Budget Prepping And Food Storage Ideas

Guest post by Allie

Salt will be a great prepping item to start with because not only can you flavor food with it, it can be used to treat sore throats by adding it to warm water and gargling. Salt and baking soda can make a homemade toothpaste mixing equal parts and shaking.

The next prepping item to keep on a budget is rice. Rice will give you calories for quick energy aka simple sugar so if you’re hypoglycemic make sure to eat with protein. If stored properly can store for 20 + years. If you put rice at the bottom of your salt it will pull moisture out of the salt and absorb it. If you fill a sock or make a pillow you can fill in with rice and use as a heating pad or ice pack by either freezing in the freezer or heating in the microwave. In a shtf you can boil water and drop the bag/sock of rice in for a few minutes and wrap in a towel to use as a heating pad. Remember with injuries to treat with cold or ice first to reduce swelling for the first few days and then heat. If prone to injuries while working/exercising apply heat to increase flexibility before working/exercising.

The next thing on the list is beans. Yes, I know since the 1930s we have taught to be a manly man you must eat meat, well if you can afford it good for you. But beans will provide you protein, fiber, and iron at a fraction of the cost. Not only are beans edible but they are plantable. Remember there was a time seeds were more valuable than gold.

Tang is next on the list, it gives you 100% vitamin C plus, 10% calcium, calories. You can get it relatively cheap like Kroger’s 10 for $10 sales. Roughly 75 containers would be a year’s supply for a family of five if you were having only one glass a day (yeah I know that would be hard to do if your kids love the stuff)

Powdered milk makes an excellent source of calcium – 25% with vitamin D which can be gotten from the sun for free. Powdered milk can be used in desert items like (instant or homemade) pudding. There are recipes out there on how to make cheese from powdered milk. In SHTF with no electric and running out of fuel for your refrigerator, you’ll want nonperishable foods to store and eat.

Cereal, depending on food allergies it can range from rice cereal, hot cereals like oatmeal, or wheat or corn cereals. It adds calories and varies nutrition depending on brand and type. I recommend getting several different types especially the brands your kids love.

Keeping with eating a balanced meal, I recommend only four different types of canned vegetables. All high in vitamin A. They are spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin. And it would be a plus to store pumpkin seeds to plant or eat as a protein rich snack. To eat as a snack flavor with seasoning example Cajun seasoning and bake at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes ~ Hubby says they taste like chips or sunflower seeds.

The last thing I recommend is olive oil. It adds calories but it will get the plumbing going if you are constipated. If you are a pasta lover it can be added to pasta with parsley and parmesan cheese and be a tasty treat.

Doing a pound a day of rice and beans, 2 cups of powdered milk, a serving of cereal, a cup of Tang, and a tablespoon of olive oil will give you roughly 1050 calories a day which is on target for a child 6 or younger and coming up short for adult household members. To make up the difference in calories need you can add a pack or 2 a day per adult. For me personally, I eat about 1050 already, more on days I am really active.

For those that will get overheated in temps over 100 degrees, the budget prepper should get a battery operated hand fan – $1 at the dollar tree and a spray bottle also a $1 and spray water frequently to create artificial sweat and breeze. Good to have on hand to help prevent heat stroke.

Please add your budget prepping advice and recipes in the comments below….


  1. Very good article and tips.

  2. lala land says:

    Salt can be a matter of life and death for some people, especially when there are no hospitals or doctors’ offices. Even though I drink a lot, I can’t sweat for over 15 minutes without my blood pressure starting to drop. It’s scary when your bp drops to 66/33 and you feel like you’re dying. When I feel it start (lightheadedness and extreme tiredness), I get to somewhere cool, eat a teaspoon of salt (yep, as nasty as it sounds) and drink, drink, drink. I’ve tried it without the salt or by eating salty things like chips, but the salt is the only thing that helps. My blood pressure never drops to the level that sent me to the hospital because I now know the signs and treat accordingly. This should absolutely be first on everyone’s list, and I’m glad it’s there.

  3. Good tips.

    When we started there was not a lot of quality advice that I was able to find. Most of it came from people marketing their brand of products.

