How $5 A Week Can Get You 295 Pounds Of Food – Final Prepper

How $5 A Week Can Get You 295 Pounds Of Food

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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.

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.

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?

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.

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.


  1. Kim

    January 17, 2019 at 11:17 am

    This is a great idea but how long will it keep? Being an empty nester I plan for not only myself but if my children and family need to move in with me in a crisis. But having said that, I won’t be able to use all that myself until that time. Will it keep for long periods of time?

    • Clergylady

      February 11, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Canned meats are safe 3 years or more. Sugar, salt, honey, dried beans, split pear et. if sealed and in a cool dark place – forever.
      Powdered milk, powdered eggs, instant mashed potatoes, dry soup mixes in metal cans- forever
      Nut butters in metal a decade or more. In plastics 2-3 years and glass closer to a decade. Cool is key to them or oils will get rancid.
      Canned vegetables except tomatoes will be safe if stored cool(but not frozen) safely a decade or so. Tomatoes because of the acid should be used up within 3 years.
      Dried vegetables sealed airtight will keep for years. Closed up in glass jars they will still be usable for a year or two.
      The real key to safe long term storage is a”cool and dark” place.
      Be sure to keep adding as you can then eat from that storage and replace it to keep newer items going in and older items coming out.
      I have several pits dug with cement blocks laid in the bottom. Metal trash cans and gallon size glass jars keep critters from getting into dried foods. Canned goods are in plastic bins and I’m getting ready to do one pit with a sturdy set of shelves set in it for canned goods. That will make rotating stock easier.
      I rotate the food in my kitchen as well So fresher things are coming in as older ones go out.
      We’re empty nesters as well but if serious trouble come several will be home with spouses and all need to be fed.
      My husband and I like spam (there are assorted flavors now) far better than Vienna sausage. Not quite as cheap but better variety. Ramin with home dried thin cut veggies and 1/2 can diced spam makes a real quick meal. I’ve had a lot of medical appointments and for a while can’t stand long so some emergency foods are filling in as fast meals.
      I also find Angel hair spaghetti is faster and easier to cook than other pastas so I make sure to have some always on hand. 1/2 lb ground meat, browned and crumbled, 1 can pasta sauce, 1 1/2 cans water, stirred into browned meat, bring to simmer, stir in angel hair spaghetti and cook 1 minute. Cover with a tight lid and let it sit while you set the table or eat a salad. Stir in 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan or Romano cheese.serve and add more cheese if desired on top.
      Husband likes this also so storage for us includes dry cheese and canned pasta sauces. In emergencies quick meals will save fuel for cooking. The sauce will easily store as long as the tomato sauce and takes less prep to use it. I do have a large variety of herbs and spices and love cooking but the hour(s) to make a good sauce won’t be happening when fuel to cook must be rationed. And after living alone in the woods and gathering branches without a saw for my cooking fires. Conserving makes sense.
      Soups or heat and eat foods make sense.
      Simple breads to cook on a stick or on a grill over a fire make sense. Or German style drop dumplings in stew or cooked fruits are fast and filling. Make a too wet baking powder biscuit and drop in boiling liquid by large spoonfulls. Let cook about 5 minutes and cover to finish cooking dough 5-15 minutes depending on how big you made them. Test that there is no raw dough in the middle. It will thicken the liquid they are cooked in. My favorites are in a chicken stew or stewed blackberries with a bit of sugar.
      Just plan ahead and start setting something aside on a regular basis and you can do it.

  2. Shirley Welch

    January 18, 2019 at 9:26 am

    How does thIs work? Like 50$ a month!?

  3. Janice

    January 18, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I like your column except the canola oil. It is the WORST oil you can consume. One would be better off investing in organic coconut oil. Very versatile and much better for you!

    • Clergylady

      February 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      Some choices will depend on preferences. I keep grapeseed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, on had and in cool storage. I’ll admit I have some corn oil in a spray bottle for pans but I really don’t use much oil and defiantly prefer real butter to margarine.
      Olive and coconut oils often end up in mixtures I make to put on my skin. That makes them doubly handy. If I were making my soap those would have a third purpose to store them for.

  4. susan shafer-shores

    January 18, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Better question is what do I keep it all in? Clear or solid plastic tubs? 5 gal food grade buckets? How to rotate all those cans?

    • Carolyn Hammell

      February 15, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      This is my question too. Where and how do I store this?

  5. Lisa

    January 18, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Kim, don’t believe the good by dates. Dried rice, beans etc will last long after the gov wants you to throw it out. Use it on a rotation if you can. This is a good first step.

  6. Sue

    January 18, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Please contact me and explain how to order this meal plan $5 a week.

    • Clergylady

      February 11, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      It’s a storagecplan. Not a meal plan. Its a starting point so stocking up won’t seem so overwhelming. At the end of the year you’d have a good basic stock of foods stashed away.

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