Cheapest Emergency Foods

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Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by admin_hunter

Building up a store of emergency foods is always a good idea. If you are preparing for a worst-case scenario, such as a natural disaster or other such situation, having a good deal of food on hand for you and the family can literally save lives.

That said, some emergency foods can be expensive. You may not have hundreds or even thousands of dollars to spend on a massive supply of food.

Yes, some emergency foods, such as MREs and food buckets can be pricey, but there are also some far more cost-effective options out there. Let’s go over some of the cheapest emergency foods, as well as some good tips on how you can save money.

Cheapest Emergency Foods to Hoard

Let’s take a quick look at some of cheapest foods that you can hoard in your emergency supply pantry.


Rice is a staple food in many parts of the world and it makes for a great emergency food. You can expect to pay around 70 cents per pound of rice, and if you buy it in bulk, you can probably manage to pay even less than that.

Rice can be used as a side to so many different foods, you can put it in other foods such as soup; it is very easy to make; and if need be, it can even be eaten on its down.

Canned Soup

The price of canned soup is going to depend on the specific type and brand of soup, but generally speaking, soup is always a safe bet to go with in terms of cheap emergency foods. For example, you can easily get away with spending about $1 on a single can of soup.

Depending on how much solid food the soup contains, such as noodles and chicken, you might pay a few cents more. Of course, there are many bulk options available, with soup often being sold in packs of 6, 12, and 24; it’s always cheaper to buy in bulk.

Soup is always a good option to go with for emergency food, as it can simply be heated up with a fire or any other heat source, plus they are often fairly complete meals. Soups are usually condensed, so you will likely be adding water to expand it once you’ve opened it, therefore, serving more than one person.

Canned Tuna

If you are looking for a good source of protein to add to your emergency food stores, but don’t want to spend much, canned tuna is always a good option. High-quality canned tuna can actually be quite pricey, up to $4 or even $5 per can.

However, if you don’t go for the best tuna around, you buy in bulk, and you pay attention to the brand name, you can get away with spending around $80 cents per can of tuna.

That’s a great price considering how nutritionally packed and filling tuna is. There are lots of different things you can do with canned tuna, from sandwiches to casseroles with pasta.


No, not everybody is going to enjoy eating a can of spam, but that said, if you need a good emergency food for survival, spam is pretty decent. It may not be the healthiest thing to eat, but that said, it’s loaded with carbs, fats, and proteins, all of which you will need to stay alive.

You can expect to spend somewhere around $2.40 on a 12 ounce can of spam. If you make that 12 oz can with some of that rice we talked about above, you’ve just put together a full meal for several people, all for around $3.

Dried Pasta

Yet another good option is simple dried pasta. This could be spaghetti, fettucine, or whatever else.

Dried pasta is a great emergency food because when stored properly, it can last for years, not to mention that you can eat it with sauce, as a side to other foods, and you can put it in soup as well.

Of course, it’s going to be cheaper if you buy your dried pasta in bulk, but if you buy online or in bargain stores, you can easily get away with spending under $1 per pound of pasta, so it does go quite a long way.

Canned Tomato Sauce

You might be thinking that ready-made tomato sauce are very expensive, up to $4 or $5 per can, but the fact of the matter is that tomato sauce which costs this much is usually the higher quality type.

If you find the right brand name, and you don’t go for fancy ingredients, you can easily spend under $2 for a can of simple tomato sauce, even for those that are ready to use.

You can of course also go for totally plain tomato sauce and then add some of your herbs and spices to it, which will allow you to save even more money. Canned tomato sauce is always a great emergency food, as it lasts a long time and it can be used to make a very wide variety of dishes.


Dried oats are always great in terms of emergency foods. For one, dried oats have a very long shelf life, particularly when properly stored.

Next, they contain a lot of carbs and other nutrients to help provide energy for basic survival. Moreover, if you get a good brand of instant oatmeal, you will have a variety of flavors to choose from.

Of course, simple dried oats are going to be much less expensive than packs of oatmeal, but there is a tradeoff to consider; you can choose to go for simple dried oats and then add flavorings and fruits yourself, or you can buy instant oatmeal in bulk and get away with spending about 30 cents per portion.


The bottom line is that prepping for an emergency situation and creating a large store of food does not have to be expensive. If you go for the right foods, you stick to generic brands, and you buy in bulk, you can end up saving a lot of money.