Read a thread where someone stated the Army manual says if a deer can eat a salt lick so can you. I checked my FM 21-76 Army Survival Manual and couldn’t find it in there. Someone else offered that the salt licks are dirt cheap toward the end of deer season. A better idea might be water softener tablets which are sodium chloride though sometimes potassium chloride. After all, that softened water is going to come out of your tape so better be okay for humans.

          Reply to this comment
      • Kevin April 15, 12:31

        Basically, pickling salt (aka “canning salt”) is a salt that has no additives or anti-caking agents. (Common household salt does have additives.) The anti-caking agents are just there to make the salt pourable. But in pickling, those same ingredients can cause the liquid in the jar to turn cloudy!

        So a pickling salt is basically just pure salt that keeps your pickle brine (or any other canning liquid) crystal clear. It will not look murky or otherwise unappealing. Pickling salt is also cut as a fine grain so that it dissolves quickly in liquid. So no matter if you are making quick pickles (unfermented) or fermented pickles, pickling salt will keep the liquid clear and nice looking.

        Reply to this comment
    • Rydaartist December 7, 18:16

      Ok, could you go a bit more in detail? Missed the statement you were referring to. Is there more than just Iodined Salt? If so what are the differences?

      Reply to this comment
      • Crash the Greenhat January 22, 20:58

        Iodined salt is salt with iodine added. Many salts do not do this, such as pink (Himalayan) salt, most sea salts, kosher salt, etc. If it has iodine added, it will state as such.

        Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck December 4, 15:24

    While the list is a good start and provides a plan for a food stockpile, buying 12 cans of tuna at one time means that you have a dozen cans of tuna with the same or close to the same expiration date. I feel a better way to proceed is to buy a can of tuna, a can of Vienna sausage (or Spam) a can of chicken, a can of beans, etc on your first food stockpile shopping day. The next week, move down the list and buy other items. In three months the stock of tuna in the grocery store will have turned over and they will have a newer stock and you can add another can at that time. It involves a little more care in your approach. but it gives you a spread of expiration dates rather than 12 cans all with approximately the same expiration date.

    While it is true the dates are use by dates and generally the food will be safe beyond those dates, by staggering your purchases, you will greatly extend the shelf life of your food.

    The most important point is to get started.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Selene December 4, 15:55

    Thank you for this informative article! I really appreciate the detailed info & the fact that it’s truly complete info. Some articles on some sites are just teasers without any real substance. A real disappointment & a time waster to those of us who want to finish already with the computer to get out & do some preparing/living.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Farmer December 4, 16:25

    I recommend adding lard for cooking…longer shelf life and not the demon we’ve been led to believe. Also, canned beef or pork, while more expensive, offers some variety. Buy tomato or pasta sauce in glass vice cans and minimize the corrosion problem. Salsa can be an interesting alternative.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 10, 03:50

      Farmer: If you are talking about the lard that your produce on your farm, I would agree with you 100%. If you are talking about the lard that one buys commercially, not quite so enthusiastic an endorsement.

      I like salsa for the fact that it is more than just tomato sauce but also has other ingredients. Unfortunately, due to something with my system I must use mild salsa as hotter than mild induces wrenching hiccups which lead to spectacular projectile vomiting, not always a good accompaniment for other diners.

      I first discovered that unfortunate effect in a very fancy Chinese restaurant in Washington DC frequented by many of our federal legislators and other self-important Washingtonians many decades ago. It has continued to plague me every time I decide to slip off the wagon. Finally decided to eschew all hot stuff in the interest of better social interaction.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Graywolf12 December 4, 16:45

    Canola oil is a no,no.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 4, 17:22

      Why is it a no-no? Please amplify your post.

      Reply to this comment
      • Homesteader December 4, 21:06

        It is GMO rapeseed oil. It can cause heart, liver and kidney problems, may retard normal growth, etc. Here’s a link FYI:

        Reply to this comment
        • Hoosier Homesteader December 5, 23:33

          Sunflower Oil, is just sunflower oil. It’s what we use.
          Next time you’re in the store, check out the ingredience on all the oils. You’ll see a lot more than just oil.

