Prepping on the Cheap: The $5 a Week Shopping Challenge

1One of the biggest excuses that people make for not prepping is that they can’t afford it.  “I can’t even afford the groceries we eat every week as it is!” they complain when urged to start buying extra food.

This week I made a trip to three different stores.  I went to Wal-Mart, the dollar store and a grocery store. Not to locate the best prices but to locate the regular prices on common food items that might find their way into a prepper’s pantry.  The following list is not based on mega-markdown loss leaders – it is based on the normal price and availability.


Here are 52 stock-ups – one for each week!

  • 15 packs of Ramen Noodles
  • 6 cans of  mixed vegetables
  • 5 cans of fruit
  • 6 cans of tuna
  • 4 cans of spaghetti sauce
  • 5 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 4 pounds of rice
  • 3 pounds of kidney beans
  • 5 cans of kidney beans
  • 10 cans of baked beans
  • 3 cans of chilli
  • 12 cans of generic condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 12 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 4 pounds of white sugar
  • 10 boxes of iodized salt
  • 6 bags of dry pasta
  • 2 jumbo boxes of raisins
  • 1 pound jar of honey
  • 2 cartons of molasses
  • 15 boxes of baking soda
  •  5 jars of spices
  •  48 bottles of water
  • 5 cans of apple juice
  • 2 jars of peanut butter
  • 10 boxes of macaroni and cheese
  •  3 cans of flaked ham
  •  3 cans of flaked turkey
  • 4 cans of flaked chicken
  • 1 canned ham
  • 3 bottles of barbecue sauce
  • 500 tea bags
  • 120 herbal tea bags
  • 1 large canister of iced tea mix
  • 50 packs of generic cool-aid mix
  • 10 boxes of instant pudding
  • 20 boxes of gelatin mix
  • 10 cans of corn
  •  3 cans of beef stew
  •  5 bags of dehydrated onion flakes
  •  5 bags of garlic powder
  • 10 packets of gravy mix
  • 2 cans of spam
  • 10 cans of Vienna sausages
  • 2 bags of beef jerky
  • 5 pound bag of flour
  • 3 pound bag of cornmeal
  • 4 pounds of dried black-eyed peas
  • 3 jars of sauerkraut
  • 3 pounds of steel cut oats
  • 2 pounds of powdered milk
  • 3 pounds of brown sugar
  • 30 bouillon cubes

These items might not make the tastiest meals, but they will stand between your family and starvation.  Keep in mind that by shopping wisely you can get far more than this for $5 per week.

Print off this list for the next time someone tells you they can’t afford to prep!


Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at

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