How to Build Your Food Storage On Only $5 a Week

by Erich

Think you can’t handle the price of food storage? Think again.

I was over at LDSPreppers today and found a great post in the forums by “AZPrepper”. He basically came up with a list of $5 food items that you can purchase each week for a year to build up your food storage for you and someone else.

Although he mentions that some of the food costs may have changed, the general concept and estimate should still be worth your while.

Here’s the list of what to buy each week:

  • Week 1: 6 lbs salt
  • Week 2: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 3: 20 lbs of sugar
  • Week 4: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 5: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 6: 6 lbs macaroni
  • Week 7: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 8: 8 cans tuna
  • Week 9: 6 lbs yeast
  • Week 10: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 11: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 12: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 13: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 14: 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
  • Week 15: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 16: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 17: 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
  • Week 18: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 19: 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • Week 20: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 21: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 22: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 23: 8 cans tuna
  • Week 24: 6 lbs shortening
  • Week 25: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 26: 5 lbs honey
  • Week 27: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 28: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 29: 5 lbs peanut butter
  • Week 30: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 31: 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
  • Week 32: 10 lbs powdered milk
  • Week 33: 1 bottle 500 aspirin
  • Week 34: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 35: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 36: 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
  • Week 37: 6 lbs salt
  • Week 38: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 39: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 40: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 41: 5 cans cream of chicken soup
  • Week 42: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 43: 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
  • Week 44: 8 cans tuna
  • Week 45: 50 lbs wheat
  • Week 46: 6 lbs macaroni
  • Week 47: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 48: 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • Week 49: 5 lbs honey
  • Week 50: 20 lbs sugar
  • Week 51: 8 cans tomato soup
  • Week 52: 50 lbs wheat

He also mentions that some weeks you will have leftover change. Instead of spending it, put aside the change each week to be used for the weeks you may need more than $5 (like for wheat, milk, etc). Also be sure to lookout for sales. This way you can jump ahead and cross items off the list where there are great bargains.

After you have completed this list, you will end up with:

  • 500 lbs of wheat
  • 180 lbs of sugar
  • 40 lbs of powdered milk
  • 12 lbs of salt
  • 10 lbs of honey
  • 5 lbs of peanut butter
  • 45 cans of tomato soup
  • 15 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 15 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 24 cans of tuna
  • 21 boxes of macaroni & cheese
  • 500 aspirin
  • 1000 multi-vitamins
  • 6 lbs of yeast
  • 6 lbs of shortening
  • 12 lbs of macaroni

I calculated that this amount of food has around 1,249,329 calories which based on a 2000 calorie a day diet will provide enough food for two people for 312 days! That’s almost one whole year for two people on $5 a week! Even if the price was double that, at $10 a week you’re only paying around $40/month in grocery bills. Try to beat that…

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Comment by PrepperBuzz
2010-02-25 14:27:17

Great post, I think one of the hardest or most overwhelming aspects of building food storage is figuring out where to start. This provide a good starting point. I also agree that the $5 per week might be a little bit ambitious right now but even if you set asside $10 or $20 it is achievable.

Re-posted on seems like your trackback didn’t take.

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2010-02-27 20:34:48

Thanks Prepperbuzz!

Comment by Mike
2010-02-27 18:59:50

This list mentions nothing about how to store all this food. Buckets, mylar bags, heat sealers, etc all add to the cost and need to be considered.

Also, there’s no mention of rotation.

Also also, this list seems to be geared toward people just getting into prepping. So, what the heck do you do with 500lbs of wheat? How do I actually eat this stuff?

Good start, but prepping is more than just buying a million calories worth of foodstuffs.

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2010-02-27 20:38:23

Good comments Mike. That’s what this site is for (all the other stuff) ๐Ÿ˜‰ The point of this article is just to show that getting started with food storage is not at all difficult. I’ll be posting more articles in the future about storing, rotating, preparing etc, so stick around.

Comment by ArtyB
2010-02-28 02:08:16

Good info, but where do you FIND 50 pounds of wheat?

Not my local supermarket.

Not Walmart.

50 pounds of wheat for $5.00?

On line, 45 pounds is $72.00

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-02-28 15:39:17


Great question. Since this original list was created some time ago so as I mentioned earlier, the numbers are a bit off. However, I can get 50 lbs of red wheat at the Mormon cannery (where I live) for around 12 bucks now so it’s not too far off. The “Bishops Storehouses” as they are called have the cheapest prices of anywhere I’ve seen. Look in your area to see if they’re available.

Otherwise check out Walton Feed who sells them for $41.50 per 50lb bag right now. At that price, if you truly can get the other items for $5 each week that comes to a total cost of $625 which divided by 52 weeks is $12.01 a week. Again, even doubling this amount to $24 a week or $3.42/day should be manageable by most people’s standards.

Comment by DFragmentor
2010-06-12 01:48:19

What the F can you make with all that? I hope the one I am with knows how to cook! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-06-12 20:51:49

If you’re hungry enough my friend, you’ll figure out a way. Otherwise send it my way and I’ll make good use of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by imshandon
2010-09-22 18:17:05

Nice post……I guess we can ask “how to cook” it or “where to put” it and a bunch of other stuff.But I think the info match the title quite well….Short of the mentioned cost factors.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-09-22 20:09:08


Be sure to check around the blog. You’ll find many of the answers you’re looking for.