          Reply to this comment
        • JES March 19, 17:56

          GMO Canola means it is loaded with Round-up, too. That’s how they grow and bring to harvest GMOs!! I personally do not want glyphosate (Round-up) to be a regular part of my SHTF prepper’s panty! You are best off with Avocado Oil or Coconut Oil for cooking, as they are high temp. oils that do not reach their smoke point very quickly. Olive oil is fine for salads and for making sauces taste good AFTER done cooking, since it is a “low temp” oil. I know lots of people that swear by frying and sauteeing in Olive Oil, but that means they are hitting the smoke point and turning their precious Olive Oil into TRANSFAT!! I always thought the idea of prepping was to help you and your family SURVIVE an EOTW scenario, not poison yourself with tranfat-induced heart attacks and poisoning yourself into a cancerous condition with anything that has been treated with Round-up! You can always look up what foods are cleanest on the Environmental Working Groups lists online. They also tell you which foods are safest and which are most contaminated. I’m pretty sure there are other lists of which foods have been switched to GMOs, so you don’t put anything with foreign genes in your body, either… By the way, I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, so I do basically know what I’m talking about here!

          Reply to this comment
      • Graywolf12 December 6, 01:01 There are others just search “canola oil”.

        Reply to this comment
          • Graywolf12 December 6, 15:11

   From Harvard. I Think manufactured food of any kind should be avoided.

            Reply to this comment
          • Claude Davis December 7, 00:04

            You’re right; it’s fake news. Unfortunately it gets claimed so often on the internet that many people believe it. I think a lot of the worry about canola oil comes from the fact it’s GMO, but the fact is ALL our crops have been genetically modified. It’s just a question of whether it was done by scientists in a lab or farmers selectively breeding strains over centuries. The end result’s the same.

            Reply to this comment
            • Rydaartist December 7, 02:10

              Actually some of the GMO’s deal with being resistive to Bacteria, that has been traced to negatively interacting with the Bacteria in our Guts. Not quite the same thing as choosing fertilzation of female with male by human hand.

              Reply to this comment
              • Hoosier Homesteader December 8, 16:38

                Agreed. Roundup Ready crops are not good. When insects eat the plant, the plant DNA has been manipulated in such a way that it causes the stomachs of those insects to explode.
                If it does that to the bugs eating the plant, what sort of long term damage is it doing to us? Europe has banned many GMO products. Personally, I’d like to see GMO food products disappear. We’ve managed to survive and thrive without them up to this point; we could continue without them.

                Reply to this comment
          • Johnny Reb December 7, 00:28

            Harvard is hardly non partisan … where do you think their grant money comes from? Trust independent researchers like Mike Adams … he and Vani Hari have no vested interest in the industry.

            Reply to this comment
          • dallasallan January 30, 07:24

            I know what an olive is but what is a canola? Crapola?

            Reply to this comment
            • Graywolf12 December 10, 02:32

              Rapeseed extract. Loook up rapeseed.

              Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck December 10, 03:42

              A canola is a plant that bears a yellow blossom. There are two kinds of canola oil. One is an industrial oil which is very valuable for protecting moving parts of machinery. Another is lower in a certain component which makes it suitable for human consumption. This was all gone into in great detail either later on in this thread or in another thread dealing with oils. Canola oil as prepared and sold in the U.S. is safe for human consumption despite the urban legend that it is close to being Zyklon B but in oil form.

              Reply to this comment
              • Eric Von Dumb February 18, 16:46

                Would appreciate your response. I may have been mislead by some “organic” sources, but the processing of this oil for consumption looks pretty hazy. Olive oil has not let me down yet. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

                Reply to this comment
            • Lea August 22, 18:46

              They call it “canola” because most people would NOT eat anything called “rapeseed” oil!

              Reply to this comment
  8. Farmer December 4, 17:39

    Dehdrated potato flakes (potato only…not with added milk powder) will keep well and are a filling food. Shredded potatoes are another option. I vacuum seal both with an O2 absorber.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Lisa December 4, 18:23

    I’m behind in my canning. The freezer is too full of grade A farm meat. Yes, I’m thinking for stocking rice n beans, even though at this time cannot eat them. after that time, a single meal will be a godsend. Get at it people.

