Step 3: Three Month Supply – Normal Foods

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Purchase a three month supply of foods you normally eat. You can come up with meal plans for the full 90 days, or just buy extras of things you use a lot.

Key Points

  • Ask yourself these five three month supply questions to help you get started with the planning process.
  • Make a list of foods you eat on a regular basis, and determine how much you would go through in three months.
  • Gradually purchase these foods in bulk as they go on sale (check out Deals to Meals)
  • Combine sale prices with coupons for even more savings as you stock up
  • Use and rotate these foods in all your daily cooking.
  • Constantly replenish the stocks of these foods as they go on sale again.
  • Don’t forget to include non-food items in this step as well. Get a 3 month supply of NECESSITIES such as diapers, medications, toilet paper, toiletries, etc. For a great list and tracker, see our 3 month plan spreadsheet.
  • Benefits include: saving money by buying foods on sale and having foods you normally eat in times of economic or any other type of hardship.

3 Month Planning Tools

We have developed a 3 Month Food Supply Excel Worksheet that will help you outline meal plans, convert them into the number of items you need to buy automatically, and then track your inventory including current prices for each product.

We highly recommend viewing our short BASIC Tutorial Video before you start inputting information into your spreadsheet. If you aren’t familiar with excel this will make it seem so easy!

For more in depth information on the spreadsheets additional features such as the “Common Foods Sheet”, “Non-Food Items Sheet”, working with copy/paste, and adding or deleting lines, see the EXTRA Tutorial Video.

For those of you who do not have the excel program, we have made a way for you to make your 3 month food supply plan with these printable forms.  There is an Instruction Sheet, a Menu Plan Sheet and an Inventory Sheet. You will need to print the Menu Plan Sheet multiple times depending on how many different meals you want to plan. There is also a video tutorial to go along with these printable forms found here. You could also try using the free program Open Office if you really want the spreadsheet format.

More Information

Helpful Products

dtmlady Deals To Meals:
A wonderful service to help you find the cheapest prices on all your groceries. At just $5 a month you break even with ONE shopping trip. Learn more and sign up for a free two week trial to test it out yourself!


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  • kiki335

    Really cool. Thanks for sharing

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  • FFwd

    Excellent work. Cant commend you guys enough. Thanks for all your hard work.

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  • Katie H

    i’m starting my preparedness journey and trying to remain calm (!!eek! aahhh!! yikes!!….) anyway, loving your site! I feel like I have SO much to do. I’m trying to just do the steps and let it come together. Right now I’m working with your 3 mo excel file and have a question. I’m sure I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be.
    I’m starting with breakfast just because it’s easy to get started and I had been looking at the file for two days trying to ‘decide’ what to do. So, since, for instance, the size of a cereal box may vary depending on sale and location, I think I’d like to track based on physical amount used (guestimate of course) instead of 1/4 box. but then I’m not sure how to list the ingredient… Or for oatmeal, again, I know how much I’d measure out to make everybody oatmeal but not sure how to write it in..
    thanks for your patience!

  • kami

    Okay, I’m trying to fill out meals for 3 months. We’re supposed to use ingredients and foods that we normally buy and eat, right? We don’t ever use pancake/waffle mix–just make from scratch. So, do I just include flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, etc? How about toast for breakfast… We do buy bread, but can’t really store 3 months worth. Should I insert ingredients to make bread or choose a more shelf-stable meal?

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  • wendy

    Just wanted to say that I’m new to all this. God put it on my heart early this year that this was what I needed to do. Not being Mormon & unfamiliar with all of this, it’s been somewhat overwhelming. I’ve learned SO much from you. Bless you for all you do. I got to the 3 month storage point, then was surprised how much more peaceful I felt. Then, my husband came to me shortly after & said we needed to eat from our storage. I’m so glad we had it to fall back on, but felt very uneasy when it was depleted. Now, I’m playing catchup. Learned about water storage from you too. Got a rain barrel. Garden is doing well even in the drought. I heard about Tattler lids on Sean Hannity’s show, I believe. Seems like you mentioned them, too. Going to need them to can all those tomatoes. Just bought the lids from your link here. So excited. Can’t wait to get them. Again, can’t thank you enough for making this daunting task of food storage seem do-able.

    • Thanks for the comment. We love hearing success stories, and about how people are putting things into action 🙂 Keep up the great work.

  • Ccrawford44

    I have yet to find that any food storage recommendations include ‘popcorn’, nothing helps families and friends through tough times or long winter nights like a bowl of popcorn.  Much cheaper than a fight or psychologist.


  • serena

    I am all on board for having food storage for money saving purposes, but what “emergency” are you guys so worried about?? 

    • margaret

       Exceedingly long job loss.  Weather events such as derechos or location-specific events such as hurricanes or earthquakes or tornadoes that cause power to be out & normal operations to be disrupted for longer than a day or 2.  (ever hear Katrina recovery stories?)

  • Kathleen

    I am so excited, I just reached 50 days of food storage for my family of 7! Starting in January I’ve been averaging 10 days a month. I have been utilizing the food storage analyzer at the Emergency Essentials website and find it so easy to keep track. When I began the task seems so daunting but your website and the Babysteps checklists have been encouraging and fun. Just got checklist#21 and it suggests dehydrated fruits and vegetables, what a cooincidence, we just researched and purchased a dyhydrator 2 weeks ago! I bought a Nesco American Harvest, square with 4 trays, thermostat and fan in the lid and have made beef jerky, dried tomatoes, carrots and strawberries. Think I will try onions and celery next. Thank you so much for your website and making food storage fun.

    • This is so great! You are doing exactly how you should, in babysteps. Congratulations 🙂

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  • Victor Scott

    I have a Mac running Numbers.  I have downloaded the spreadsheet but can’t get the meals to type inverted.  Any ideas?