Comment by bv
2010-09-23 17:04:31

chicago sweetners 50lbs is about 10 dollars

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-09-24 01:41:36

Is this sugar or some other sweetener? I couldn’t find anything online, do you have a link?

Comment by Starfire
2010-10-06 22:51:11

Am I the only one who read this and the first thought was that this was a great resource and starting point to plan for the zombie apocalypse?! Lol XD

Comment by steven
2010-12-30 18:46:56

great post, only thing is i don’t see water for cooking/drinking

Comment by Bugman
2011-01-15 10:48:15

If you learn to make bread then you can have peanut butter and tuna sandwiches. Most people think I’m crazy but I love them. And like T.I. says if you are hungry…….
Best to learn at least some basic cooking.

Comment by Dustin
2011-01-17 16:12:15

Important note:

Eat what you store; store what you eat.

For instance: If you don’t know how to make anything from wheat flour and have no intention to learn, you’ll end up with a “lifetime supply” of it.

Comment by Jeff
2011-02-04 17:01:09

Several things….
1. Use this as a guideline. If you don’t like tuna, for example, then buy canned chicken. Stock up preps that you know you like and can consume while staying within these general guidelines.
2. I personally recommend supplementing this list with as much dried beans and rice as you can squeeze in. Together, they make a perfect protein. Get in the habit of drying some vegetables (carrots, celery and peppers are super easy, as are mushrooms). Add a handful of dried veg to beans and rice, and you have a good, high cal, high carb, hi protein meal for next to nothing.
3. Understand what you’re stocking up on to prevent food fatigue. It’s great having 1000 pounds of beans and rice, but if that’s ALL you have, you’re going to get food fatigue in a hurry. Studies have proven once it sets in, people actually stop eating as much, which starts a bad, downward cycle.
Even being able to throw in an 8oz can of cooked chicken into a pan of rice w some dried carrots can make a huge difference.
4. DO NOT wait until TSHTF to test out your preps. Start stocking up, but start using what you stock, so you know what to do with it. If you stock wheat berries… do you know how to use them? Do you know how to grind your flour? Do you know how to sprout the berries and what to do with them when they sprout?
5. Lastly…. get a pressure canner and learn to can. You’ll be amazed at how much good quality food you can set aside for next to nothing. The initial cost is a little high, but once you buy the jars, they’re reusable for years. I just got started canning this summer, and already have over 75 quarts of beef, pork roast and chicken set aside. Coupled with the grains and legumes, I can feed our family on those alone for many months.
Do it or don’t, but don’t complain when you don’t have it and you need it to survive.

2011-02-06 18:50:03


Great words of advice. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions.

Comment by Dutch Joens
2011-02-09 14:12:44

Great list. we have one similar to this but we front load it with the bulk foods in case you run out of time or funds. We have a 12 month schedule as we live in a rural area and visit the store monthly. Great stuff.


Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2011-02-09 16:01:28

Hey Dutch,

Thanks for the comment. I’d love to see your list, do you have a link to that list on your site?

– Erich

Comment by Jason
2011-03-27 02:30:26

Great way to show money management and long term planning. . . now some of us fat people need to learn how to actually stick to the recommended 2000 and we’ll be set for years to come! Also, another great food that I learned will actually keep forever, not sure if you have mentioned it, is popcorn. Apparently it’ll last forever.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-03-28 23:16:35


Thanks for the tip on popcorn. I didn’t think of that addition.

Comment by Kenny
2011-05-29 16:18:44

I had a computer crash but I am back up again. I wasn’t sure where to post this so here it is.

Beware ! If you order the sample pack you agree the receiving a monthly shipment billed to your credit card. I am still trying to correct this.

Comment by Willow
2011-07-25 21:59:59

No where that I have checked can you purchase 50 lbs of wheat for anything close to 5 dollars. Right now as of this date the average price for 50 lbs of hard wheat is about 50 dollars. I’ve been prepping for a while now and the numbers seem a bit skewed. At Sams Club 10 lbs of sugar (which I just purchased last week) was closer to 7 dollars. 25 lobs of flour for bread and pastries was closer to 10 dollars. No offense, but the list is a good one, however the math is a bit “fuzzy”.

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2011-07-25 23:48:21

Willow, be sure to check out the Mormon canneries in your area. The current price for 50 lbs of wheat is around $15.00. If you’re paying $50, you’re paying too much.

Also, keep in mind that I mentioned that this article is a guideline and the original article(that I reposted) was written when wheat was closer to $5 for 50 lbs.

Good luck with all your preps.

Comment by Betsy
2012-01-12 22:13:25

I was wondering if the wheat from the mormon canneries is seal for long term storage or if it is intended for short term use. I know that can make a big difference in the cost.