    We bought mostly #10 cans of prepared meals and fruit. Later as we learned more (and I found I didn’t care for that many of the prepared meals) and as better containers became available locally, we went with more bulk. Beans in bulk we still a challenge as it was actually cheaper to buy 1 pound packages at WalMart than to order bulk. We did, but only a little.

    Now, when I leave town for major trips, I pick up 100 to 200 pounds of beans I can’t get here (I can get pinto and black beans). I get rice from Costco. Bulk wheat and oatmeal is now available locally too.

    Tang is one of the drinks I stock and can get locally or in larger containers at Costco. The same with large containers of brown and poultry gravy.

    What is surprising to me is the number and frequency of “case lot” sales we are having here. Meat sales too. So we have been able to add canned goods to our stockage with a reasonable expectation of being able to resupply it without too much trouble (as they have to be rotated more often).

    With the sales we have been able to dehydrate frozen vegetables more often. Dry pack canning in vacuum sealed jars. Pressure canning some items. Next is canning more meats (we’ve started and are taste testing the results).

    Prepping does not have to be expensive. But if you wait, then the panic starts to set in, things can get expensive quick. Slow and steady, do something every week. You’ll get there!

  4. I too store a lot of beans in both dry storage and in cans for shorter term use. I hope to include more dehydrated veggies to the stash this year. You can be as creative as your family will allow.

    Yeast is another item I store as it keeps well. Salt is very much an essential item. Besides a flavor enhancer it balances out your electrolytes.

    Tang is an awesome thing to have on hand. It breaks up the monotony of water every day. I stockpile vitamins from Puritan.com as they frequently offer great sales. Yes, they diminish their effectiveness over time so I rotate them out as needed. Ladies don’t forget to have cranberry extract on hand for the dreaded UTI’s that can occur.

    Great article! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Phyllis Crubaugh says:

    The four veggies you name are wonderful, but I am wondering why only these 4? Carrots, green beans, potatoes, beets, peas, a variety of beans and sprouts, etc are the variety that both the body and the pallet crave and provide other nutrients as well. My crew would suffer food fatigue very rapidly with such a narrow vision for storage.
    Not just saying this for the sake of argument, but wondering if this is solid nutritionally.

  6. PatrickM says:

    Salt besides being an essential mineral is needed for meat preservation by smoking and drying. 50 # salt blocks are cheap at the feed store and easy to store in little space. An ice pick and a cheap grinder like a Molina type work it up for use fairly quick. Salt has also been part of ancient soldier’s pay and used for currency.

  7. mom of three says:

    I buy salt, in the bulk at a local store.26 cent a pound I have(4) 4 Quart jugs I bought year’s ago from the dollar tree (America made) that I store salt, pinto beans, oatmeal, and Navy Beans. I also keep 5 of those 2 quart glass canning jars, with sugar, macaroni, pinto beans, rice, cream of wheat, easy to get into and they just look nice in my kitchen. Storage, is my biggest issue I have quite a bit of room in my
    cupboards, but not enough for big storage, I do have (4) 25
    pound buckets, and (2) 10 pound buckets for dryed noodle
    products, it seems like a lot but I feel I have enough for 6 month’s 8 if I stretch it out. But I feel good about what I have and any emergency we should be fine for a while.

  8. Allie, are you sure you only eat 1050 calories a day? That is what I consume when I am on a strict weight-loss diet..and it works well to drop five to ten pounds, but I wouldn’t want to eat that little all the time even if I wasn’t doing my usual manual labor farm work. Maybe each person is really different, but that just seems too little caloric intake for an adult. Just checked and for an active woman my age (over 60) I should take in about 2000 calories a day and 1600 if sedentary. In a SHTF situation, we are most likely going to be very active and may need more calories than we are used to consuming, therefore, should plan accordingly.

    • I was also wondering on that. 1 lb of uncooked rice is about 1600 calories and 1 lb of pinto beans is about 1500 calories. At 3100 calories that would be enough for a full grown man that was fairly active.