    • I’m not familiar with numbers, however I just right click the cell in excel, and then, format cells, then alignment. Are there any options that sound like that when you select the meal cells?

    • emorra

       Try downloading a free program called Open Office (they have a Mac version, just can’t remember what it’s called).

      When I open it in Numbers I get the following warnings:

      Missing Font – Bradley Hand ITC
      Import Warning – Indents in table cells were imported but aren’t editable.
      Import Warning – Hyperlinks on shapes aren’t supported and were removed.
      Import Warning – Frozen panes or split windows aren’t supported and were removed.
      Import Warning – Cells in a hidden column or row were unhidden to show merged cells.
      Import Warning – Sorting criteria were removed.

      So it’s not totally compatible, and it also states that the sorting criteria were removed (for whatever reason).

  • Encourager

    I downloaded your Excel program and spent three days entering everything in my storage area. When I went to save it, there was a comment about some cells were not compatible (called a minor problem by Excel) and asked if I wanted to continue to save. I clicked continue….and EVERYTHING vanished. Everything. It is not in my documents, nor Excel documents. WHAT did I do wrong?? I have Microsoft Excel 2007. Is it not compatible with your charts?

    • What I would do, is go to your downloads file. It might be there. Also when I download files before working on them I try to save them to my documents right away, cause the default is to save them to a downloads file, and I can’t always remember that! If you don’t know where your downloads file is, try downloading another file from the internet, and when you click save as, it will show where it is, click the back arrows and you should see the file directory path. Hope that made sense! It’s hard to explain. The file is compatible though – for sure

  • Msmarie1971

    Just wanted to say thankyou so much!!! You have put a lot of work into this and to offer it for free is simply a God send!

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  • ET

    I am trying to create an additional sheet within the excel templete that you created.  How did you allow the far right columns “inventory tracker” stay seen?  When you scroll to the left, they always stay visible?  I am not very savvy with excel although am hoping to learn more so that I can use it more.  Thanks.  

    • Select the far column, go to VIEW, then FREEZE panes. That will freeze that column up for you!

  • Karen

    The tutorial is really great!  It is really simple to fill out the 3 month list.  Thank you all for all your hard work.

  • Woodclaver

    We do not have Exel. Is there a PDF version of it?  Or is there a version that will open up in Word Perfect? Yours, when clicked, opened Word Perfect, ruminated for a good minute or two, then just jambed up the entire computer. We kinda need to know soon, as we are teaching in SS at Redondo III Ward this coming Sunday, 29 Jan 12.

    • There is a pdf version. Try right-clicking the link and choose “save as” and then open it up directly in adobe reader. Also if you don’t have excel there is a free program you can download called open office that can open excel files. Hope that helps!

  • Tara Tailby

    It just told me the excel file is corrup and cannot be open help!

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  • Douglas

    If you don’t have Excel, there’s a free alternative spreadsheet in called “Calc” that will open and save Excel spreadsheets (and allow you to input and change formatting).  You can find it at

    • I use open office, but I am at a loss as how to get these spreadsheets to open…..any hints?

  • Lorisheffield83

    The excel spread sheet only opens as a “read only” file.  Please help.  Lori. 

  • Mary Ann

    Julie-that worked great. I was trying to use the table formatting. We have a lot of health issues in
    our family so I copied the non-food inventory sheet and turned it into a supplement inventory sheet. This is great. Now when certain vitamins etc go on sale I quickly know what I need. Thanks!

  • Mary Ann

    Thanks Jodi for your quick answer. I have one more question. I know just enough Excel to get myself in trouble- but I really want to format the table so that every other line has color. I have a very hard time entering the amounts on the right line, and have found that the shading helps me with Excel lines. When I try it messes up the formatting. Is there an easy fix? Thank you again for the work that went into this. I have re-arranged my food storage and am looking forward to becoming more organized with the Lord’s help.

    • Mary Ann,

      If you click on the number (the row number) and then click on the paint bucket icon with what color you want it SHOULD do it? I just tried on mine. If that is messing it up, you can email me the file at info @ and I can take a look at it for you – Julie

    • Mary Ann,

      If you click on the number (the row number) and then click on the paint bucket icon with what color you want it SHOULD do it? I just tried on mine. If that is messing it up, you can email me the file at info @ and I can take a look at it for you – Julie

  • Mary Ann

    I love your excel spreadsheet! I ran into a difficulty though… I added some lines but now can’t get the formula to work on those lines. Please help. Thank you.

    • You need to copy, and insert lines. Just adding lines wont pull the formulas in. Or you can copy paste a line that currently works and it will copy the formulas.

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  • Sarah

    Your lists for planning the 3 months supply have been so helpful! I have tried a number of methods, and this, so far, has been the best. Thanks for your hard work!

    But what happened to desserts? I went ahead and put together recipes for one dessert a week for 3 months. I don’t know about you, but if I’m living off my food storage, I would want some yummy desserts built in that my family and I love.

  • Darlenepetersen

    Tonight we had the best RS mid-week meeting thanks to your site.  We showed the the excel program for the 3 month supply and long term food storage.  Thank you, thank you for all of your hard work and most of all for sharing!!  I think most of the sisters left feeling that perhaps they can build a food storage.

  • Jan Hargraves

    I love your site, love your plans. I have attempted all morning to buy and download your complete set. Your site has told me that I have entered incomplete cc # on all of my cards and the pay later feature did not work at all. 
    If you  could look at that I feel you might be losing customers over this. 
    Thanks for all you do. 

