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Cheap Food Storage - The What and How of Food Prepping on a Budget

Cheap Food Storage - The What and How of Food Prepping on a Budget

Food storage can seem pretty daunting at times. Especially looking at some of the prices for food storage options. I’ve been off on my own at college for a couple of years now, so when quarantine hit concerning COVID-19, I had no food storage or anything on hand. I never thought I had enough money or space to build my food storage in college, but I discovered that food storage doesn’t have to take much room and it doesn’t cost much if you do a little research.
After doing my own research, I’ve discovered some of the best hacks and items to get for cheap when building your food storage on a budget! The following are a few foods that are great for food storage as well as extremely cheap!

Inexpensive Food Storage Items


Baking Soda

  • Versatile and cheap. This is a great item to have around for both cooking and cleaning.


  • Inexpensive and so versatile, beans can be spiced up with many delicious recipes. They can be added to most any chilis or soups, and of course, taste great on hot dogs. There are so many kinds as well!
    • Pinto Beans – Great source of protein, fiber, carbs and iron. They’re also one of the most common beans which makes them the cheapest.
    • Lentils – Very high in calories, carbohydrates and protein, these beans are a cheap superfood.
    • Garbanzo Beans – Pack lots of protein and many other nutrients and are great for a number of recipes.

Canned Fruit

  • Cheap, versatile, and great shelf life, canned fruit is an essential cheap food storage item. This was definitely one of the items I stocked up on the most for my food storage. Cheap and delicious, what’s better than that? Whatever your family’s tastes are, there is a great fruit for you. Peaches, pears, melons, pineapple, mandarin oranges and many other fruits are delicious canned.

Canned Meats

  • Meat is quick way to get protein and sufficient calories for an extremely decent price. Following are some great meat options that you can stock your food storage with, without going broke.
    • Spam
    • Vienna Sausage
    • Tuna
    • Chicken breast
    • Roast beef
    • Pork

Canned Vegetables

  • These are cheap as well as come in many different forms. There are green beans, peas, corn, squash, carrots, potatoes, etc.

Cans of Soup or Broth

  • These are incredibly cheap and budget-friendly to have in your food storage. They are a complete meal and are great addition to rice or other items you might have in your food storage.


  • This is an essential basic for most food recipes. It’s important to have a lot of it on hand.

Mac & Cheese

  • A cheap easy meal to quickly make. It also has great shelf life. They even have tins of ready to eat mac and cheese that can be purchased. This cuts down even more on the prep time.


  • Oats are another completely versatile and useful product to have stored away. Fruit, sugar and many other things can be added to your oats to make them a delicious breakfast.


  • Oil is definitely a must have, and it’s absolutely cheap. It is an essential for cooking, as well as important for health. Getting a jug of olive oil, coconut oil, cooking oil, or vegetable oil. As long as you have oil in your food storage you’ll be set.

Pancake Mix

  • Pancake mix is so cheap, and often only needs water added to it. These mixes make hundreds of pancakes which can feed your family for quite some time and be kept, lasting for that time.


  • Spaghetti and so many other delicious pasta recipes are so inexpensive. Pasta can be loaded in a mylar pack. These can carry many noodles that will stay good for years. You can also keep different spaghetti sauces and alfredo sauces stored away, ready to be pulled out and used for years to come.

Peanut Butter

  • Peanut butter is a fantastic cheap way to make sure that you and your family’s protein needs are taken care of. While peanut butter doesn’t last as long as some other food storage items (1-3 years), it is definitely still a good option when finding cheap food to store away.

Powdered Drink Mix

  • Again, food storage can be a bit bland. Especially when all you have to drink is water. Powdered drink mixes help to liven up the water but they also can provide nutrients such as vitamin C, depending on which powdered drink you choose to stock up on.

Powdered Milk

  • This is a great way to get a lot of nutrients in a small compact amount of food. And it’s incredibly cheap of course. There are many brands that very in prices, but the majority of the brands keep a completely reasonable price.

Ramen Noodles

  • Ramen noodles are a classic cheap food to have around. As a college kid, Ramen and I get along very well. Almost too well… but how can we not when Ramen is as cheap as it is. There are many delicious flavors to choose from, they cook in no time flat, they have a incredible shelf life, and they’re ridiculously cheap. Like dirt cheap. Even college kids can binge on Ramen kind-of-cheap. According to Modern Survival Online, you can get 10 cases of Ramen for only $25.


  • Also according to Modern Survival Online, you can get large bags of rice (20-50 pounds) for only about $20 depending on the type of rice, brand and where you purchased. Rice is kind of like beans in the way that it’s so versatile! It can be added to many different meals, and it has an incredible shelf life.


  • Used to spice foods up or preserve them, salt is a cheap essential to have around.


  • Some food storage items may sound bland or unappetizing, but with spices, you can make any meal more exciting and delicious.


    1. Even when your budget is tight, purchase the cheapest thing. You could even get a couple of packs of ramen. Then, even in your hardest times, you’re still building towards your food storage.
    2. Purchase store’s generic brands. Only purchase brand names if you have a coupon or there’s a sale that makes it cheaper than the generic brands.
    3. Before purchasing any food storage items, take into account what you already have, and plan how much you will get at the store.
    4. Make a master list of everything you have in storage and everything you still need to get.
    5. Don’t splurge and get your entire list in one trip. Space it out over time so that you can get the absolute best prices, and so you don’t deplete your savings account.

  1. Spend some serious time finding the best sales and deals. Scour the coupon books and pour over the internet for the best sales happening.
  2. Don’t overbuy. It can seem like more is better when it comes to food storage, but it’s really not. Don’t buy more than you need. This will just result in expiring food taking up precious storage space.
  3. Make sure to rotate your stock. This will prevent any of your food going bad. If you keep track of the expiration dates of all your food, you’ll know when you need to pull food out of storage and eat it.
  4. Establish a written or physical budget. While budgeting in your head may sound easiest, it’s also the easiest to stray from.
  5. Don’t purchase bottled water. These are always way overpriced, and there’s ways you can get more water for no money at all. Save old milk jugs, 2-liter soda bottles, and other used containers. Wash them out thoroughly and then store water in them. Absolutely free.
  6. Do it right the first time by making sure you know what you need to buy, and where you will store your food storage. Take the time to do the research and prepare to prepare.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully, you found some good information on how to move forward in your food storage without breaking the bank. I know that this information has helped so much in my life! Happy prepping!

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