      • The Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) that I checked gave estimates for various ages and for males and females occupied in sedentary, moderately active and active. The highest caloric requirements were for teens, male and female, and adult males 30 to 50. Yesterday I consumed 1825 calories, which included a half cup of peanuts and iced tea for a snack while watching a movie. That was more calories than my breakfast of oatmeal and milk and small orange! It sneaks up on you…

    • Babycatcher says:

      I’m not Allie, but I consume under 1000 calories a day as well, and if I’m not careful, I end up gaining weight! My metabolism shut down around age 45. I eat healthy, nutritious meals, I just try to net 750 or so. An older adult who is somewhat active really doesn’t need 1200 or more calories daily.

      • I guess we are each more different than what the experts claim to know. Like I said, I lose weight on less than 1200 to a 1000 per day. Would I eventually stop losing and maintain on that? Don’t know. Would my energy level be enough to do manual labor on the farm? Don’t know. Would my hunger be satisfied? Don’t know. Would my life “taste” as good? Nope. Food makes living wonderful. Still…if you are burning calories to provide energy for work or play, you need to replenish those calories and when your body has no extra fuel, it will burn what is available to keep the brain nourished. When we are doing manual labor for everyday surviving, we will be burning a pot-load of calories and we are all going to be lean with little extra fuel on our bodies. I guess THAT is the caloric intake we need to plan for. What is that minimum for active adults and growing children?

  9. BTW…has anybody had experience with the freeze dryers like the kind being promoted on the radio by Ron Paul?

  10. Have a question in the article it says to make up the difference for an adult ad a pack or 2. Sorry to be dense but pack of what?

    • Axelsteve says:

      Salt is something that is imporntant and has been for 5 thousond years or so.I bought a couple of pounds of northern white beans today. What do you do with them,being a californian it is normall
      y pinto beans that people eat here.

      • Gypsydancer says:

        We like Great Northern beans, either dried or canned. They’re bland, non-mealy, and take on the flavor of the dish they’re used in. They’re especially good in curry or chicken chili. They make a decent side dish, too. When I need a fast potluck dish for church or a meeting, I mix 2 regular cans of Great Northern beans and 2 large cans of baked beans. Then after heating the beans, I garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro OR parsley and EITHER crumbled, crisp, cooked bacon OR crumbled, fried cracker crumbs that I reheat while the beans are heating. (I’ve never added both together.) I keep chopped green onions on hand most of the time, and I periodically cook lots of bacon and lots of crackers, then freeze in separate containers for quick use. That’s probably more than you wanted to know about Great Northern beans!

  11. Almost There says:

    There are many good uses for salt. It is also good for getting rid of an infection and it heals the wound. I use it to snort with when getting a sinus infection. Clears it right up and the gunk that comes out, I will spit out so it doesn’t go into my lungs.

    My horse just had a HUGE puncture wound. I got some Epsom salts, put it in water to make a strong concentration, and used a syringe to flush out the wound. The wound was very infected. After 4 days, the swelling is down and there’s no more purulent, puss coming out of the wound. Nice bright red flesh.

    It also draws infection out when used as a poultice. My chiropractor said he had a patient that had very deep puncture wounds on her arm from a dog bite. It had green puss in the wounds, and he instructed her to go straight to the ED. She said no. Three days later, she came back and the puncture wounds were almost closed up, no more infection. She packed them with Epsom salt, like a poultice.

    When I have overextended myself, I use Epsom salt in a warm bathtub and it takes away the soreness. I have also soaked my feet, hands, sprained ankles, mashed fingers and other things that were trying to get infected.

    If I didn’t have Epsom salt, I would use table salt or other salt for the above.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      never heard that about salt, it’s gotta sting putting salt into a wound.

      I just made up a first aid ointment last week with comfree and plantain. Stopped by the health store and they wanted $25.00 for comfree ointment tube. I decided to make my own for a fraction of the price. Then I proceeded to slice my thumb open (bled like a stuck pig) with a wood chisel installing a door in a home. Been using the comfree on it for 2-days and it’s almost healed up. It was easy to make, it took 2-hours start to finish.

      • Almost There says:

        It does stings for a minute, but it’s not bad.

        Comfrey and plantain are great for many things.

        Cayenne Pepper stops bleeding. My mom had a friend that worked in a bakery, he sliced his artery at his wrist, said blood was squirting out, he put Cayenne pepper on it and it stopped the bleeding immediately. My Aunt also used to put it in her shoes to keep her feet warm.