How Anyone—And We Mean Anyone—Can Build a 1-Year Food Supply - Be Prepared - Emergency Essentials

Want a year supply of food? Here are the top strategies our customers use to get there.

A while back we ran a survey to 100,000 of our customers, asking about their top emergency preparedness goals. The number one lesson we learned?

Just about everyone wants a one-year supply of emergency food (82 percent to be precise)—and very few have that.

This is unfortunate, because after 30-plus years of helping people build their food storage, we’ve come to learn that anyone—and we mean anyone—can build up a year supply.

All it takes is some patience and the right strategy. Here are some of the most effective ones we’ve seen customers use to store up their year of food.

Strategy 1: “Baby-Steps” Purchase Plan

Of all the strategies we’ve seen our customers employ, this is probably the most popular. The concept is simple: you break your savings and purchases into small, bite-sized chunks. It might be easier to explain through an example.

baby steps saving plan

In other words, spend a month saving for whatever you can afford quickly and buy it as soon as you can—a two-week kit, 30-day kit, etc. This will ensure that you have something in your supply, just in case.

Then spend five months saving for a three-month supply and buy it. Spend six more months saving and buy another three-month supply…and so on.

Pros: This plan gives you independence and flexibility to move at your own pace, with the added benefit of receiving emergency supplies as you go.

Cons: This is more expensive than the “one-big-chunk-of-cash” plan. That’s because a “year food supply” product is less expensive than 12 “one-month food supply” products (or four “three-month food supplies).

The extra cost isn’t super significant, but it’s enough to take into consideration in your planning.

Strategy 2: Financing

A great way to get much-needed emergency supplies into your home right away without having to take a big hit to your wallet is to “finance” your purchase. These days, online financing is easy and secure. At Emergency Essentials, we offer it through a major platform called Affirm. You can select the finance option at checkout—and depending on how you qualify, choose the payment schedule that works for you.

As an example, a 1-year food supply at Emergency Essentials costs about $3,000. Using Affirm’s online calculator, a financing plan for someone with excellent credit might look something like this:*

Financing Plan Example

*PLEASE NOTE! These numbers are only offered as an example of what some people pay and are not representative of what you may pay. Rates and payments can vary widely based upon a variety of factors. They can also change over time. To learn more about how Affirm works, click here.

Pros: The big pro here is that you get your year supply right away. Lots of our customers choose to go the financing route for this reason alone. For them, having immediate access to life-saving food outweighs the cons.

Besides getting your food right away, you’re also obviously spreading out costs and taking less of a hit to your wallet up front. If you’re working with a vendor you can trust, you’ll know exactly what you owe through the entire term, as well as when you’ll be done paying.

Cons: As with all credit, chances are you’ll be paying interest—though at Emergency Essentials, our financing program charges simple rather than compound interest (with no fees). That means a lot more of your money will go directly to principle.

On top of that, if you aren’t in a stable employment situation, there’s the chance you’ll be unable to make payments down the road. You’ll definitely want to take job stability into account when deciding whether to finance.

Strategy 3: Buy it All at Once Today, in Cash

Cash in hands

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a strategy, but some of our customers—God bless them—are able to buy all at once in cash.

If it sounds undo-able, consider this: tax season is upon us PLUS there’s likely another stimulus check coming in the near future. With such a windfall of cash, 2021 will be the year that thousands of prep-minded folks finally meet their goal of storing up a year supply of emergency food. 

Say what you will about the stimulus package, but it may be the best chance some of us get to buy that much emergency food all in one shot—no savings needed.

Strategy 4: “One-Big-Chunk-of-Cash” Savings Plan

If financing isn’t an option, or if the thought of it makes you a little nervous, there’s always good old-fashioned saving! 

Professionally crafted one-year supplies will cost you anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. For most of us, putting together that much cash takes a little pain, budgeting, and whole bunch of patience.  But, if you’re disciplined, it can get you to your end goal—albeit much further down the line.

As an example, let’s revisit that $3,000 Emergency Essentials’ year supply. Here are a few different scenarios that show what putting that kind of money away would look like (these totals are all approximations). 

One Big Chunk of Cash Savings

To recap: if you’re willing and able to patiently save for two to three years, you’ll have to part with about a cell-phone-bill-worth of cash every month (give or take). If you’re willing to wait longer, those monthly costs go down even more.

Pros: This option gives you ultimate flexibility—you’re able to do exactly what you want without obligations to anyone but yourself. If you temporarily lose your income or hit an unexpected bump in the road, you can always pause your savings plan with no consequences. 

If you’re patient enough, it’s also the option that absolutely anyone can afford.

Cons: The most obvious con here is how long it can take. If food security is a high priority in your life and you’re a super-disciplined saver, then this is the plan for you. But let’s be honest…not all of us are. If just looking at this chart causes you to pull your hair out, this path might not be for you.

The other major con is that you won’t be getting your supply for months and possibly years. If a disaster were to hit before you’d finished saving, you’d be in bad shape. 

But That’s Not All, Right?

These are some of top the strategies we’ve seen used with great success by our customers—but of course there are lots more. Have you saved up a year supply? How did you do it? Sound off in the comments below!

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Lisa Morrow

Lisa Morrow

Buy a little at a time,catch sales.This suggestion goes for grocery items too.Best to be prepared,than to find yourself helpless.Consider pet supplies,and toiletries too.

Mindy Maddox

Mindy Maddox

Nothing was mentioned about buying items when they are on sale. I get the EE emails and can regularly stock up on their sale items, along with grocery store case lot sales. It makes the budget go much further and I can buy things that I would not normally buy at full price.

Emergency Essentials

Emergency Essentials

Dense, yes. The Emergency Essentials 1-year supply is for one person.



Is the one year supply shown for one person only

Henry M Niedzwiecki

Henry M Niedzwiecki

While I did notice any of your gear that was A Pressure Cooker or Glass Jars, it is something else that can be considered. I noticed that in your ad,
there were Canned supplies on the shelves. The Pressure Cooker really helps, when it comes to some MEAT supplies. Chilli, Beef Stew, Pulled Pork, Chicken dishes…and many other Meat Dishes. CANNED Foods are Bulky and not for your Bug Out Bags, but still great for shelf storage. That’s why I keep the Dried Food Kits, Canned Foods and a supply of seeds on hand, which keeps me supplied and ready for any type of disaster.



I love having preps that I don’t have to worry about for over a couple of decades. That is my EE supply. They make up half of my one year plan. The rest is in store bought supplies that need to be rotated regularly, and I quickly learned not to prep what I do not use happily on a regular basis. I am on Social Security, and so I added to my preps slowly along the way. Make certain that you add the non-food items of things that you use often, like cleaning, grooming, over the counter meds and medical supplies, sewing kits, blankets, clothes, etc. EE carries a lot of items other than food. I feel secure in knowing our needs are not going to go unfulfilled. I think you will too. We live in crazy times. Being prepared dials down the crazy.

Brandie Nelson

Brandie Nelson

I’ve taught people to tithe themselves for storage. Whatever their monthly grocery budget is, take 10% and dedicate it to long term food storage.



We have been ordering small amounts for years. We ordered as much as se could afford and did without some other things to do so. We now have over a years supply and peace of mind. A trip to Disneyland or a new bedroom suite has nowhere the satisfaction that food security does. Good luck all!

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