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3 Months or 1 Year? How Much Food Storage Should I Have


We live in perilous times. From wars, to rumors of wars, to natural disasters of all kinds, it’s vital to have a food storage plan in place for yourself and your family. But how much food storage should you have?

Having three months worth of food storage is safer than having a month’s worth of food storage, and having a year’s worth of food storage is safer than having three months of food storage. Continually grow your storage over time. After reaching a year’s supply of basic foods, you can add other foods to your safety stockpile.

Though it may feel a little dismal to be thinking about and planning for food storage, your preparedness will pay off during an unforeseen emergency. Additionally, it will provide you the peace of mind you need to navigate your life safely today.

Should I have Three Months or One Year’s Worth of Food Storage?

As a general rule, everyone should be prepared for an emergency – whether that’s financially, physically, or spiritually. That means having, at a minimum, a food supply, water supply, and financial reserve stockpiled for emergency purposes.

When it comes to determining exactly how much of a food supply to have, follow this rule of thumb: continually scale your food storage over time (where permitted and as resources allow).

Practically speaking, scale your food supply as follows:

Current Food SupplyNext Level of Food Supply
None1 Day’s Worth
1 Day’s Worth3 Day’s Worth
3 Day’s Worth1 Week’s Worth
1 Week’s Worth1 Month’s Worth
1 Month’s Worth3 Month’s Worth
3 Month’s Worth1 Year’s Worth

You’ll eventually want to scale your food storage to around one year’s worth of supply. Remember that entails more than just food – it also includes your water supply and a financial supply of twelve months as well.

While having three month’s worth of food supply is hopefully more than you’ll ever need, scaling to one year’s worth will help ensure the most protection you can provide given an extreme emergency. Think: failing economy, war, global pandemics, and so forth. But while it’s certainly important to be prepared, it’s also important to remember that you don’t need to go to extremes in order to do so.

What’s the Right Amount of Food Storage For Me?

The best amount of food storage for you and your family is the amount that you don’t yet have. That means that if you only have one month’s supply of food storage, the next best step for you is to scale to three month’s supply of food storage. If you have three month’s supply of food storage, the next best step for you is to scale to one year’s supply of food storage.

And if you have no food supply, then it’s important to begin with some food supply! Remember that it’s important to be wise and prudent when making preparations. If it seems overwhelming to consider having a year’s worth of food supply, begin by starting small. Start with one day’s worth. Then scale to three day’s worth. Then to one week, to one month, and so on.

The point is to have a preparedness mindset. As you do as much as you can with your available resources you will find the peace and comfort that comes from being prepared. If you’re feeling that unsettling feeling about not having enough prepared, that’s an indicator to begin scaling to the next level of food supply for you and your family.

How do I Scale to One Year’s Worth of Food Storage?

When considering how to scale your food supply storage to a one-year supply, remember to choose foods your family will actually eat and to not to forget any special dietary needs (as suggested by

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a global Church that teaches millions of its members worldwide to prepare food storage supply for emergencies, counsels to beginhome storage by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep (you) alive if (you) did not have anything else to eat.

In sum, you need to store foods that will keep you alive, that you will actually eat, and that are conducive to any dietary restrictions you or other members of your family may have.

Calculate How Much Food You Need

To determine how much food you need, simply take the amount of food you would need to purchase for your family for a single day and multiple it by seven. This becomes your baseline food storage amount, and you now know how to begin scaling up from here. Multiply your weekly amount by four to get a monthly amount. Multiply your monthly amount by three to get your three-month supply.

Determine the Types of Foods you can Store for Year

Your three-month supply can contain foods that are part of your normal diet. But as you scale your food supply to one year, you’ll need to begin stocking foods that are better for longer-term storage. Again, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recommends “food staples such as wheat, rice, pasta, oats, beans, and potatoes that can last 30 years or more.” They also offer a comprehensive guide on longer-term food storage that will prove helpful for any beginner or expert food stockpiler.

