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How To Stock An Emergency Food Pantry For Less Than $60

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Do you have enough food for an unexpected snowstorm? Are you ready for a natural catastrophe? If not, now is the time to start. FEMA recommends that you have at least 3 days’ worth of food and water stored. But that is not enough, because in a crisis it may take weeks to get the food back on the grocery store shelves and for power to be restored.

For less than $60, you can feed a family of two adults and two children for 30 days.

Sound impossible? It’s not! With just a few ingredients and two easy recipes, you and your family can survive a disaster.

7 Foods For Survival

Here’s what you’ll need to get:

  1. 10 lbs. of cornmeal
  2. 20 lbs. of white rice
  3. 16 lbs. of dried mixed beans
  4. 2 lbs. of granulated chicken flavored bouillon
  5. 1 gallon of pancake syrup (or honey)
  6. 1 lb. of salt
  7. 2 lbs. of vegetable oil

A few weeks ago I bought most of these items at Walmart and Sprouts, and it cost me less than $60 for everything. I found 20 pounds of white rice at Walmart for only $8, and Sprouts had a sale on dried, mixed beans for less than $1 per pound. And I also got a gallon of pancake syrup from Walmart for only $8 because it’s much cheaper than honey. But if you don’t mind spending more money, honey will be more nutritious and will usually last indefinitely.

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Rice and beans will last the longest when stored in food grade enamel-lined buckets with a Mylar lining that will provide an airtight environment. It also helps to add a few crushed bay leaves. To store cornmeal, put it in the freezer for a few days to kill any bugs. Then store it in a bucket with Mylar lining. And don’t forget to use oxygen absorbers, too. Grains stored this way should last anywhere between 20-30 years!

Cornmeal Mush

Want a warm, filling and inexpensive breakfast? Try cornmeal mush. This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. And of all the breakfast foods that you can buy, this one is the cheapest.


1 cup cornmeal

1 cup cold water

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups hot water

survival pantryDirections: Combine the cornmeal and cold tap water in a bowl to keep it from getting lumpy. Meanwhile, in a pan, combine the salt and hot water. Bring it to a boil over high heat. While the water is heating, add the cornmeal mixed with the cold water. When the water and cornmeal boil, reduce the heat to low. Allow the mush to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it is nicely thickened.

Spoon mush into bowls and serve with pancake syrup or honey, if desired. Don’t forget to set aside the leftovers to go with lunch and dinner! To fry, pour mixture into a loaf pan and chill completely. Remove from pan, slice and fry in a small amount of oil over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Fried cornbread tastes great with soup!

Survivor Soup

Rice and beans are a survival staple. After all, they’re cheap and provide carbohydrates and protein. This soup is very hearty and filling. It costs just pennies to make, and it will give you enough energy to sustain you during a difficult time.


1 cup of rice

2 cups of dried, mixed beans

1 tablespoon chili powder (optional)

1 tablespoon cumin (optional)

Bouillon (season to taste)

Directions: Add first six ingredients to a large kettle. Pour two quarts of water. Add bouillon to taste, chili powder, and cumin (if using). Bring to a boil and simmer for two hours. This soup is thick and hearty, and should be enough to feed four people for lunch and dinner.   

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Although this soup is often bland by itself, it’s easy to add more ingredients. I usually add two cans of tomatoes, one diced onion, three diced carrots, two diced celery stalks, and two diced potatoes. It tastes great with canned chicken, ham and Vienna sausages for extra protein. And it makes a great meal when served with fried cornmeal mush.

I also like to top it with one of the following toppings:

  • Sirachi sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Jalapenos
  • Tortilla chips

Other Survival Supplies

Cornmeal mush for breakfast and “survival soup” for lunch and dinner will help to provide enough food to feed your family for 30 days. I also recommend that you stock up on canned fruit and canned vegetables to supplement your diet. To help with any vitamin deficiencies, make sure that you have enough multivitamins for each person in your family. And make sure that you have some extra prescription medicine set aside, as well as pet food to take care of any animals.

Don’t forget to have plenty of water set aside. You’ll need at least 120 gallons for a family of four for 30 days. One of the cheapest ways to store water is to purchase a bladder that you can use in your bathtub.

If you have a fireplace, it’s also a good idea to have plenty of firewood set aside to heat your house and cook your food. But if you don’t have a fireplace, you can purchase a small gas burner and have plenty of propane to cook meals.

During times of economic uncertainty, it’s essential to be prepared. And if you buy these 7 foods for survival, you’ll be much more prepared in case of an emergency.

God’s Word shows us the importance of planning ahead. Proverbs 27:12 says:A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

What food items would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

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  1. I would add 50 lbs of potatoes and 25lbs of flour. Sugar would be a nice addition if you can’ afford honey.

    • I like to bake bread… BUT I buy Montana wheat berries 50# bags Prairie Gold & Bronze Chief – that I buy at an Amish store…

  2. a kids swimming pool set up in your garage or basement makes a great storage for a couple thousand gallons of water. cheap and efficient. a couple cupfuls of Clorox makes it palatable.
    if flour is to be kept, freeze it for a week to break all the bug eggs, then store it in a sealed bucket. bay leaves keep the moths away.

    • Be careful adding bleach. You could add too much. If your water was from the tap it may already be treated. check out the proper ratios. I would tell you but I want you to look it up. Research will add more than you think. Almost any water can be used to refill the toilet. don’t forget only on flush per day per person if you have a limited supply. 2-5 gallons per flush.

    • You can also can water, I know in an emergency thats not going to happen, but if you are a prepper, and want to do your own thing, canning is an option, bleach sounds dangerous to me, better than death by dehydration. Personally I have lifestraws in my stash.

