Shopping Like A Prepper – Learn How

Keeping a good supply of food and water is one of our main goals as preppers. Whenever we buy groceries for our reserves, we must shop smartly and stretch that dollar as much as we can. To make that happen, we need to go shopping like a prepper with a frugal prepper’s mindset.

As a Latino prepper, rice and beans have been our main dish on the table for decades and are cheap and easy to make. The best thing about rice and beans is that it is easy to keep on your reserves. All you need are Mylar bags and brand new buckets with cover. During a crisis, cooking white rice is as simple as boiling it for a few minutes with a pinch of salt and a dab of vegetable oil or lard. The beans are also easy to make, and you can prepare like a stew (onions, peppers, potatoes, salt, and pepper). And there you have a quick, healthy, and delicious meal that will make you feel satisfied. To make things easy, if you need to have some for your Bug-out bag, try dehydrated vegetables in zip-loc bags.

Be A Prepper And Shop Like A Prepper

Years ago, I came up with this “shopping like a prepper” list to help me concentrate on buying only products that will be easy for me to keep in my reserves. But mostly that I didn’t need to spend too much money. This list is more like a formula. When you have a project to build, first, you must put it on paper to visualize it. Second, you need to use equations (e.g., measures, weights, dimensions, etc.) so you know exactly how much material you need without wasting money and time.

This shopping like a prepper list works for all family sizes. You need to learn how it works and adjust accordingly with the number of members in your family. The list can help you buy enough groceries for two weeks for a family of six, or it can last a month for a family of three. Your average spending will be between $70 to $100. It all depends on where you buy it, what brand you buy if you search for coupons or deals. It would be best if you mastered to become a frugal prepper.

Compared this menu with the dehydrated food packages or buckets, here you’re eating a delicious home-cooked meal, real proteins, and real carbs. The only ingredients on this list are; rice, beans, sausages, or tuna and vegetables (all canned). Of course, this estimate does not include seasonings or condiments, but they are cheap when bought in quantities.

shopping like a prepper

Before The Formula

You decide what to buy, after all, it’s your food reserve. I’m just giving you a formula on how to prepare your shopping list. The purpose of this formula is to estimate how much money you need to set aside from your budget for food prepping.

Remember that you need to begin with baby steps. First, buy to stockpile enough groceries for three days. After you reached the three-day goal, then jump to one-week supplies, then two, and after that, work hard to achieve one-month supplies. Many experienced preppers recommend stockpiling enough food supplies for up to three months. I firmly believe that although three months is a lot of food to keep. However, many disaster scenario schemes estimate that a big disaster recovery time can exceed six months of supplies.

When buying the supplies, stay away from junk food. Concentrate on your survival. Stay in the budget, be very diligent, and always stay frugal as much as you can. What do I mean by stay frugal? Staying frugal (economical) means that you’re buying to eat and stay alive. Don’t waste money on picking brand names. So, if you have one can of beans of the famous brand for $.99 and then you have on sale two cans of beans of generic brand for $.99, then make a wise buy by choosing the cheapest generic brand.

The first part needed to know about the shopping like a prepper – “the formula” is, how much are the servings per package, or can. Always look at the back of the product, at the nutritional label where it shows the servings information. From this point, you will continue planning your shopping by the servings, and that’s how you know if you have enough food for three days, one week, or one month. That is shopping, like a prepper.

Here is the formula that I use. It’s straightforward, and use it with any food source. For the grains, you need to know how many cups are in the package and divide it by 2 (e.g., two servings per cup of rice).

Please remember that prices may vary.



  • 3 pounds of rice ($ 1.25) = 6.46 cups = 13 servings = 2 days for a family of 6.
  • Or three days for a family of 4.
  • Or Four days for a family of 3.
  • 10 lbs of rice = ($ 5) = 43 cups = 86 servings = 14 days for a family of 6.
  • Or twenty-one days for a family of 4.
  • Or twenty-eight days for a family of 3.

This formula is for one serving per day per person. It is only for extreme survival to stay alive. You can double the rations to two per day by adding double the groceries.


  • 1 can of beans (15.5onz @ $ 0.79) = 4 servings = You need 11 cans for a family of 6 in a week = $ 8.69.
  • 7 cans for a family of 4 in a week = $ 5.53.
  • 5 cans for a family of 3 in a week = $ 3.95.
  • 45 cans of beans for 30 days for a family of 6 = $ 35.55.
  • 30 cans of beans for 30 days for a family of 4 = $ 23.70.
  • 23 cans of beans for 30 days for a family of 3 = $ 18.17.

Viena Sausages


  • 1 can of Vienna sausages (5onz @ $ 0.69) = 2 servings.
  • You need 21 cans for a family of 6 for a week = $ 14.49.
  • 14 cans for a family of 4 in a week = $ 9.66.
  • 11 cans for a family of 3 in a week = $ 7.59


  • 1 can of canned vegetables (8.75onz @ $ 0.69) = 3.5 servings.
  • Need 12 cans for a family of 6 for a week = $ 8.28.
  • 8 cans for a family of 4 in a week = $ 5.52.
  • 6 cans for a family of 3 one week = $ 4.14

Tuna / Sardines


  • 1 can of tuna (2onz @ $ 0.89) = 2 servings.
  • You need 21 cans for a family of 6 in a week = $ 18.69.
  • 14 cans for a family of 4 in a week = $ 12.46.
  • 11 cans for a family of 3 in a week = $ 9.79


The whole purpose of the formula is to helps us have a close estimate for the groceries needed for the food reserve. Also, it helps to calculate the necessary money to shop. But must of all, it help us know how many days of food we have to survive!!

The Actual Formula

Days x people = servings per person per day ÷ by servings per cans = total purchase x the price per can = total money to spend.

Example: 7 (days) x 6 (people) = 42 (servings) ÷ 4 (servings per cans) = 10.5 (cans to buy) x $ 0.69 (price per can) = $ 7.24.

Buy your groceries wisely; it’s all about shopping like a prepper. Look for what’s on sale, also, always go with the 2 × 1 (BOGO). This way, your wallet will not suffer a significant impact. Purchase necessary items that are easy to prepare and are healthy. Buy canned goods as we know that is the most durable type of food package. Look for cans that are not bruised or misshapen. For those who worry about the expiration date, millions of dollars are thrown away to the garbage by wasting food with expiration dates that are still in excellent shape to eat. So it is really up to you. 

Many studies done in terms of quality and duration of vacuum-packed canned goods show that a product is suitable for consumption even past ten years from the expiration date. A few studies made with canned food as old as 25 years, were tested and found that all the food was safe. Although its nutritional value and appearance have decreased in quality, again, it safe for human use.

I hope this article helps you prepare your survival reserves and supplies. 

Always Prepared

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