    • Jan, I am sorry you are having troubles with our payment system. Technology can be fussy sometimes. Would you like me to try to send you an invoice and then we can process the order manually? It might accept payment that way. We can aslo accept checks mailed to our P.O. Box although that is a little longer of a process. Let me know if you want us to try something else. We appreciate your support. -Jodi and Julie

  • Darlene Petersen

    I would like to use your videos for a presentation in a MidWeek Relief Society meeting.  Can you tell me how to download the video for 3 Month Food Supply Excel Worksheet ?

    • You would need to just show it from a computer with internet connection. I don’t think there is an easy way to download it from off of YouTube. Sorry!

  • Mycory

    Just curious why we would need to stock up on salt?
    Thanks, Cindy

    • Salt is used in so many recipes when you’re cooking from scratch. You don’t need a TON of it, but it’s helpful to have in your food storage

    • kirby

      Salt is also used in canning and in drying meats.  Might come in real handy if the power goes out.  Buy canning or pickling salt rather than table salt.

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  • Lynn Harris

    You used the word “Gosh” Crystal, in a video, which is an alteration of God and therefore taking His name in vain.  Look it up in the dictionary it says “alteration of God”.  It also says “used as a form of surprise” and if you look up “God” is says the same thing.  Reference also”New Era article “In Control” where it lists “Gol” as an alteration of God also, along with other profanity.

    • Ian

      You’re insane, get a life.

    • Ian

      You’re insane, get a life.

    • TimP

      Actually, God, is a title… there are many Gods according to the bible… You are correct using God’s name in vain would be something that you would not want to do, but if you would really like to know God’s name as found in the bible, you can do so in Psalms 83:18 & Also Exodus 3:8 (in some bibles, while others have removed it there as well)

    • Anonymous

      You are kidding are you not??

    • Hillplus

      I hope this is a joke. If not, I suggest you spend a little time in Matthew 7. Pull that giant log out of your eye!  God bless you. 🙂

    • Who knew it?

      Thank you for the information.

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  • It seems as if the food calculator is not tallying enough for a 3month supply. Ex….5 box of pancake mix=1.5 boxes for 3 months? Do I need to enter the amounts differently?

    • For the ingredient you would put in the size of box you would normally buy,
      so 1 box of bisquick. Then each time you use that item in a recipe you
      would put in what fraction of a box you would use. So maybe 1/4 box is used
      for breakfast once a week. So for the one month, you would use 4/4 or 1
      whole box. Then it will times that by 3 to make the full 90 day supply. so
      you would need 3 boxes of bisquick. Does that make sense?

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  • wyomom

    I just love what you two have done for food storage! I am rather new to long term storage, but believe in the concept for numerous reasons. And being a “methodical list maker”, I just love your sight/info! The binder is an essential part of my day to day preparations and I really like the 3 month food storage spreadsheet. It has helped considerably with my weekly shopping and menu planning. Keep up the great work and make more videos! I enjoy watching them. 😀

  • Momservingchrist

    Is there a printable form that calculates spices, like the bulk food calculator?
    Thank You!!

    • On our 3 month supply spreadsheet, one of the tabs at the bottom has a list
      of suggested spices. In terms of actually calculating how much to store we
      haven’t created that. We just suggest having one extra of most spices,
      unless you use them very frequently then you may want to store more than
      Hope that helps

  • Momservingchrist

    Hoooray! Got it to work!! Thank you!!

  • Momservingchrist

    The error reads “The Application Excel Quit Unexpectedly” Mac OS and other applications are not affected. Click relaunch to launch this application again. Click report to see more detail or send a report to apple.

    Ok. saved file, tried to open. Crash.
    Tried to just open file. Crash.
    Not only, did it crash, now I cannot open my excel for anything!! I shut my computer down, and turned it back on…..nothing changes. Excel won’t open?
    So I cannot use the spread sheet…….or any other document in my Excel because it’s totally locked up!!
    I don’t know what to do…….I have never had problems with virus’, because I have a MAC.
    Thank you for your help.

  • Momservingchrist

    My excel just crashed while I was in this spreadsheet, and I cannot get my excel to relaunch…..

  • J-wo

    so can you explain to me why you suggest not putting produce and milk and those sort of items in this 3 month plan? maybe I’m missing the point of this??

    • Those types of foods will go bad before you can use up three months worth of
      them. The idea is to store 3 months worth of food but take about a year to
      rotate through it all and always be replenishing it. You wouldn’t count
      fresh foods in here because that would just be part of your regular eating
      and not your storage.

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  • Jody

    Jodi and Julie, you are my heroes! I absolutely love this spreadsheet you have made! I would have done it myself if it didn’t already exist, but I wouldn’t have done such a good job and it would have taken me forever. I am so glad you have done the work for me! I’m going to tell everyone I know about this!

  • Janiceshinner

    I have had difficulty getting started on my food supply, but after the disaster in Japan, it has prompted me to get busy! Thank you for giving me some good ideas on how to get started.

  • Tita

    Thank you very much for giving me a place to start. I love the site is very nice and organized. loved it!!!

  • Anonymous

    Wow even the easier version seems time consuming. I am a pretty meal good planner but nothing like you!

  • Diane Grace

    I cannot download 3 month plan either-can you e-mail it me to me please?

  • Papabob

    Cant open the excel file at all.

  • Papabob

    Cant open the excel file at all.

  • Susanwrwk

    Deals to Meals sounds great BUT do you know of anything like it in the south area (Gulf Coast region)?

    • I think does nationwide sale price lists. It’s not as slick of a system but I think it’s still good.

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  • Rebecca

    When I try to open the 3 month food supply excel file it says it is too big and will not open. Can you help?

  • Tink8099

    is there any way you could resend me step 3 I must of deleted it thank you

  • Victoree12

    I had trouble downloading the 3 month exel, and after entering 22 meals, it wouldn’t save. Now it won’t open at all.