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe December 7, 00:22

      Can some of that meat. Flavor it with your favorite spices and use some vegetables. Then you have dinty Moore beef stew

      Reply to this comment
  10. Mal December 4, 22:41

    Canola Oil, I can’t believe that someone that is interested in preserving life could recommend such absolute life threatening crap, sorry there is no nicer word for it. Canola oil is an invention of man. It is Genetically modified Rape. It used to be called Lear oil until it was seen no one wanted such stuff.
    All unsaturated fats are harmful if heated or exposed to sunlight. They become Trans fats which means the Molecule of fat Transposes where the Hydrogen atom is missing.
    Saturated fats do not have that hydrogen molecule missing and therefore can not Transpose.
    We have been brainwashed into thinking differently. Every time that Trans fats are mentioned Saturated fat is mentioned in the same sentence. It is usually written as ,” Transfats and Saturated fats, blah, blah, blah”.
    Canola, or Canadian Oil company produce, should be used as Brake Fluid only. If you don’t believe me, try to get a group visit to a factory where it is made. Yes, A Factory Where it is Made. If you saw this process, you would not eat it. You will feel guilty for feeding it to your kids.
    Mary Enig Phd Lipids wrote the book, you need to read it.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Pam December 4, 23:24

    I agree that canola oil is a no-no. It’s actually a soy product and in spite of all the talk, most soy isn’t good for you. Olive oil, coconut oil, even sesame oil is much safer for your body.

    Crisco is out completely. Stock pile lard, and learn to render you own. It’s not hard.

    Bi-Mart sells storage boxes in all sizes that have a gasket and snap locks to keep out moisture, insects, etc. Use these to store your rice, beans, flour and salt. They’re very inexpensive and fit nicely on a shelf in a dark place.

    Sea salt is the best. It contains the minerals you need and you can use it for canning, salting down meat, salting hides before scraping. Your animals can eat it safely.

    Peanut butter is great. Consider adding almond butter for variety.

    Make a list of everything you eat for a week. Then, use that list to create your stock pile. Most of us eat the same thing over and over. If it’s not something you and your family like, don’t buy it for storage. You still won’t like it, and then you’ll feel guilty.

    Don’t forget coffee and tea. For long term storage, instant coffee is good.

    And remember little things like sanitary products. They don’t spoil over time, and when you need them, it’s hard to find a substitute.

    Make sure you have organized storage space for your new “super market. Adequate shelves, a way to keep out light and moisture, not to mention the little four legged pests who would like to share. (Buy some mouse traps.) They can’t get into cans and jars, but they will eat the labels off.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis December 5, 00:03

      Canola oil is not a soy product. It is made from oilseed rape, a member of the cabbage family, and it’s been used in Europe for centuries. There’s nothing wrong with it.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck December 5, 06:48

        I read the Dr. Axe article and I read the Wikipedia article on canola oil. Based on my reading of the two articles, including checking a couple of the references contained in the Wikipedia article, it is my conclusion that the arguments against canola oil are only partially correct and that it appears currently that canola oil lowers ldl in the body and increases hdl both situations are conducive to better heart health.

        Of course, reasonable minds can reach opposing opinions after reading the same piece.

        The rape plant is related to cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips. rutabagas and mustard. There was no mention in the list of plants it is related to of soy plant.

        Canada is the major exporter of canola oil. The name is apparently derived from CANada and OLA, as in mazOLA.

        Eruic acid contained in industrial rape seed oil is indeed injurious to humans, however, commercial canola oil sold as a food contains only .01% druid acid which the FDA whether rightly or wrongly, has decided is non-injurious to humans.

        Reply to this comment
      • JayJay December 5, 17:29

        But why use something that is questionable when coconut oil and peanut oil have a better shelf life and are healthier??

        Reply to this comment
        • Claude Davis December 5, 18:25

          Canola oil is not questionable. It doesn’t cause heart disease; it reduces the risk of it. It also has a high smokepoint, which makes it great for roasting and frying without either starting a fire or breaking down to create toxic chemicals.

          Reply to this comment
    • meWho December 5, 02:54

      Ah, sea salt. Very trendy. Yes it includes minerals, but beware, it also includes microplastics. Google it.

      Reply to this comment
    • Farmer December 7, 02:06

      Crisco is a soy and palm oil product.

      Reply to this comment
    • Crsully December 9, 19:26

      Thank you. Can you send me to a site to help with building storage shelves?

