The $5 a Week Shopping Challenge

One 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!

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 9th, 2012
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  • Mike

    So each item on the list is $5, meaning at the end of a 52 week year, you would have all the items on the list and be prepared for how many people?

    • Hi Mike,

      That is entirely dependent on how much you buy and for how many people you are preparing for. The list serves as an example that it is possible to prep on the cheap (so to speak). To get a well-rounded food supply, consider checking our food calculator and it can tell you how much food you need for x amount of people and for x amount of months.

  • Joe Bassett

    If you live in a farming area you can get veggies by the bushel. Raising chickens is very easy and you can raise them from May to September and not even have to feed them. You could just throw them some table scraps.

  • Teresa Madden

    Thank You! I have been searching for this type of list- what I should have on hand AND a shopping breakdown by week that doesn’t break the bank! Once I have recipes for my “emergency stores” , I’ll be all set!.

  • VanMom

    I ordered your book and it arrived last week.  Great addition to my (practical) cooking library!
    I am trying to hint to a few friends that they need to be prepared.  I miss the print-friendly page.   

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