    • Mikerilling

      Happened to us too. Very disappointing. We thought this web page would actually be helpful……

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  • mike

    One thing I forgot to add….
    Buy products that do NOT contain preservatives. Preservatives cause headaches, mood swings, depression etc. You have to carefully read ALL labels.

  • mike

    Im not sure why you say not to buy at costco or sams? We buy a 50lb bag of rice and a 25lb bag of flour and save a ton of money. We also buy the huge roll of foil and a giant box of glad bags and save even more money. Large jugs of soap for dishes and 5 gallon buckets of soap for the washer are cheaper as well. Of course you always have to make sure its cheaper.

  • Atasteofcreole


    Do you like ramen type meals? Those add water and heat bowls in oriental section are amazing. True, lots of MSG, but you can do same at home. Open one up and what do you see? Noodles (soba are awesome!), dehydrated bell pepper, dehydrated green onion, dehydrated onion, dehydrated mushrooms, etc AND boullion. Period. Add a drop or two of toasted sesame oil and you can make that at home yourself. Heck, you don’t even need ‘oriental’ noodles. My daughter lives off pasta, she uses ABC’s or mini penne, etc.

    If you can imagine you can do. My Korean neighbor used to make soba noodles (buckwheat), add cold chicken broth, sliced jalapeno’s fresh cliantro and steams shrimp and make a cold soup. WONDERFUL on a hot day!

  • Atasteofcreole

    I’d also recommend adding tuna in oil to diet. Your body needs the oil. My mum is a vegan and learned the hard way that you need some oil for your body to function correctly. Tuna in oil or homemade mayo will do nicely. Butter is also another good source.

    If you’re eating lots of fresh stuff from your garden you do not need vitamins, its if you rely only on ration foods that you need the supplements.

  • FoxFire

    I would be interested in seeing your personal menus. Are they on the site somewhere?

    I am getting stuck after just a few days worth of meals (trying to do a shelf stable menu). I feel like if I can do 75% of my meals from the shelf, I should be covering my bases pretty well….that still may be too hard though!

  • Cgentry

    Since you are talking about using wheat; I just came across a recipe for oat, wheat scones made with buttermilk. It is a Barefoot Contessa recipe and will be trying it this weekend.. Other than butter used in it, it appears to be a good way to use wheat and oats. Carole

  • Yes, we call them the “printable forms” but here is a link straight to the pdf file:

  • Jasmine

    is there a pdf file for the 3 Month Food Supply Excel Worksheet? Thanks.

  • A. Pain

    What is the difference between a 3 month supply and long term?

  • Momnono

    Having problems downloading the worksheet to a microsoft spreadsheet. Tells me it is a read only file or it is already open. Any hints??

  • Lisa, the video seems to be working fine for me. Are you trying to watch it directly at the youtube link?

    You can try refreshing the window, rebooting your computer, or trying again in a day or two. Sometimes youtube is just finicky. Sorry for the trouble!

  • I agree with you. This blog is beautiful theme.

  • Lisa, the video seems to be working fine for me. Are you trying to watch it directly at the youtube link?

    You can try refreshing the window, rebooting your computer, or trying again in a day or two. Sometimes youtube is just finicky. Sorry for the trouble!

  • Lisa

    I tried to view the extra excel tutorial, it kept freezing up. Is there anything I can do? Thanks for the great info & spread sheets.

  • moanamcara2008

    There is a free program that can open and use excel (and other microsoft office) programs. It is called OpenOffice, and can be freely downloaded at

  • It is working fine for me. Maybe YouTube was having troubles right then?

  • careypayne

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work! You are helping many people!

  • willavire

    Keep getting error and black screen when I try to use your tutorial on U Tube

  • willavire

    Your U tube tutorials and some sites are coming up with a black screen and error. I've tried 2 different computers. Is their something wrong with the sites are is it me. Thanks love your site.

  • jwads

    Under Step 4: Education. It is listed under “helpful tools.

  • Please email us at and we can help you out. Thanks!

  • sherio

    I love your website….the info is really great! I've shared it with many of my friends and family. I've been saving each new step……but my computer crashed and now I'm missing some of the steps. Is there any way to get the ones I'm missing?

  • Can you email us with details at so we can help you trouble-shoot? Thanks!

  • Susan

    Thank you so much for this! I am planning my food budget (starting with 1 month) and am AMAZED at how much money I will save this month. I have no experience with excel, but am excited to learn!

    One thing I did with the price column – I added another column and multiplied the quantity price to get a total. For example: I need 4 pkg. of spaghetti noodles and they are $1.23 each. I multiplied the two cells to get the total. Then I added up the column with the total amounts! Can you tell I am excited? LOL!

  • janet_bosley

    Roger, thank you you kind of Answered my question I guess I just need to research and find out what kind of foods constitute whole carbs. I understand that if we follow the word of wisdom more fully we use grains and all and meat is “used sparingly” I eat very little of it anyway.
    I am just lazy and always looking for the already put together program (like this one for food storage) havnt found the simple program for Whole carbs and healthy eating yet. It would help if I understood them better I am sure.
    How I would use my food storage if I had to use it would be the way I cook for the rest of my family and just gain weight. I would like to know some of the meals you use with you rstorage. Thank you again for your insight, I know there is a way I just need to find it. I would be glad to share my email wit you if there is a way to do that. If you have the time and desire to share with me.

  • Roger Weathersby

    One challenge that people have to face and can easily scare people away from this kinda stuff is that there is lifestyle change involved if you are serious about long term food storage. But on the flip side of that, it also helps by forcing us to look at our good and bad habits with eating.

    The idea of the rotation, you dont need to eat one day of storage food in one day, you can make a meal here and a meal there, depending on what you have stored. This all just depends on shelf life of the items you are storing.

    My question is, how would you use your food storage if you really had to in an emergency if you cant when it's not? Life is harder when a situation is bad enough to rely on that stored food.