      Reply to this comment
  12. IvyMike December 5, 01:31

    I spent several weeks on Cayo Aguilar, Belize, in the 70’s when it was just jungle, 3 huts belonging to a fishing family, and a little one Cantina town a days walk from where I stayed. I paid a fisherman in Xcalak, Mexico 10.00 to take me across the reef. Everything I had to eat during my stay was in an old Army dufflebag. The idea was to catch fish for a major part of my diet but it was so windy I never caught anything bigger than a crab. What you pack is almost always what you are going to eat, I learned. From that experience I would say:
    More wheat flour, baking soda, corn meal instead of rice, more pinto beans than you can imagine eating.
    Lots of oil. you can’t overstate how important oil is for cooking.
    No tuna, salmon is okay but what you want is a can packed with protein and fat, fish and chicken are too lean. Think SPAM (I hate Vienna Sausage), canned chili, canned ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs.
    Fruit canned in sugar syrup, peanut butter. Canned taters.
    Salt, because of its trade value, but also lots of curing salt which is a different thing and handy to preserve meats.
    You are not buying diet or health food, after TSHTF all fat people will become thin people, even me.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 10, 04:02

      Right on, Mike. I don’t know how many times I have repeated the mantra that after an EOTW situation you will be happy to glug down a quart of canola oil like it was the finest cabernet for the calories and energy it will give you. (And also make you somewhat more regular.)You will be happy to be able to kill a crow and boil it. A squishy tomato with just a little mold will be ambrosia and you will happily cut out the green spots in a potato to roast it in the fire and scarf it down.

      You won’t have to worry about cholesterol, high blood pressure, A1C and a whole host of other diet related processes because your main worry will be dropping dead from inadequate caloric intake of any sort. Or dying of the bloody flux as it was referred to in medieval times from the muddy water you drank out of the cow’s hoof print yesterday.

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  13. Rydaartist December 5, 04:37

    Canned food or dried, hey folks Herbs, Spices (start with Pepper), Dried Garliac and Onion Powder. Keep going..dried Chili. And hey where are your Refried Beans, Diced Green Chili, Enchilda Sauce (both red/green) and last where are your nuts and seeds? These keep you involved with your food, makes tongues and tummies happy.

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    • Farmer December 7, 00:13

      Nuts and seeds contain oils that will go rancid in short order …. rotate frequently and you should be alright.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Steve December 5, 16:05

    Another way to buy and save at the same time is to look at your store’s discount bin. This is usually in smaller, locally owned grocers. I recently bought 10lbs of sugar for only $2.99. I’ve bought 2lb bags of pinto beans for 49 cents. I’ve bought over 50lbs of flour and 30lbs of sugar and several pounds of corn meal this way. If you have local grocers in your area, check them out. You may be able to get a lot for fairly little.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis December 6, 11:08

      That’s some great advice, Steve. I always look in discount bins anyway – I’ve had some real bargains from there. Even if you’re not following a plan like this to build up a food supply in a hurry, it’s always worth checking. My experience is that they usually only have a couple of each item, but it’s a cheap way to add some variety to your stores.

      Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe December 6, 17:13

        Yes, dollar stores are great for discounts. They have an entire aisle (one side of shelves) dedicated to one dollar products. Including shampoo, toothpaste, razors, food products, medicines, all for just one dollar a piece. Has been a major money saver for me in stocking up. Think I will go there today.

        Reply to this comment
        • Farmer December 6, 18:07

          Dollar Tree has everything for $1. I found canned chiken, chub mackeral, clams and tuna for a buck. They also have 24oz pasta for $1.

          Reply to this comment
      • Graywolf12 December 7, 15:23

        I can not find your comment on GMO’s so I’ll answer here. Please read the scientific definition of GMO and Hybrid. There is a big difference in collecting pollen from a male flower and manually fertilizing a female flower on another plant , and taking a gene from a fish, salamander, ETC and replacing a gene in a plant.

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        • Rydaartist December 7, 18:26

          Thank you for your clarification of GMO vs manual fertilization. Can’t find the article where scientists are find GMO plants that contain Bacteria Inhibitors are now showing up in our guts with negative impact.

          Reply to this comment
  15. JayJay December 5, 17:31

    Folks, this isn’t rocket science–just pick up $5 worth of foods you eat every day/week/month.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Gene December 6, 03:16

    Tomato products (for long term storage) should only be purchased in glass containers. The acids in tomatoes will eat through the can liner and the can. Even a tiny, tiny pin hole in the container may prove to be deadly.

