Feed a family of 4 for 1 year, for less than $300

Posted By on October 31, 2014

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You are out of excuses!

This plan is THE fastest, cheapest and easiest way to start a food storage program. You are done in a weekend. AND there are no hassles with rotating. Pack it and forget. It’s space efficient – everything is consolidated into a few 5-gallon buckets. You’ll sleep content in knowing that you have a one-year food supply on hand for your family should you ever need.

With the exception of dairy and Vitamin B12, this bean soup recipe will fulfill all your basic nutritional needs. It won’t fill all of your wants, but using this as your starting point, you can add the stuff that you want.

All of the food and storing supplies listed below plus 2 55-gallon recycled barrels to be used for rain catchment cost me $296, including taxes. I purchased rice, bouillon and salt from SAM’s Club. You can buy small bags of barley at the grocery, but if you don’t mind waiting a few days, special ordering a bulk bag from Whole Foods was cheaper. All of the beans I purchased from Kroger’s in 1-lb bags. Buckets, lids, Mylar bags and rain barrels were from the Lexington Container Company. Their prices are so good, with such a great selection that it’s worth a drive even if you are not in the local area. I went on a second-Saturday of the month because that’s when they host free food storage courses taught by Suzanne, an energetic, delight of prepping wisdom.


What you need:

8 5-gallon buckets

8 large Mylar bags

8 2,000 cc oxygen absorbers

8 gamma lids

A handful of bay leaves

90 lbs. of white rice

22 lbs. of kidney beans

22 lbs. of barley

22 lbs. of yellow lentils

5.5 lbs. of split green peas

5.5 lbs. of garbanzo beans

1 lb. of salt

A big box of beef and chicken bouillon.

A measuring cup

What you’ll do

Install the gamma lids on the bucket and insert Mylar bags. Place 2 or 3 bay leaves in the bottom and fill the buckets, adding more bay leaves after each 1/3 to full. Place an oxygen absorber in the top. Label buckets with the contents and date.


3 buckets with rice (shake it down good. Get it all in there!)
1 bucket each of kidney beans, barley, and yellow lentils
In 1 bucket store the split green peas, garbanzo beans, salt, measuring cup and bouillon. (I removed the bouillon from the box and vacuum sealed it as bouillon contains a small amount of oil.)
Yep, that’s a total of 7 buckets, so far.


I place a broom handle across the bucket and wrap the ends of the Mylar bag over the broom handle to give me some support. Then slowly and smoothly run a hot iron over the Mylar bag to seal all except the last 2 inches. Then I press out as much air as possible before sealing the remaining 2 inches. Make sure your Mylar is completely sealed from end to end. Now, stuff the bag into the bucket and rotate the gamma lid into place. This will protect your food for about 25 years. You’ll have excess Mylar bag at the top. Don’t cut it off, that way if you have to cut it open to get into it, you have enough bag remaining to reseal.

Where you’ll put it

It’s pretty easy to find a place for 7 to 8 5-gallon buckets even in the smallest of apartments. Discard the box springs and lay the kid’s mattress on top of the buckets, line the back of a large closet with the buckets. I made a couch-table by stacking buckets two high between the couch and the wall. The buckets are about 6” taller than the back of the couch. Add a shelf and drape and it looks fine; a convenient place for a lamp and books. Get creative.

Making your bean soup
Measure out
· 8 oz of rice
· 2 oz of red kidney beans
· 2 oz of pearl barley
· 2 oz of lintels
· 1 oz of split green peas
· 1 oz of chick peas/garbanzo’s

Add 6-7 quarts of water. Add bouillon or salt to taste. Then add any other meats, vegetables, potatoes or seasonings you have on hand. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for two hours. You should have enough to feed 4 people for two days. This is thick and hearty. You will be warm on the inside and full with one large bowl. Kids usually eat half a bowl.

When the emergency is over

This system allows you to open the Mylar bags, retrieve as much of the ingredients as is needed and then reseal everything after the emergency has passed. Just be sure to replace the ingredients used so that you always have a one-year supply.

The 8th bucket – other stuff I would want

This list isn’t included in the $300. This falls into the “what I want” category. As money and resources became available, I’d just go crazy adding all of my indulgences, starting with coffee! You can add what you want, but I’d fill it with:

Dry onion. Let’s face it, what’s bean soup without onion! Sprinkle on the onions just before serving.
“Just add water” cornbread mix packets. I just can’t eat bean soup without cornbread.
Beef jerky and Vienna sausages. Add protein and zest to the bean soup
Instant oatmeal. Do you really want bean soup for breakfast? Freeze the oatmeal for 3 days before packing to kill any bugs.
10 lbs of jellybeans. Now, don’t laugh – it’s a bean. Jellybeans don’t melt like chocolate might. The high sugar content is quick energy, and a morale booster – with just enough of a high to help you over the really bad days. Easter is about here – stock up!

Before you fill the 8th bucket

Buy small bags of the ingredients and fix a big pot of bean soup for dinner. Eat the leftovers the second night, and 3rd night, until it’s all gone. Find out now – rather than later – what your family might like to add to it. Anything tastes great the first meal, but quickly becomes boring after the 3rd or 4th repeat. Don’t wait until the emergency happens to discover what you SHOULD have stored in your 8th bucket. … Maybe some Beano!



by Rich, Around The Cabin

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