    What i dont understand here about your question, what is it you are storing that will get you fat? I've actually found my body has adjusted well to stored food rotation, I actually lost some weight and make smarter decisions about my eating. Meat for instance in many other parts of the world is used as a flavoring instead of a main course, and yet thanks to other very normal and natural (as well as storable) foods, they still easily consume enough protein, our main reasoning for consuming meat in the first place.

    Keep in mind that the modern anti carb ideal is not always accurate, you just need to consider eating smarter, more whole carbs that include protein (wheat based products are great for this). In my storage we keep some sugar and molasses, but other than that there's very little unhealthy stuff in the stockpile.

    Keep in mind, decades and centuries ago, people stored food and rotated it as well, yet were perfectly healthy doing so. What's unnatural is the paycheck to paycheck convenience lifestyle we've changed over to that leaves us vulnerable to just about any possibility of something going wrong in life.

  • janet_bosley

    How do you use your food storage and not geet fat? I know, I have a major problem when I eat foods with preservatives and sugars and I my body loves Cars especially sugary starchy carbs but they do not love my body and are not kind. So my eating regiment is filled with a lot of fresh veggies and very lean meats, primarily poultry. Is there a way to combine certain grains and other foods and not mess your body up?

  • Roger Weathersby

    One of the wisdoms here is that in rotating your stock of food, you are using the food. You should always ALWAYS test your preps. This includes making sure you are familiar with, can easily prepare, and can/will eat what you've stored. To the extreme, some random person who decided to put away 500 lbs of wheat in their basement who doesn't like wheat and has no idea how to prepare anything with it will be rather screwed.

    On the idea of refrigerated/frozen goods, it never hurts to have them, but i'd never rely on them. Even in places where natural disasters of an epic scale don't generally happen, things unexpected CAN happen. Isn't the idea here to try to prepare for the unexpected?

    Good idea on the spreadsheet. Once a person has completed this, it might be a good idea to look over what you've got and make sure this is realistic based on the situations. You might not get opportunity to supplement your supply, so plan accordingly. Make sure you and your family are getting enough protein, calories and such with what you are storing. You also really should look to vitamin supplements as well.

    And Tang, ye scurvy dogs.

  • mpayne9205

    When I print the Excel forms, it prints on and on an on the first page! Any ideas? I want to print the “entire workbook”, but it's as if the first page is repeated to infinity…

  • Christine, we totally WANT to get into dehydrating and canning. I have done a little bit but I am by no means an expert. It is one of those “scary” things for beginners 🙂 We are gradually getting around to it!

  • Christine, we aren't in an area where severe natural disasters typically occur. So that is why we used to have trouble with that concept. We are really coming around and getting excited about preparing for natural disaster type situations now, especially after going through our seven day challenge.

  • Regina

    Last evening I was on your site and found an excel workesheet that told me how much food (lbs. flour, lbs. wheat, etc.) I would need for a family of my size. As I changed the amounts of adults or children, everything down through the list changed to show what amounts I needed for my family.
    Much to my chagrin, I cannot find this worksheet today!!!
    Can you help me?

  • We'll have to get more tips from you! I've done a little bit of canning but I'm SOOO not an expert yet. And I haven't gotten into dehydrating at all yet.

  • Also… was reading the previous comments and saw that about 10 months ago (I think it was 10) that Admin replied and stated:

    “Another conclusion we have come up with is that an economic crisis (personal or national) is much more likely to occur then some major event that makes you loose power for weeks and months on end. So it would be a really big blessing to have your freezer, fridge and pantry stocked in case of job loss, or injury preventing you from work, or any of the other many things that could happen.”

    While this is certainly true – as someone who went through Hurricane Andrew, I can honestly say… weeks and months without power are absolutely viable. So, you cannot always count on power. Which is why I also can and dehydrate. :o)


  • If you want to expand your storage options, palate options, not to mention not take up valuable freezer space… dehydrate!

    Your frozen fruits and veggies (if you buy them on sale in the big bags) can be dehydrated. Fresh fruits and veggies can be dehydrated. Your homemade cream of soups – can even be dehydrated.

    In my pantries I have store purchased cans, home canned and dehydrated. The reason is variety and palatability. Peas for instance, whether home canned or store can, are mushy. Yes, they can be frozen and do great, but, dehydrate them and you can store even more in the same amount of space. To use, just throw them in with your soups, sauces, etc. or rehydrate. Just don't waste the water that you use, use it for something else, like, your soups, sauces, etc. :o)

    You can make homemade banana chips, apple chips, etc. for healthier snacks to go into storage as well as your 72-hour kits. For long-term storage, just put into mylar bags with oxygen pack (after completely dehydrating), seal, date and identify contents then put them away.

    No, I do not work for any dehydrating company, just someone who likes variety, good food and loves that I can store 2 to 3 times more dehydrated food in the same space as 'regular' food. Example: Approx. 1 cup of corn kernels will dehydrate down to approximately 1/3 cup. How cool is that!

    I roast red peppers then dehydrate them – grab a handful and throw them into soups and sauces. Makes it that much better.

    Just a suggestion to go along with all the great info that you have, and all the great stuff that you have already done.

    Next time, for long-term storage – we'll get you canning! :o)


  • carrol

    This site is awesome. I'm always on the hunt for more information on food storage. Thank you so much for making this website for people like me :0)!!

  • I believe the document is locked to prevent people from accidentally messing things up 😉 If you know how to unlock it try that, otherwise shoot us an email at and Julie our excel guru will help you out!

  • EricaD

    I was wondering if there is a way to add another column or two to the excel spreadsheet so that you could list the store where you found the lowest price and the dates the sale happened. That way you could combine your price book with your master shopping list making things a lot easier to stock up.