I think this is a great list and a great place to start. Even if you aren’t planning on using these items in ten years if tshtf, they are all things you should have on hand for any emergency, or even as part of a healthful diet. If you aren’t already eating beans and whole grains as part of your regular diet you should seriously consider doing so!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-01-15 19:41:25


The wheat from the LDS church (Mormons) is definitely intended for long term storage (30+ years). Just be sure you are packing/storing it correctly (in an air-tight container with some oxygen absorbers placed inside).

Comment by Lisa
2012-03-20 03:05:30

Yes Walmart – near the flour, on the bottom shelf pushed in the back. Especially if you have a Super Walmart. You can also find it online, but then you have to pay for shipping. Here in So. Cal. we have Winco that sells it in 25 pound bags, also the Loma Linda Market sells it. For great prices (like 50ยข each) for cans of food we also have Western Eagle. For free food grade containers with lids, start asking at restaurants, fast food places or the grocery store bakery. They usually toss their lids at the grocery first thing in the morning, so get there early.

Comment by Annie Savidge
2012-04-21 14:05:41

If you have wheat (and a grinder, or flour), fat, water, and salt you can make bread. yeast is a good addition, but not necessary if you learn how to make sourdough start. If you have bread ingredients, you can also make noodles, pita, tortillas, biscuits, pancakes, etc. Wheat is the staff of life after all.

I don’t believe this list was ever meant to be the end-all of food storage, just a good way to get started. I first saw this list in the 70s, so its probably a good deal more than $5.00 a week now, but I’ve been using it for the last couple of years of years as a basis for my food storage shopping and its still a viable option for getting rolling again.

Comment by k
2012-07-10 23:35:27

While we all know prices have increased (this list has been around for a while) you keep a “kitty.” For example, say your first week you get your salt for $3.98, you take the $1.02 and apply it to larger purchases later. By the way, two of my local supermarkets sell 50 lbs of wheat and twice a year it goes on sale for $18.

Comment by Jacob
2012-08-22 13:55:05

Where are you buying 50lbs of wheat for $5?

Comment by Jacob
2012-08-22 14:13:56

Even if you are buying wheat at $18 dollars for 50lbs, that is $180 for the whole year (500lbs.) when your whole budget is $260. That leaves you with $80 for everything else. How does that work?

I’m not trying to be critical, I started using this list a couple of months ago and am a huge believer in both storing food and saving money.

Comment by C
2013-02-08 13:40:34

Great list…a little overwhelming for the clueless…which would be me.
You need a part 2 to this post.
How does one store all this food? Any chance you calculated the space needed to store it? I’d be afraid pest would get into it as well.


Comment by Joe
2013-03-03 19:48:44

Thank you so much! Money is soo tight and getting worse. This gives me some hope that I can head in the right direction.

Comment by Pat
2013-04-01 20:01:05

Oh my goodness, you make it so complicated. Food storage can be very simple. Go to You will save hundreds of dollars. One of the stores that I love in my area is Stop&Shop. They put produce in a reduced sales area. Everything there is the perfect ripeness to dehydrate and vacuum seal. I just did fifty pounds of ripe bananas into chips. Vacuum sealed them, they take as much room as a shoe box and my great grand children will enjoy them. They also had lots of strawberries as it is the strawberry season in FL. I picked up forty packages of strawberries that were perfect for the dehydrator that I paid fifty cents per lb rather than $4 or $5 per lb. Dehydration is the way to go. Once processed and stored there is no other energy needed to keep them forever. I was telling the little old lady that I take care of that I had no need to go to a grocery store for at least five years and she was stunned. Any fruit or veggie you can name, I can dehydrate and store with a shelf life of 25 years. Grow your own and store your own.

Comment by Pat
2013-04-01 20:05:42

Went out this morning as it was finally sort of warm and picked some chickweed. Cooked it up for part of my lunch. Delish! Kind of like spinach and is everywhere. I plan to keep harvesting it. Par boil and freeze or dehydrate. Either way great source of Vitamins and Calcium.

Comment by Emily
2013-11-13 10:40:21

Also, look into vacuum sealers. They are a great way to store up things that you would normally put a O2 absorber in, and you can make the bags as small as you like (for instance, you only use 1c of rice at a time normally, so seal up 1 cup bags of rice from that big 25# bag you bought at the wholesale warehouse)

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-11-13 13:41:37

Thanks for the great tip Emily! Vacuum sealers are a great way to store and keep food for long term.

2013-11-29 21:48:53

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a good paragraph, keep it up.

Comment by BC
2014-06-03 22:26:18

i know this is VERY late, but most grains are available at grain elevators for current stock market prices per bushel. the commodity, is however, most likely, GMO……..hybrid seed. edible, but needs to be thoroughly cleaned and prolly best to have it tested for fungi. corn has Aspergillus flavus, or Afla-toxin associated with it. great price though, current market price is around $5.00/bushel @ 56lbs/bushel.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2014-06-04 21:56:35

Thanks for the info BC.

Comment by Elise Xavier
2014-09-13 18:10:41

I’ve seen this list before – not sure on which site/blog, but I always thought it made such an important point. As you’ve mentioned, you really don’t need much to start a stockpile of food – $5 a week will go a long way if you know how to spend it.

Of course watching sales and buying when prices go way down is also helpful if you’re going to stockpile, but really, you don’t need much to get started.

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