  3. We added Dried Eggs,Kombu (Seaweed,for soups and animal kibble), Salt Pork, Dried Onions,Chili Powder,dried Garlic,Coffee, Instant dried Soups,Flour,baking Powder and Yeast for Flatbread making, Crackers,Oatmeal,Pastas and dried Fruit Juices,also powdered 100% Milk-and lots more Crisco type Oil.

  4. My wife and I bought a food dehydrator. We have been dehydrating our canned food that is close to expiration plus we have been dehydrating our frozen vegetables and fruits. We put these in jars and use our sealer to suck the air out and now they could last for years if needed. A lot of our canned foods are chili, corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers and more. We are also sealing up dry beans and rice and we are making up meals that we just add water, let sit for a while and then heat. What is not in jars we have in sealed bags and those are stored in buckets w/ lids. You can find buckets cheap on craigslist. Papawpaul, I like your idea about a kids swimming pool, hope you have a cover over it. If you get a Berkey water filter system it could really filter out any thing that flies or crawls into it. Stay prepared my friends.

  5. I have all of these things and more in my storage. I have added oatmeal and wheat to mine. I don’t see the point of flour can’t see it storing very well and even so for what? Bread would be a luxury in a survival situation. If I need flower I’ll just grind the wheat into flour with my hand meal. Canning a must if you want meat and fresh veggies. Other than that can’t go wrong with carbs to stay alive

  6. I’ve just started stockpiling my own food. This article was a good start to help me along.

  7. Don’t forget convenient canned foods. Expensive compared to dry goods but it is too convenient NOT to have. Recommend chili and hearty soups supplement with rice in bags. Cut you work in HALF not to mention canned goods keep food safe the best and cheapest way.

  8. I’ve been slowly stocking up on survival food but now that Obama is doing what ever he wants to do, I’ve speeded up my process.

    “Roughly” ten years ago I begin talking to people about stocking up on survival food and any other survival equipment they could think of. They thought I was crazy to be talking this way. Well, with what’s going on in the World today, these same people are now doing what I recommended and they too are tell other people to do the same.

    Lots of good info in this article. One thing to be very careful of is the online companies that are selling the old WWII C-Rations and the military MRE’s. I thought I’d try a case of the MRE’s, ordered one and there was absolutely no experiation date stamped any where on the box or the MRE’s. I trashed those. If you only have a wood stove that is located in your shop, stock up on all the wood you can. You not only have the stove for heat but also can cook on it. Also, just because a food item has an experation date on it does not mean you should immediately throw it away. Same goes with prescription medications. Google for info on expired food dates and check with your local pharmacy to see how long you can keep your medication.

    • I just stock up on the chemical components needed to be processed in the body, much like the food supplement soylent only my own concoction. It’s cheap and easy to make your own powder just buying in bulk a lot of stuff from amazon. I have the equivalent of 90 days worth of meals from a mixture of powdered chemicals the body is required to have, It’s the basic chemicals your body breaks food down into, and found in all foods. I obtain 100% of the vitamins and minerals from the powder, and only need to mix it with some water to eat it.

      In this manner I can actually stockpile more food than most people could think to, in addition I’ve already been living off this powdery drink on and off for a month and a few weeks at a time not having to eat anything solid. I would stock up on these chemicals that never expire (so long as they are kept dry) if you don’t have time to stock other stuff, because if people raid a bug out place sure they’ll take the food, but they’ll over look the totes full of powder once they find out it’s not cocaine.

  9. Definitely include rolled oats. You can add to soup to make it very hearty. Also make pan cookies that will raise everyone’s spirits. Make sure you have the spices and condiments that will enable you to use the limited ingredients in your stockpile in different ways to avoid feeling like you’re eating the same thing every day. I agree that you should have some canned food for variety. You can make awesome tuna cakes with the oats, and a can of “no bean” chili over spiced fried cornmeal would be a treat.

  10. Another prepper gave me this reciepe and I have done this and its in the pantry food storage $300.00
    and it will feed a family of four-
    22-1#bags kidney beans
    2-11#of barley
    2-11#yellow lentiles
    1-6#bag of green peas and 30#of beef 0r chicken boulion I got 15# each you can add onions and
    meat and vegies to your soup- my wife does home canning -for all new preppers this would be and is
    a great start fo ryour pantry- and definitely the rolled oats –

  11. Don’t forget powdered milk, either cow or goat. Especially if you have kids. You can just mix in a teaspoon or tablespoon, according to your taste, into a cup of water and you’ll have milk!

  12. Be sure to check pancake syrup before you buy.
    It could be HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. BAD Stuff.

  13. One thing to remember is that you do not need to buy everything all at once. If, you are like me, on a limited budget of less than 200 $ a month in Food Stamps you can buy things that your family will eat a little at a time. You do not need to buy from Survival companies you can buy item from the grocery; you just need to rotate your stock on a regular schedule. I always keep 10-12 gallons of water on hand, using washed & bleached milk and juice containers. Also, some other items that I repackage into plastic or glass bottles are dry goods, like sugar, salt, oatmeal, flour, raisins, rice and beans. Also, I put baking soda box in a plastic bag to stay dry.

  14. I’d add peanut butter, chocolate and booze. (the chocolate and booze can be used for trade if nothing else, in a worse case scenario liquor can sterlize and kill pain). Peanut butter is just good, and good for you. Canned fruits and veggies should be added too, the beans and rice could get really old, really fast.

  15. Don’t forget the water heater will have 60-80 gal. of drinkable water in it.

  16. i didn’t see much on here about pasta? any thoughts good bad ?

  17. Only thing I can add is food for your pets. For most of us, our pets are like our kids, they depend on us for food, so make sure you stock away stuff for them too.

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