  • We use a program called ScreenFlow for Macintosh computers. I think on PC you can use something called Camtasia. Hope that helps!

  • caryw

    Great site. You ladies have really done a great job. What program do you use to put the video/spreadsheet together? I do sales training and this was a great tool. Anyway thanks for your site.

  • Pingback: The Food Storage Shopper » 3 Month Food Supply Buying Tips()

  • Lisa, We are actually going to be organizing a BIG sharing project around three month supply sheets. We want to have all our readers submit their samples so we can help each other get ideas, etc. We will be posting more about that soon. If you shoot us an email at I can email you my sheet all filled out for now if you can't wait 😉

  • Lisa

    Ok, I am someone who needs to see things. Do you all have a more detailed version of your filled in 3 month supply on excel? I would love to see one all filled out in all of its glory! The little tiny sample on the download just isn't enough for me. Thank you so much for all of the things you share with everyone on here. It has helped me so much 🙂

  • Excellent idea!

  • Mary

    My son had an awesome suggestion. Since we put our 72-hour kits together at the beginning of the summer he suggested that at the beginning of next summer we take a 3 day camping trip and use our 72-hour kits as our food supply. This way we're using what's in them before they expire and we also get a chance to practice how things may be in an emergency situation.

  • bmantel

    A method I use in trying to build my three month supply is that I keep a list of items I use during the week. Then when I go to the store, I buy double of what I used to replace it. For example, if I used two cans of green beans, I buy four. Using this method I am buying the foods that I use in recipes that my family eats. It's amazing how quickly the food supply begins to grow.

  • Cambrie, I'm not sure which recipes of ours you are seeing that use sour cream and cream cheese. For three month supply we have chosen to only use items which are shelf stable or frozen foods. We also try to include things that could be substituted for frozen foods such as canned meats.

    As for bread mixes in the fridge … we make our bread from scratch with fresh ground whole wheat and other shelf stable ingredients. So nothing needs to go in the fridge. I will admit though I am considering buying a separate FREEZER because I am finding so many great deals on foods I want to stock up on that need to be refrigerated or frozen.

  • Cambrie

    So I read the comments about how ideally we should only include shelf-stable foods in our 3 month supply but including fridge/freezer foods makes it less intimidating and most likely there wont be a power outage anyway.

    So here is my question: I'm noticing that in many of your recipies you have foods that are not freezable (such as sour cream or cream cheese). So do you just have a 3 month supply of these foods in your fridge? How do you do that?! Also, don't you keep all of your bread mixes in the fridge? You must have a pretty full fridge?

  • what a great inventory tracker- the video helps a lot too! i've been working on this so great timing too!

  • Cindy

    Thank you so much. I try to create my own excell program for organization but I found yours. YOu saved me so much work and it seems easy. You did a great job.

  • Chris

    Just to add to others comments about storing non-food items. I agree that our use of a three month and one year food supply is more likely to come about due to economic crisis than major natural disaster. I have learned by watching several families near me lose jobs recently that food stamps and other programs will amply cover food needs for families, but may not be used for non-food items like toilet paper, cleaners, hygiene products, etc. These are the items that families in our area are needing church assistance for. In a time of crisis, I can tell you that I would love to have the comfort of using my preferred tampon brand, preferred toothbrush, and preferred deodorant. It is definitely something to keep in mind as we build our storage up.

  • Natalie

    Thank YOU!!

  • Natalie

    I just finished inputting all my ingredients onto my spread sheet but was wondering if there is a way to put in alphabetical order so I can find the ingredients easier?? Also, I thought I could put the ingredients in order….fresh fruits, dairy, meats, etc. Any tips??

    • Julie – Food Storage Made Easy

      Select all the rows that your ingredients are in (from the first one to the last one), then click data… then click sort. If it says something about expanding the selection, say YES… that will make sure the amounts you have filled out will go with it 🙂

  • Dochiny

    Thank you a million times over for creating this spreadsheet! I’ve had a general idea of the foods I’d need, but try as I may I could never get it together. I am a spreadsheet nerd and I’ve gotta say I love the way you set it up. I can now say I have my own master list for food I need! I am so stinkin’ proud of myself for getting this done! Jodi, Julie, you two are the best. Thanks for sharing your talents and ideas with all of us.

  • heather

    ew-la-la! this is a great 3-month spreadsheet. i had to watch the video to understand how it all worked, but it’s awesome that you put it together to share. I’ve been so baffled at how to realistically figure out my 3-month. I’m going to do this and see how it works for us. Thanks!!!! you gals are super.

  • Mary R

    Excellent job ! I appreciate all the hard work you both have put into this web site. It makes it easier for everyone else. The new spread sheet is wonderful !! terrific !! I especially like the bold colors . It is much easier for my eyes to track back and forth. Thank you both .

  • Rebecca

    Thats so much for the information on Open Office!!! That was a big help and its FREE!!!!

  • Lainee

    Wow, this is awesome… just what I have been looking for! Thank you.

  • mom27kidz

    For everyone having trouble using the excel version because you don’t have excel–I found a solution that is free!! There is free software avaliable on the internet called open office. It allows you to use almost any processing program out there without having to buy it. I just Googled open office. Some sites will want you to pay for it, so look for a site that has it for free. Hope that helps!

  • Addie

    Hey glad to see you got my earlier comment post on open office. Check out this propgram has worked GREAT for me. Everything seems to work just like your tutorial. Thanks again for your hard work!

  • Jodi

    You need to have excel or a program that will open excel files. We’ve heard that “open office” will open excel files. If you can’t get it to work simply use the pdf version and write in your meals by hand. Hope that helps!

