Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are counseled to have three months’ worth of everyday food on hand, and then store more, longer-term storage foods, where possible.  This has typically been defined as a “Year’s Supply”, at least in the last couple generations.  Having food on hand is an invaluable part of being self-reliant.  It’s insurance, if you will, for times of unexpected illness, disability, unemployment, power outages, or for when a neighbor down the street needs a meal.  It’s also handy for sharing with a local food bank.  (Hint, hint: right now their supplies are very low!)

Once you get three months’ worth, how much will a year’s supply of food cost you?  When you look at your monthly grocery bill, is it overwhelming to think of buying more?  I looked an emergency supply store’s catalog; they advertise a basic year’s supply of food for ‘just’ $1,299.99.  For one person.  They list options of up to $3800 per person per year.  Is it really that much money to get a year’s supply?

Adding up all the 7 essentials, purchasing them mostly at the Home Storage Center, a month’s worth of food for one person is $25.31. This provides about 2200 calories a day; the catalog’s has 2000.

A year’s worth for one adult is $303.86. 

(It was $194.76 in 2010.  That’s an increase of 56%.  How’s that compare to your 401(k)? I’m quite sure food will go up more.  It is a great investment!  Wouldn’t you like to eat at last year’s prices?)

Figure in that you’re getting your year’s supply after building your three-month supply; that knocks it down to getting nine months’worth;

$227.90 per adult

SO, if you really want to spend $1299.99 plus tax, you could buy a year’s supply for not just one person, but for FOUR adults.  Yes, it’s different food than the ‘gourmet’ version ($3800), but here’s the counsel we’ve been given:          "We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” “For longer-term needs….gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time  and that you can use to stay alive (from All is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

 If you’re storing food for children, plan on 50% of the amount for age 3 and under, 70% for ages 3-6, 90% for ages 7-10, and 100% for ages 11 and up.  Or store as much as you would for an adult, and have enough to share. 

For great recipes using this stored food, see my Favorite Resources page, under "Cooking and Recipes". 
Here is the cost breakdown:

Grains, 300 lbs- if you get 100 lbs each of wheat , rice, and oats, at the Home Storage Centers they cost between $11.45 and $15.45 for 25 lbs. depending on if you get white or red wheat,  rice, quick- or regular- oats.  If you average this out, it will cost you $13.55  per person, per month.  $162.60 per year’s worth. This category doubled in price from early 2010.  Your daily allotted amount would be about 2 ½ cups of flour, or about the size of a loaf of bread.

Milk, 16 lbs is $1.89/lb at the cannery, which is $2.52 per month, $30.24 per year.  Daily amount is just under ¾ cup of reconstituted milk.  This is enough to cook with, not enough to drink very often.  For instance, making your loaf of bread would/could use up this entire amount.

Sugar, 60 lbs is $ .85/lb there, $4.23 per month, $50.76 per year.  Daily amount is just about 1/3 cup, but keep in mind you’ll probably want to use it to help bottle fruit or make jam, as well as for making your bread or breakfast oatmeal.

Oil, 10 qts –this isn’t sold at the cannery, but the last good sale price I found was $2.50 for 1 ½ quarts (48 oz.) At that price, after tax, it’s $1.43 per month, $17.17 per year.  It’s only $14.38 if you buy it at Sam’s Club ($6.98 + tax for 5 qts.)  .)  Daily amount: about 2 ½ teaspoons; will also be used in making bread. Fat is necessary to help you digest fiber, as well as to access the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Salt, 8 lbs- 4# box at Costco or Sam’s Club is a dollar; $ .16 per month, $2 per year.  Daily amount: about 2 tsp. It never hurts to store extra salt; it is an excellent preservative for meats and more.

Legumes, 60 lbs– the cannery sells black beans, pinto, and white, from $16.00 to $18.55 for 25 lbs.  Averaging the prices, it’s  $3.42 a month, $41.09 per year.  Daily amount: about ½ cup dry, or 1 ½ cups cooked.

In addition to the above, storing some water is an essential part of your home storage.  Plan on 1 gallon per person per day, for 2 weeks (14 days).  This is enough to drink, and not much else. 
Water, 14/gal/person-   You can store this for free by using 2- and 3- liter pop bottles, or juice containers (not milk jugs- they break down).  Or use the 5-gallons square jugs or big blue barrels; they’ll run you about $1 per gallon of storage. 

Total daily food allotment: 1 loaf of bread, 1/3 c. sugar for cooking or preserving, 1 ½ cups of beans, 2 ½ tsp. oil, a little salt, ¾ c. of milk.  You won’t get fat on this, but it will keep you alive.  It also stores in a fairly small amount of space.

When you’re done storing these items, you might decide to add a few ‘gourmet’ items- spices, flavorings,  and unsweetened cocoa are high on my list here, as are non-hybrid garden seeds.  Practice growing them now; you can save seeds from what you grow, for next year’s crop.

Notice that the costs were just for food, not containers to store them in. Most of my storage containers cost nothing.   You CAN get buckets for free, with a little effort- most bakeries give them away; all their frostings and fillings come in those buckets.  Plan on washing them at home.  There are two main sizes; 5 gallon and 2 ½  gallon.  I keep packages of dried fruit in the smaller buckets, also cornmeal or other things that I don’t use as much.  They are a great size for a pantry, too.  Some of the buckets have gaskets, some don’t.  The ones that don’t seal well are still good for storing sugar.

If you want all your wheat, powdered milk, sugar, and legumes in #10 cans from the cannery, it will cost you $86 more to get a full year’s worth, $65 to do 9 months.

I don’t can my wheat, sugar, or beans because we go through large quantities; one batch of bread would use a whole can.  It’s pretty silly storage for me.  Besides, it’s easier for me to find space for 10 buckets than 60 #10 cans; they hold about the same amount of food.



08/18/2011 18:40

I appreciate this breakdown. It enabled me to go to my spreadsheet and see how far along I am on the plan. I buy one case each week when I work at the Home Storage Center, and I'm excited to see that I'm moving along well. I was surprised that one person only needs 14 gallons of water to drink in a year.

08/20/2011 20:18

Im glad it's been helpful. Good for you for working at this a bite at a time!

14 gallons of water is considered the bare minimum for 14 days. I'll update the site to clarify that.

08/23/2011 04:09

This was really, really nice! Thank you!


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