Sunday, August 21, 2011

Food Storage for a Family of Two on Five Dollars a Week

A friend of mine gave me this list with a gift of some pantry basics (such as flour and salt) at my bridal shower. I just think this list is so cool, so I thought I would share it with you.

I have provided my personal notes and tips at the very bottom (right below the items and total amounts you will end up with at the end of the year).

This list provides the information needed to create a one-year food storage for a family of two. For every two additional people in your family, add $5.00 more and double the amount of the item you are buying for that week. So, for a family of four, it would be $10.00 a week instead. Still, very reasonable!

Food Storage on Five Dollars a Week
for a Family of Two
January 2007

Week 1--6 lbs salt
Week 2--5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 3--20 lbs 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 and 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 and cheese
Week 32--10 lbs powdered milk
Week 33--1 bottle 500 aspirin
Week 34--5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 35--50 lbs wheat
Week 36--7 boxes macaroni and 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

Some weeks you will have leftover change. Save the change each week to be used for the weeks that you may exceed $5.00. At the end of the year, you will end up with:

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

My personal notes and tips:

  1. One of the things I mentioned in my last blog post (which I consider to be VERY important) is don't stock your food storage with foods you don't like/hate/won't eat! If something happens and you have to rely on your food storage, do you want to be hating life because you are detesting every morsel of food that is going into your mouth? No! So, if you detest canned tuna, replace it with something you WILL eat. Perhaps you would rather have more macaroni and cheese on hand because it is one of your favorite things to eat. Or, mix it up. Maybe you could replace your hated food item for a store-able food favorite that isn't on this list. For instance, you could stock up on Ramen noodles. If you hate cream of mushroom soup, replace it with more cream of chicken soup or cream of celery, asparagus, or potato. Would you get sick of only having macaroni? Get other kinds of pasta for your food storage as well. Be creative! But I must say this, if you don't like wheat, you'd better learn to like it! Ha ha!
  2. Watch for sales. The order of this list isn't set in stone. If there is an amazing sale on pasta, don't wait until the sale is over to stock up on your macaroni! Perhaps your store is having a case-lot sale. You could get your year's worth of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup in one week and save a ton of money! Take advantage of the sales when they happen.
  3. Pay attention to the tastes of your family. I would personally also stock up on chicken broth. I use it in a ton of stuff. Check the grocery store for other options that would work for your family as food storage. Instant potatoes/potato flakes and rice are other good choices for food storage. Canned vegetables, such as corn and green beans are also a good option. So, you can add your favorites in addition to or in lieu of another item. For instance, I don't use 40 cans of tomato soup a year--by itself or in recipes. So, I could buy half that or a quarter of that and swap canned vegetables for the remaining number of cans.
  4. Use a marker or sharpie and write the date you bought each item. Also, highlight, circle, or write the expiration date as well. You can't just buy a year's worth of food storage and let it sit for 10-30 years. The shelf life of each item varies. Some items CAN actually sit for 10-30 years. Others will need to be replaced much sooner than that. The items that need to be replaced should be consumed before they go bad--otherwise it's a waste of money! The purpose of food storage is to provide food for your family to actually eat--in good times and in bad. That's another reason to only buy things that you and your family like to eat.
  5. Rotate your food storage. After you have built your year's worth of food storage, you're going to want to start using it and replacing it. Some things will last longer than others before they expire (such as salt and sugar). Other things will need to be used sooner. So, start using your cream of chicken soup and then replace it with newly bought (and dated) cream of chicken soup which you can then add to your food storage to replace the food you used.
  6. Some items have an amazingly long shelf life. Powdered milk is good for 20 years! Wheat is good for 30 years! Crazy! So, you won't have to replace those items each year (just increase them as your family grows). Check out this link regarding food storage shelf life.
  7. Don't forget to buy necessary food preparation items such as a wheat grinder. It sure would stink to need to use the wheat but have nothing to grind it with and no idea what to do with it once it's ground!
  8. Once you have your wheat, you don't have to worry about buying it again the following year (unless your family has gotten larger and you have more people to buy for). In that case, I would suggest replacing it on the list with all-purpose or wheat flour the following year. Flour is something that everyone uses in everyday cooking. Sure, it's shelf life isn't nearly as long as wheat, but it's more practical for everyday use. If your spouse loses their job, and money for groceries is tight, are you going to want to break out your wheat and wheat grinder or draw upon your stash of flour? I would say most people would prefer using flour.
  9. Create a collection of recipes that you can make using your food storage. Sure, it's great to have all of this stuff, but do you know how to make anything with it? You can purchase a cookbook, such as this one, that contains food storage recipes. Or, you can research recipes online. Here is a good online resource.
Most of these items can be purchased in your grocery store. However, for longer term food storage--the ones that will last 10-30 years (items such as wheat), it might be easier to purchase it from a food storage store or center. Those items would not need to be replaced (except 30 years from now). You can do a Google search and find a ton of places to purchase food storage from. Here is one option.

Here is a list of other long-term food storage options, their shelf-life, and their cost.

It's just a good idea to be prepared! I'm not trying to use scare-tactics or sensationalism (I hate when people do that!). The world isn't going to end tomorrow. But things happen and it's nice to have a plan so that you can provide and care for your family.

I appreciated my friend passing this list on to me. It has a lot of good information that can be used as a basis to create a personal food storage for your family's needs. It's just handy information to have and when it is broken down like this, it makes acquiring a food storage seem much easier to afford and organize. I hope you find this list to be useful too!


  1. I like the idea of that. I have been overwhelmed at the prospect of starting my food storage. Basically right now I have 5 cans of tuna and a package of bean soup. Ha ha! Oh and that mass of 200 servings of mystery food that dad got us for christmas.

    I would probably change it up a little by getting chicken broth (like you mentioned) , dried beans or canned beans, canned tomatoes, and like you said some canned veggies. And I would probably ease up on the mac and cheese because I never eat that stuff. But I definitely like the concept.

  2. The link that talks about the shelf life for long-term food storage mentions that properly packaged dried beans can last up to 30 years. So, it can sit alongside your wheat and be ready whenever you need it.

    But I would for sure swap some of the items (like macaroni and cheese, tuna, tomato soup) for canned tomatoes or beans. I use those way more.

    But yeah, I really liked the concept too. Having it broken down like that makes it seem a whole lot easier to tackle.

  3. That is a great list. I buy different things every week to add to our food storage too and by the end of the year I was amazed how much food I accumulated. It was a sad day for me today as all of my hard work and money had to either be given away or thrown away due to our move. :( It really was hard for me to just give it up, now I have to start all over again! I think you have to definitely adjust the foods to what your family will eat, we have been eating out of our food storage since we found out we were moving so it wouldn't go to waste and it has saved us on our groceries the last 6 weeks!

  4. I think having lived the principles brings the blessings when you live it to the level that you can.

    Shandie, you will receive blessings and be able to build up before you know it.

    You must be feeling so much loss right now. So Sad.

    Sarah, this is a really good concept.

  5. Shandie, I'm proud of you for having built up a food storage for your family. That super stinks that you couldn't take it with you. Your neighbors are lucky people to have benefited from the gift of some of your food storage.

    I guess one of the good things about this food storage plan is that it isn't super costly. It would cost less than $300 for two people. Spread out over the course of a year, at least it won't break the bank--especially if something happens (like in your case) and you don't end up getting to use it.

    And if you don't get to use your food storage for one reason or another, you can follow Shandie's good example by sharing the wealth with others. You're an amazing woman, Shandie! I'm really proud of you for all you are doing.

  6. This is such a useful list for us clueless people, thanks for posting it as well as the pantry one! :)