    Reply to this comment
  17. watrpro December 6, 04:44

    Not a bad article. I differ in some areas but that is me. I find giving a low cost guide is a great thing. Hats off. FYI. You can buy swimming pool salt (pure small grain salt) in 50 lb. bags for less than $7 each.

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  18. Farmer December 7, 00:21

    Ahhh, dried beans …. the labor intensive and energy intensive food. Try dehydrated beans (from several online sources) … all the work has been done, no large amounts of clean water required for soaking and re-soaking and they cook in 5 to 10 minutes …

    Reply to this comment
  19. watrpro December 7, 01:17

    Mr. Davis. This is exact why I don’t post articles. A perfectly good article, provoking thought and most of us are capable of making changes as we see fit is torn apart. Wow.

    Reply to this comment
    • mbl December 11, 15:44

      I agree, watrpro, and it seems to be everywhere in Cyberia.

      I think this article is a great starting point, and if it helps someone come up with a plan and provides motivation to follow through and enact the plan, then the article has done its work.

      Reply to this comment
  20. 1WVBBQueen December 26, 22:39

    I really like your suggestions on how to prep for just $5.00 extra a week.
    I just want to comment on the Dry Milk in your suggestion list. You may want to buy Whole Dried Milk instead of the normal Non Fat Dried Milk.
    The taste is so different and the Whole Dried Milk really does taste more like the kind you are used to drinking from a jug right now.
    I bought some to try the difference and am really amazed at the difference in taste, and I use it now on my dry cereal, instead of buying liquid milk now at the store.
    Just a nice tip on your already nice tips. `

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  21. Introvert8 December 27, 15:52

    Thought I would “spreadsheet” your list.
    I sourced everything from and, in some cases, made some personal choices. I bought wayyyyy more rice – LOL
    $7.01 per week
    $399 lbs of food

    Reply to this comment
    • Stump Jumper July 6, 03:53

      Did you include taxes in the price of food, Some may pay taxes on food and some may not. Someone should do another price check like this next year or maybe each month.

      Reply to this comment
  22. Agape77 January 20, 00:06

    I have a question. You say get tuna but tuna outdates pretty quickly. Stockpiles don’t last long when cans keep getting outdated. What do you do?

    Reply to this comment
    • Lisa February 9, 20:11

      Use the rotation system. Buying for the current week to eat, put that in the back of the stash, then eat the front of the stash. This way, it is mostly close in date. I don’t usually, as a number of items, I don’t usually use. My canned roast beef (out dated) is still good.
      Also when you buy tuna, buy the oil pack. Oil and fat are NOT bad for you. You will truely want the oil on the other side.

      Reply to this comment
  23. ST February 8, 01:27

    This might be considered a beginner’s list, but I’d bet a dollar it is far more than what most of my neighbors have on hand at any given moment. The average Joe could do a lot worse than start with this list.

    Reply to this comment
  24. KDC February 17, 16:41

    Canola oil is not a food. And with Crisco, and vegetable oils, they are probably made from soybeans. If you don’t care, go with it. I’m a bit concerned with what I injest, especially these days.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Deb February 18, 04:54

    Great ideas but my problem is where do I put all this stuff? I live in a small house and only have so much room under the beds and in the closets.

    Reply to this comment
    • Eric Von Dumb February 18, 16:59

      If your worried about the zombie revolution, why are you worried about storage space? Put it where you want it and throw a sheet over it! Nice guys like me may just over look it. Doubt it… LOL

      Reply to this comment
    • ST February 19, 02:29

      I feel your pain. A stack of 5gal buckets takes up very little square footage. I have a stack of 6 in one corner. Each bucket has about 32 lbs of dry goods. No one can see it but me. But if I got tired of looking at buckets, I could pick up a piece of fabric 6’x3′ to cover it. There’s many, many ideas out there online. Some people make large trays to slide under couches, or use end tables that have storage inside.

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    • ST July 11, 16:15

      Another suggestion-if you can get your hands on some milk crates, you can stack them in the appropriate shape, lay a piece of plywood, glass, etc. across the top, and make an end table or coffee table out of your cache. I’ve seen pictures of nice ones. Some covered the crates in a nice-looking piece of fabric, added a piece of table glass, and then a lamp. You could not know there were dozens of cans of food there next to their recliner. Theoretically, you could do it with 5gal buckets as well.