  • Rebecca

    3 Month Food Supply Excel Spreadsheet

    I can’t seem to download the Excel Spreadsheet, do I have to have the program, Excel in order to download? Thanks

  • Pingback: 3 Month Video Tutorial «()

  • Lisa

    Thanks Jodi, that is what I was thinking, but I wasn’t sure. I did watch the video and it was very helpful.

  • Jodi

    Lisa, For the size column you can either put 16 (for a 16 oz jar if that is what you normally buy) or 1 (for ONE jar and then make sure to list 16 oz jar of mayonnaise as the ingredient name so you remember the size). I tend to prefer the ounces right in the size column.

    Then when you input the amount for that meal you would do it as a fraction of that 16 oz jar. So half a cup is 4 oz so you would put in 1/4 or 0.25 for that amount. Then the spreadsheet will calculate how many “1/2 cups” you would need in 90 days and give you the number of 16 oz jars you’d need to buy to equal that amount.

    If you haven’t watch the tutorial video yet, check it out. It really helps!

  • Lisa

    Question…I am a little confused on how to list some of the sizes for different ingredients. For example if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of mayonnaise how would I list how much I need? Would I list it by cup size? I certainly don’t need a whole jar of mayonnaise to make the recipe. What is the best way to list it?

  • Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

  • Angel

    I am not LDS but have been on a few yahoogroups and have LDS friends and what I am hearing is the LDS church itself is updating and expanding its storage ideas.
    They too realize that stating you must store a years worth of beans and wheat etc is a daunting task to most people and as stated, if folks feel overwhelmed alot will do nothing.

    I started with the 2 week plan and long term staples like buckets of wheat, beans, and cases of #10 cans from different places like Emergency Essentials and the LDS site.
    Slowly I added more and more as has been suggested to gain the 3 mo, then 6 mo. up to a year and beyond.

    Once you get your first ‘layer’ in it all becomes cheaper too because you can replinish on sale as suggested here. You save money.

    There is just nothing like filling your pantry and seeing all those cans and jars and boxes all lined up.

    I store they everyday stuff for months and years too.
    If you use it, most canned things last 2 years. Rotate it and there will be no problem.
    Tuna, corned beef, Spam are all things you can store for short and long term. I have tuna dated 2012.
    Spam I think lasts forever or at least 20 years lol.
    My kids LIKE it so I store it.

    So YES store more everyday foods beyond the 3 months. The key is to fill in your gaps along the way so you dont have a weeks worth of macaroni and cheese and 10 years worth of tuna.

  • Nike

    This program ROCKS and has been an absolute LIFESAVER! I have been working on food storage for the last three years, but knew that I had lots of gaps. Sure I have a room full of food and lots and lots of wheat, but I constantly felt like there was nothing to have for dinner. I had been looking for a way to round out my food storage and make it more “everyday” based instead of just “long term” based.

    Well, I downloaded Julie’s amazing excel program at the beginning of November and immediately knew where my gaps were – yeah! I focused that month on making sure that I had a solid three month supply of our typical meals. I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID!

    The LAYOFF fairy hit our house the day before Thanksgiving with no severence package. We have been LIVING on our food storage since that time and guess what … we’re fine. Thanks to Julie’s program, I knew exactly how to prepare for an emergency I never thought would come, and so soon.

    Being unemployed is no fun, but I can’t tell you how much peace there is in preparation. Having a well stocked, well rounded pantry has meant stability and high moral at our house. It has meant that our kids aren’t scared about what’s going on because our meals snacks are still the same and Mom and Dad aren’t worried about buying food vs. paying the mortgage.

    This program is so easy! Julie did all the hard work. All you have to do is drop in your menus, ingredients and BAM! – instant shopping and inventory. I am their number one fan … someone who has already given this system a real life trial and thinks it’s great.

  • Admin


    We have pondered over and over again this VERY topic. We finally came up with a couple of conclusions.

    While storing ONLY items that are shelf stable, and require no power is probably ideal – it can be so intimidating and overwhelming that people just get stuck thinking they have to do THAT and don’t do ANYTHING.

    Another conclusion we have come up with is that an economic crisis (personal or national) is much more likely to occur then some major event that makes you loose power for weeks and months on end. So it would be a really big blessing to have your freezer, fridge and pantry stocked in case of job loss, or injury preventing you from work, or any of the other many things that could happen.

    We’re trying to make sure we have our long terms foods- grains, legumes, baking supplies in stock, and rotating them – but for the 3 month-supply we have found that doing the normal foods you normally eat is a MUCH more attainable goal and easier to start. Once you have that done, sure, explore the more shelf stable stuff, or canned meat, but it’s better to start somewhere.

    More then anything we have learned that starting with small steps, you figure out what works for you and each next step becomes so much EASIER. We are so grateful for all we have learned.

    Good luck. We know exactly how you feel.

  • Tracy

    Trying to wrap my head around the new 3-month supply concept, and I have a question. In the FAQ section on, it says that this should consist of non-perishable foods with a stable shelf life. Does this mean things that will require nothing from our fridge, or does it include a well-stocked fridge and freezer as well? I like to have a good stock of meals in my freezer that just require heating or reheating.

    Now, I realize the if I were without power, that I’d lose that gold mine of frozen storage, so I shouldn’t rely solely on that. But if I stocked up on only shelf stable things – like canned chicken, which I don’t like as much as the stuff I cook, dice and freeze – I worry that I’d never use it before it went bad. What are your opinions on that?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to do this for me (and everyone else out there). It is really a blessing to have so many things explained so plainly, so that I, who am easily intimidated by things I’ve not tried before, can get a grasp on all of this. I hope you see many blessings for all you’re sharing and the time you sacrifice.

  • jweiss08

    Personally – if you can manage more then 3 months, I don’t see the problem. I think the reason 3 months is good is because it really is an attainable goal for everyone. We’ve noticed that the recommendation for how much you should store has gone down over the years and I think it’s because people (like us) found huge goals too hard to tackle. Good call on buying extras when you get your non-food essential items. It feels much less of a burden if you are constantly buying bit by bit, little at a time.

