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.
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.
Related: My First Batch Of Canned Cheese
Week 19 – 4 Pounds of Peanut Butter
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
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
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.
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.