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

Feed a family

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


Would you like to know how the first settlers preserved their food?

Then you really need this amazing book. It is called The Lost Ways and it contains all the knowledge of our forefathers.

Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find in The Lost Ways:

From Ruff Simons, an old west history expert and former deputy, you’ll learn the techniques and methods used by the wise sheriffs from the frontiers to defend an entire village despite being outnumbered and outgunned by gangs of robbers and bandits, and how you can use their wisdom to defend your home against looters when you’ll be surrounded.

Native American ERIK BAINBRIDGE – who took part in the reconstruction of the native village of Kule Loklo in California, will show you how Native Americans build the subterranean roundhouse, an underground house that today will serve you as a storm shelter, a perfectly camouflaged hideout, or a bunker. It can easily shelter three to four families, so how will you feel if, when all hell breaks loose, you’ll be able to call all your loved ones and offer them guidance and shelter? Besides that, the subterranean roundhouse makes an awesome root cellar where you can keep all your food and water reserves year-round.

From Shannon Azares you’ll learn how sailors from the XVII century preserved water in their ships for months on end, even years and how you can use this method to preserve clean water for your family cost-free.

Mike Searson – who is a Firearm and Old West history expert – will show you what to do when there is no more ammo to be had, how people who wandered the West managed to hunt eight deer with six bullets, and why their supply of ammo never ran out. Remember the panic buying in the first half of 2013? That was nothing compared to what’s going to precede the collapse.

From Susan Morrow, an ex-science teacher and chemist, you’ll master “The Art of Poultice.” She says, “If you really explore the ingredients from which our forefathers made poultices, you’ll be totally surprised by the similarities with modern medicines.” Well…how would you feel in a crisis to be the only one from the group knowledgeable about this lost skill? When there are no more antibiotics, people will turn to you to save their ill children’s lives.

And believe it or not, this is not all…

Table Of Contents:
Making Your Own Beverages: Beer to Stronger Stuff
Ginger Beer: Making Soda the Old Fashioned Way
How North American Indians and Early Pioneers Made Pemmican
Spycraft: Military Correspondence During The 1700’s to 1900’s
Wild West Guns for SHTF and a Guide to Rolling Your Own Ammo
How Our Forefathers Built Their Sawmills, Grain Mills,and Stamping Mills
How Our Ancestors Made Herbal Poultice to Heal Their Wounds
What Our Ancestors Were Foraging For? or How to Wildcraft Your Table
How Our Ancestors Navigated Without Using a GPS System
How Our Forefathers Made Knives
How Our Forefathers Made Snow shoes for Survival
How North California Native Americans Built Their Semi-subterranean Roundhouses
Our Ancestors’Guide to Root Cellars
Good Old Fashioned Cooking on an Open Flame
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Preserve Water
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Take Care of Our Hygiene When There Isn’t Anything to Buy
How and Why I Prefer to Make Soap with Modern Ingredients
Temporarily Installing a Wood-Burning Stove during Emergencies
Making Traditional and Survival Bark Bread…….
Trapping in Winter for Beaver and Muskrat Just like Our Forefathers Did
How to Make a Smokehouse and Smoke Fish
Survival Lessons From The Donner Party

Get your paperback copy HERE

15 Replies to “Feed a family of 4 for 1 year, for less than $300

  1. 721753 162187Superb post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte much more on this subject? Id be quite thankful should you could elaborate a little bit a lot more. Thanks! 800947

  2. Pretty well written but that would NEVER work for most families. I get the 8th bucket is for whatever but unless people are used to eating beans EVERY day, their stomachs will be torn up! The title is misleadinng as it contains no fruits or veggies or calcium, which will lead to severe malnutrition to people who really do follow this “diet”. Just my humble opinion…this just isn’t practical. But … If I have the wherewwithall and means and opportunity to stock up 8 plastic buckets, I would add variety into it, keeping in mind that peanut butter powder has protein, as do powdered eggs and almost every vegetable. I just think an article like this will convince people that’s all they have to do, then when the time comes to use it, it will be a disaster Too many people spent $5 for a single cup of coffee instead of saving a week’s worth for a single container of powdered peanut butter, or two weeks worth for a container of powdered eggs or 2 #10 cans of freeze-dried veggies. As a aside… while it’s a good idea to stockpile, remember to take the time NOW to learn how to grow your food.

  3. I need your help. I’m not a cook. Is the oz. measurement for volume or weight? Please reply to my email. Thanks.

  4. Is it necessary to use the gamma lids, or will regular plastic lids be okay? Also, do I have to add bay leaves? I plan on sealing the mylar bags of food, then storing the buckets in the closet under my basement steps.

  5. HI for the soup mix recipe, I noticed that the beans were not soaked in water for a day or 2 and drained. Do you think it’s not necessary to follow that step I usually hear about dried beans?

    Thank you.

    1. I’m planning on using the “quick soak” method for the kidney beans and chick peas. (The others don’t need pre-soaking.) Cover with water, bring it to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let soak for an hour.
      At that point you can just add in the remaining ingredients and water to bring you up to 6 quarts, and cook for the 2 hours.
      Even if you do use the long soak method, it’s not days involved – just cover with cold water, let sit for 6-8 hours, and you’re ready to cook. You could set that up the night before and let them soak while you sleep.

  6. Hi,

    Have you ever heard of diatomaceous earth? You can mix it with food and it literally shreds any bugs. Just be sure to buy the kind labelled food grade. It is a good source of silica so it will help build your hair, skin and nails (when ingested). Also, you can use it around the house to kill all sorts of pests.

  7. Pool shock for the 8th bucket. Purifying drinking water is going to be very important too.just Google “purifying water with pool shock”.

  8. Thank you for the well written and helpful article. This is the first emergency preparedness article on food storage I’ve read that hasn’t been overwhelming. I know I can take on this project with success. Oh, and I have a cat. Excellent suggestions Step and Tsandi on the cat and its food 😉

  9. Is there any reason not to “make the soup” mix in each bucket rather than rice in one etc? So you can open just one bucket at a time and scoop out a serving amount?

    1. Chantel,
      I realize this is very late, but the reason you don’t pre-mix the beans and just scoop out the amount for that night is that there is a huge difference in size between the different beans and the rice. Pre-mixing it would cause all of the very small items (rice, split peas, lentils, barley) to sift to the bottom, leaving only the big chick peas and kidney beans on the top.
      Then you also wouldn’t be able to get the amounts correct, unless you wanted to sit there sifting the ingredients apart until you were sure you had just 2oz of barley.

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