5 Steps to Practical Food Storage Under $50!


Food, along with water and shelter, are the basic necessities for humans. If you’ve read other articles on our site, you know how important these 3 needs are in emergency / survival or non-emergency situations. Storing at least 1 weeks’ worth of food should be the bare minimum for any household, and those with families shouldn’t have to think twice about whether or not to make this happen. But there’s a lot of information about how to store food, what kinds of foods to store, etc. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and end up talking yourself out of being prepared and having any surplus food at all!  This article will provide explicit, step by step, information about how you start your own strategic food surplus with under $50. Once you’ve worked your way up to 7 days worth of food to sustain caloric needs for each individual you’re preparing for, you can decide to stop adding to it or continue investing in your own strategic food store.

Keep in mind, this post focuses strictly on dry food storage of primarily grains and beans for simplicities sake. The foods listed in example need only to be boiled with water to be cooked and can provide considerable nutritional benefits. If you take an interest once you actually begin to store some food up, feel free to share your experience so that others may benefit from your knowledge.

Temperature Considerations

As a general rule of thumb, colder temperatures are better than hotter temperatures when it comes to storing food. If you have a basement, use it to store your food. Designate a specific area, room, closet, etc., space where you live as your food storage zone. Each 5-gallon bucket can store anywhere from 20-30 lbs of food depending on what you’re storing, how tight you pack it, etc. Make sure you keep a fire extinguisher near your designated storage area as well as a fire alarm if there’s not one nearby. This step isn’t required, but it’s an inexpensive, practical way to mitigate one of your food insurance policies greatest risks – fire.

Broken Down

  1. The food will be stored in 5-gallon buckets. The buckets will be constructed with a FDA approved food grade resin composite. These buckets run anywhere from $5-$20+ depending on where you get them. Cost decreases if purchased in bulk. As long as you double check the specs to ensure they’re food safe, the only real difference is thickness of the bucket.
  2. The buckets will be sealed with Gamma Seal Lids. They will run anywhere from $5-$20+ as well. Cost decreases if purchased in bulk. These lids are also safe to use with food, they will make the 5-gallon bucket(s) airtight, and waterproof/leak proof.
  3. Mylar bags will be used to place the food in. The food filled Mylar bags will eventually be sealed inside the 5-gallon bucket. Mylar bags run anywhere from $1.50-$5+ depending on where you get them. Cost decreases if purchased in bulk.
  4. Finally, you’ll want to purchase oxygen absorbers. Oxygen absorbers are generally sold in packs. A 10 pack (that’s enough for 10 x 5-gallon buckets) oxygen absorbers will run anywhere $10-$15 depending on where you get them. Cost decreases if purchased in bulk.  Be sure to read the instructions with whatever brand/type of oxygen absorbers you end up with as they recommend certain use and storage instructions to ensure product quality.
  5. Once you have the required materials it’s time to decide what kind of food or foods to store in each bucket. The most efficient strategy when planning what kinds of foods to store is to package multiple food types in individual Ziploc/Mylar bags and then pack those inside the main 5-gallon Mylar bag. The advantage of this strategy as opposed to filling whole buckets with a specific food type is in the even one of your buckets is lost, stolen, destroyed, etc,. it’s not a total loss.

Keep in mind the main considerations of deciding what foods to stock. These are generally prioritized by: cost, shelf life, nutritional value. The following tool is helpful in finding nutritional values when planning on what food to store up. Simply type your query and press enter.


So there you go, a short, to the point guide to show you how easy and practical it is to be prepared and store some extra food. Using the above outlined method, you can store certain food types for several years. This is just one of several methods of storing food. Other examples include dehydrating, freeze drying, etc., and will be covered in other posts. If you’ve never thought about having extra food on hand consider what would happen in the event that food supplies were disrupted in your region. It doesn’t have to be an extreme example of terrorist attack or civil disturbance; it can be as simple as a winter storm, flooding, food contamination outbreak, etc. If you take a few minutes of time and budget a small amount of money for it, you can ensure you and your family is prepared should something happen. If you’re don’t know what kinds of food to start with here’s a basic example list to help you out:

-Beans, there’s many different types of beans, all with wide ranging taste, nutritional values, cost, shelf life, etc. This is an excellent starting point of foods to look into.

– Rice, like beans, there’s a wide range of rice varieties to explore. Rice is also inexpensive, has a good shelf life, strong nutritional value, and is widely available throughout most the world.

– Grains, if you’re not a fan or beans or rice, check out the multitude of grains that are widely available. Examples of different types of grains include amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, farro, flaxseed, etc.

3 thoughts on “5 Steps to Practical Food Storage Under $50!

  1. @ Kang: Thanks for asking, both are great questions. We choose not to use non-food buckets mainly because of the potential health risks. Although BPA is a legitimate concern, there’s also the risk of the bucket containing other chemicals and/or byproducts that you wouldn’t want to store with food – even if the food is bagged (such as Mylar or a comparable material). This risk is compounded if the individual is getting the buckets used (to drive down costs as these can easily be obtained for a steep discount if not for free). When an individual has already invested the time/money into getting the food and keeping it for the purpose of long term storage, it’s worth paying a few more bucks to ensure that if the time comes that you need the food, there will be no questions as to its edibility/safety.

    As for your second question, we agree that it’s not 100% necessary to use the gamma seal lids, but in our opinion and experience, they’re the convenient option to ensure the safety of your foods long term storage. The main advantage of using the gamma seal lid system is convenience. Hopefully this answers your question, if not feel free to contact us.

  2. Also, why gamma seal lids? These are the removable, twist on/off lids, right? Regular lids should have a gasket seal on them already, and you are (I assume) sealing the inner mylar bag, so I don’t really see the point in a gamma lid? What am I missing?

  3. Question: Mylar bags are supposedly light-, water-, and, most importantly, air-tight. Assuming that is the case, why the need for food grade buckets? If the threat of a non-food grade bucket is BPA leeching (or whatever the acronym de jour is), shouldn’t the mylar bag stop those compounds from entering the food?

    Thanks in advance

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