Fema also recommends certain foods that should be used within six months (like potatoes, powdered milk (boxed), dried fruit), within one year (canned meats, soups, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, nuts, and vitamins), and offers items that can be stored indefinitely (wheat, oils, soybeans, salt, rice, dry pastas, etc.)

Save Money Each Month to Help Fund your Food Storage Supply

As your resources allow, set aside money each month to continue building your food storage. Keep scaling until you hit your next goal in food storage supply, working until you achieve a 12-month store. Understanding how much money you are able to set aside each month to invest in food storage can help you understand how long it will take you to get there (if taking a phased approach).

As an example, let’s assume that the cost of food for a single person is $5/day (assuming he or she is living off of food storage: canned beans, vegetables, grains, etc.). That would break out to around $5,000 annually.

Time PeriodCost of Food
1 Meal$5.00
1 Day$15.00
1 Week$105.00
1 Month$420.00
3 Months$1260.00
6 Months$2520.00
1 Year$5040.00
Cost of food for a year’s supply for one person

If you were to make around $60,000 annually, and saved 15% of your income for saving and investing, and another 3% for food storage (a savings rate total of 18%), you’d be able to set aside $1,800 annually for food storage building – or $150 a month.

At that rate, you would be able to scale to a 12-month food supply in just under 3 years (2.8 years, to be exact), and would be able to achieve a 3-month food supply in just under a year as well.

YearFood Storage SupplyFood Storage Funds
1> 3 months supply$1,800.00
2> 6 months supply$3600.00
3> 1 year’s supply$5400.00
2.8 years to grow a year’s supply of food storage

MonthFood Storage SupplyFood Storage Funds
1> 1 week’s supply$150.00
2> 1 week’s supply$300.00
3> 1 month’s supply$450.00
4> 1 month’s supply$600.00
5> 1 month’s supply$750.00
6> 1 month’s supply$900.00
7> 1 month’s supply$1050.00
8> 1 month’s supply$1200.00
9> 3 month’s supply$1350.00
10> 3 month’s supply$1500.00
11> 3 month’s supply$1650.00
12> 3 month’s supply$1800.00
9 months to grow a three-month supply of food storage

If you were a family of four, multiplying the amount of time it would take to save a year’s supply of food by the number of members in your family. Know that the nutritional guidelines are different for adults and children, and adjust your food storage planning accordingly.

Child Portions

AgePercentage of Adult Portion
3 and under50%
4 to 670%
7 to 1090%
11 and up100%
Data from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

If you were a single mother with a newborn child, and you set aside $150 a month for food storage costs you could reach a year supply of food storage for you and a five-year-old in about 5 years

Food StorageCost of Food for 1 AdultCost of Food for a 5 Year-Old
1 Year Supply$5040.00$3528.00
Total cost: $8568

YearFood Storage SupplyFood Storage Funds
1> 3 months supply$1,800.00
2> 6 months supply$3600.00
3> 1 year’s supply for adult$5400.00
4> 1 year’s supply for adult$7200.00
5> 1 year’s supply for adult and 5 year old$9000.00


When it comes to being prepared, it’s much better to be safe than sorry – especially if you have others depending on you for the necessities of life. If you don’t have a food storage strategy, start today. Scale from none to one day’s worth, to one week’s worth, to one month’s worth, to three month’s worth, and eventually to one year’s worth of food storage. Include a supply of water and a financial reserve as well.

Remember to be wise and prudent with your finances, since doing so will be the key to unlocking the resources you’ll need to begin increasing your food supply. Budget wisely. Increase your savings rate over time. Grow your income.

As you do so, you’ll not only be on your way up your financial mountain, but you’ll be well prepared for the storms you may face along the way.

Keep climbing, FinBase.

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John is a personal finance writer, editor, and a fellow FinBase climber. Tech worker by day, design owl by night, he is the co-founder and creator behind The Financial Basecamp.
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