> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Prepping on $40 a Week: Food Storage Week 2



Prepping on $40 a Week: Food Storage Week 2

Tactical beans.
Last week, we recommended picking up a case of white rice, and a few dollars worth of extra canned goods. This week, we're going to complete the traditional rice & beans food storage by adding some beans to our pantry.

Beans come in dried and canned variety. Dried are a lot cheaper, but the prep work is intensive - soaking and then cooking takes 45 minutes to 90 minutes. That's a lot of time, and it's a lot of fuel. If you've got say a woodstove and plenty of wood, not such a big deal. If you're cooking off of a camp stove with a limited supply of propane, it becomes a bigger deal quickly.

Canned beans are a bit pricier, but they are really convenient and18 make using up your beans much easier. Open can, add to dish. We add them to soups, chilis, serve them as a side dish and mash 'em up for refried beans.

We store black and pinto beans. I generally like varieties that come with some kind of seasoning out of the can - they're usually pretty tastey and don't require much extra work to make 'em into a good dish. I wouldn't be afraid to mix up your bean variety - throw in some baked beans, chilis, etc.

Cans cost about .69 to $1.29 or so. Look out for sales and buy cheap brands. If they do have seasoning, I'd try out a can of two before clearing the shelves.

Beans are loaded with protein and fiber, and pretty dense calorically, too. One 10-oz can of black beans, as an example, will have around 420 calories, 18 grams of fiber, 24 grams of protein.

Since we're gunning for a month worth of food for a single person, go ahead and pick up around 30 cans of the beans of your choice. So, depening on the brand and price you'll pay, you're looking at $20 to $30.

Rice and beans have zippo in the way of fats, so you'll want to add some when you cook 'em up. Olive oil is what is usually called for in recipes, and most people already have some in their pantry. If you're low on it, pick up a bottle to keep in reserve. Other oils will do in a pinch as well. Oils need to be rotated around once a year, so it doesn't make sense for most people to stock up a huge quantity.

If you've got extra money left in your $40, go ahead and spend it on some additional canned goods/shelf stable food, to help add some variety and supplement the standy-by rice n' beans. Ramen/cup-o-noodles might not be a great health choice, but they're cheap and they're food. Some bulk quick oats or bisquik can give you a change of pace for breakfasts. Cans of meat, soups, stews, peppers and tomatoes can add some variety, too. If your spice cupboard is lacking, maybe make a few additions - salt, pepper, bullion cubes, bulk spices and sugars are cheap and one can do a lot with 'em.

Our case of rice and a can of beans a day will stretch us over that month that we're looking for - it's  approximately 66,000 calories, or a healthy 33 days worth of 2000 calories a day. Add that onto whatever food you already have at home, plus the supplemental food you've bought this week and last, plus the 3 days of food in your bug out bag, and you're sitting fairly good. In the CONUS, I don't know of anyone in recent history who has been unable to access outisde food for over a month, so it is a pretty good baseline.

Next week, we'll finish off the low-budget one month food supply and move into the last portion, barter goods! Stay tuned. It's been a fun ride and we're almost done.


  1. Great suggestions. Check into dried lentils, as well as the other dried bean types. No presoaking needed, and they'll cook in about the same amount of time as white rice. Tasty, too :)

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  3. FYI on the olive oil you can keep it a lot longer than a year if you freeze it. I buy large jugs of it and keep them in the deep freeze. Of course this will not work after TEOTWAWKI but is a way to store them till you lose electricity.

  4. I followed up some advice about food storage buckets. I was able to pick up 8 food grade buckets (5) gallon. With kids and sealing gaskets for free from my local grocery store bakery. All I had to do was ask. They werehappy to get rid of them. Washes them.up good and they seal up great. Very tight with the huge gasket in the lid.
    Hope this works for others too.

    1. Awesome! I've heard others having success with this before - I think it'll depend on your area, the chain, etc. But free is good!

  5. A pressure cooker will cut your time and fuel usage way down on cooking things like dried beans. But, a pressure cooker's another $40-60 just by its self.

    I make a stew using lentils, V-8 juice and whatever veggies and spices I have around the house. You can very what you put in it quite a bit and it works well using all dried ingredients as well.

  6. 30 days of food is a good goal--if you can't start locating your own food by the 30 day mark you are probably screwed anyways.

  7. Black Eyed Peas! Its true that you'll need a lengthy soak (I usually go overnight) but they cook in about twenty minutes.. not much worse than a noodle and very nutritious! Usually I toss soaked beans right in with the rice. Add any kind of meat, whatever veggies are available, a little seasoning, and you're set!

  8. 3 thoughts - 1. if rice and beans aren't a staple for you currently, try them and experiment now - teotwawki isn't the time to develop 'gastic issues'. 2. Spices, curry powder, hot sauce etc can go a long way to improving meals - cheap and easy to stash with stored food. 3. Food is more than fuel - I keep a couple of treat meals stashed to lift spirits - won't sustain us for a month, but very good when it's short terma and miserable

    1. Great tips! I'm a fan of having what I call an Iron Ration stashed away. A stash of some treats, delicacies for when times get tough. An idea stolen from the classic Alas, Babylon--I think they had some coffee, chocolates, etc. Morale boosters are huge!

  9. Rice and beans form a complete protein when combined. It's one reason why it's a staple for poorer people. It can go a long way to helping you out if you don't have a lot of meat.

  10. AnonymousJuly 01, 2013

    I don't remember if it was here or on another site that I read about storing dry rice and beans in 2 liter soda bottles because they are made from food safe plastics. I've taken that a step further by utilizing smaller food safe plastic bottles. Mostly I use 14 oz salad dressing and BBQ sauce bottles. These are about the perfect size for a single meal of rice, beans, or elbow noodles for about 4 persons. I even pre-pack boulion cubes in the bottle for flavoring. This size also would allow for easier barter or charity supplies while not displaying a large 5 gallon bucket of foodstuffs.

    My neighbors rinse and save bottles fo me which I then thoroughly wash and sterilize with diluted bleach. After they dry, I fill them and label them with simple cooking instructions.

    A simple pre-pack meal example would be a 50-50 mix of rice and lentils with 2 chicken boulion cubes and a small tin of chicken taped to the side of the bottle. Pour the rice/lentils in your pot, add 2 bottles of water and boulion, bring to a boil then allow it to simmer for 15 minutes adding the canned chicken near the end.