      Reply to this comment
      • Lisa July 11, 17:51

        FYI, I frequent the farm stores. Some have nice plastic ones. Also they have a couple sizes, a bit pricy, but worthwhile. I prefer the smaller half size, also the 2 gal buckets as a 5 gal is too heavy. I’m expecting to start filling unused bedroom closets.

        Reply to this comment
        • Farmer September 10, 15:27

          Try asking for buckets at places that have an open buffet; particularly salad bars. Walmart gets cake icing in buckets…try there

          Reply to this comment
    • Govtgirl July 13, 09:29

      Hi, Deb,
      Really like ST’s idea. It made me look around my place. We have bookcases in every room. I could put quite a few cans behind those books especially the paperbacks. Also in my cabinets I use very short cardboard boxes as a pullout drawer which would make retrieval under a bed easier.

      Reply to this comment
      • ST September 10, 15:56

        You may be able to place a single row of cans behind the books, and no one will notice unless they look very closely Looking at my bookcase, that would be a line of about 14 cans per shelf, twice that if stacked 2 high. 5 shelves x 14 = 70 cans? That would free up some space in the kitchen cabinet, for sure.

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  26. ST August 14, 16:31

    Some of the grocery stores here have specials on rice-a 20lb bag is $8 with any purchase of $20 or more. Up until this March, 50lb bags of dry beans could be had for @$35. Now they’re 20lbs for $24.
    Yesterday was the best day to stock up. But today is still better than tomorrow.

    Reply to this comment
  27. Lea August 22, 18:56

    Everything on this list is great BUT…

    Everything we buy for our preps should be rotated into our daily meals. I propose a better solution: make a meal plan for 3 meals a day plus a couple of snacks daily for 1 month. Purchase the foods, spices, etc., that are needed for those meals. Rotate all of it into your regular eating plan. If you are able to, purchase more than one or two of the main ingredients but again, rotate, rotate, rotate. If you do this, you will also have a 1 year solution in no time. AND nothing will go “bad” during that year.

    The comments regarding flour going bad is correct. Flour from the store has about a 1 to 1 1/2 year shelf life but if it is rotated into your normal eating plan, that should never be an issue. IF you plan to store this long term and not bake with it until SHTF, then you should plan on getting wheat berries and a grinder.

    As for oil, I have a variety of oils that I use – coconut, avocado, olive and peanut oils.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Mystisch September 9, 20:30

    WHere in THE entire world are people finding TUNA at 4 cans for $1 !!????

    Reply to this comment
  29. Lea January 15, 18:49

    I appreciate the list of foods and the theory of $5.00/week. But…buy what you eat aka store what you eat and eat what you store – everything then stays in constant rotation.
    I prefer the method of planning a menu for a month and purchasing or having on hand, everything needed to make those meals. When I started stocking up and storing for future events, I created a menu for a month, purchased all the things I needed to make all those meals (I did it one week at a time) but as my budget allowed, I picked up extra things such as rice, beans, pasta, canned items that fit in the menu plan – all things my family ate on a regular basis. The only things that I had in addition to storable foods (non-perishables) were the fresh meats, fruits and veggies, fresh dairy products, etc. But I did include non-perishable meat, fruit/veggies and dairy products in my storage plan. As I continued to do this each week, I eventually had enough on the shelf for 6-8 months for my family. Now I live alone and have a slightly different needs so I have had to revise my plan somewhat.

    When the lockdowns occurred at the start of the pandemic, I took inventory and calculated that I had 6+ months of non-perishables on the shelf. The things that I did not have and could not readily get at the beginning were flour and yeast to make my own bread. I had only enough of both for a month – I don’t like to keep white or wheat flour more than 6-8 months and don’t regularly eat bread so was low on that product!! Not any longer, though.

    Since we do not know what is going to occur throughout this pandemic, country-wide chaos, and new administration, I plan to keep up with my preps and pray for the best!

    Reply to this comment
  30. Westpacwill March 19, 15:26

    Terrific article and great comments providing lots of info for consideration. Adding to my current stockpile using this article and recommendations from other readers as a guide. Thank you to everyone.

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