  • Misty Sutton

    Ladies, I am really curious as to what your opinion is about storing normal food items beyond the 3 month supply. Luckily most of the recipes that I already use at our house a very basic, start from scratch recipes (as I have an almost non-existant grocery budget). I already use a lot of flour, rice, beans, and so forth. But what do you think about storing a year supply of other items, such as canned vegetables, sauce mixes, or soups. I know that it is best to try to grow your own garden and can your own items, but those mason jars get pretty expensive.
    Also, as far as the non-food essential items, I came up with an idea that’s a little cheaper and doesn’t put a huge burden on my already meager grocery budget. Each time I run out of a commonly used item, i.e. toothpaste, contact solution, bath tissue, I simply buy the double pack and put half of it away. It makes it cheaper per item, and I don’t really notice as much that I’m doing it.

  • Wow, this is amazing! Thank you so much for putting this all together. I have been trying to figure out a simple and organized way to do my 3 month supply, and this is absolutely perfect. Exactly what I needed! Thank you!!

  • Sarah

    Please disregard comment about column D. I figured it out. 🙂

    I also had the same problem as Laura King, but I fooled around with Edit at the top of page. I can’t remember what I did, but it worked.

  • Sara

    Column D will not allow me to type anything in. It says it is a protected cell. Any way around it?

    Thanks for a great program!!

  • pam romero

    I read a comment from Laura King and I have that same problem. I am only downloading it into Word. Let me ask a stupid question….do I have to have Excel to download this and use it? If I fill it all in and not download it, then it will disappear, right? So if I don’t have Excel then am I out of luck?

  • Jodi

    Debbie, we totally agree with you about the non-food items. No toilet paper … eek! In the bullet points above we DO address this briefly, but it’s not included in the spreadsheet. People seem to really want it included so most likely in version 3.0 of the spreadsheet it will be added. We’ll post when we do the upgrade. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • Debbie G

    Hi Ladies,

    This is such a great site. I am now working diligently to purchase my three month supply of normal foods. I want to interject a critical point that I have incorporated as I really felt the need to do this step for myself. I have begun the process of purchasing the basics of personal hygeine in this step (just a three months supply for now). I have three girls, a husband and myself, and I could not imagine being without tampons, wipes, toilet paper or shampoo, laundry supplies, etc. so, I have begun to purchase enough of one thing, each week that will last 3 months. Hope that helps. I have had to live off food storage before as my husband was out of work for several months. I was so glad that we had these items available to us.

    Thanks for the great website! 🙂

  • Billie

    HOLY SMOKES!! My husband and I stumbled across your site today while looking to find info about grinding wheat. I am seriously impressed! You all have done an AMAZING job! I am definitely inspired, and will most certainly pass your information along. Thanks so much for all of your hard work!

  • Tara

    I just taught a class to bunch of the ladies in my church on how to use this spreadsheet, and it was a hit! They all loved it and thought that it was very helpful.

    Thanks for all of your hard work, this site has helped our entire congregation obtain our food storage easier.

    I am sending it to my mother in law, who is going to have a class at her church.

  • That is a fantastic tool. I can’t wait to show my wife, as we’ve been working hard to get our 3 month supply up. I hope lots of people follow you on Twitter and join your facebook page.


  • Jodi

    Corby, it is definitely worth it! Julie has made great use of hers already. I am a bit behind because I am having conflicts about what recipes to use. Haha. Hopefully I will get caught up soon.

    Prepare B4 Emergency, I’m glad you found our site and hope that it helps you as you get started. We have found that by working on this site it keeps us motivated and accountable and helps us do a better job at working on our own food storage.

  • Corby

    Thanks for your spreadsheet! The video made a hgue difference in understanding how to use it! To set it up, it will take ALOT of time, but I can see in the end- it wilbe worth it! Thanks again!!

  • Prepare B4 Emergency

    Thanks for the information and the Excel Sheet! I can tell you have allocated a great deal of time to create your site. I just happened across your site and have not yet begun my food storage process. With all this information you have Greatly Simplified what would otherwise be an Overwhelming Experience! Thanks Again!

  • jweiss08

    and it made sense… good explanation 🙂

  • jweiss08

    Thanks John- I’m getting ready to upload a new one that allows for more ingredients and a couple other little details, I’ll include these new formulas when I do it. I wasn’t terribly worried about the DIV/O Errors cause they go away once people fill the sheet out, but it would look cleaner without them for sure.

  • John

    Great site with lots of useful information. I wanted to give you an updated formula for your spreadsheet that will reduce the DIV/0 errors in the cells with formula’s.

    For the PLAN, use this formula: =IF(B4=0,0,B4/D4)
    For the INVENTORY AND SALE SHEET, use this: =IF(D2=0,0,D2/E2)

    The IF statement says if a cell equals zero, then put zero, otherwise run the calculation. Hope that makes sense.

  • Tara

    Thanks, it worked. This website is great, thanks for putting it together.

  • jweiss08

    When you hit the drop down box, scroll up in the little box. If you don’t have that many ingredients, then it seems blank because it’s showing you the lower half of the list (and if there aren’t a lot of ingredients it’s blank) .

  • Tara

    When I try to use the drop down menu it has no options. I put the ingredients in column A, but when I go to C62, it has no options in the drop down box. Is there something that I am forgetting to do?

  • Jodi

    Laura, what version of excel are you using? We’ve had other people download it just fine so I’m thinking it must be a problem on your end somehow.

  • When I try to download the 3 month plan worksheet, it says that it is read only, and by the time i get it, I had 155 errors. What do I need to do.

    Thank You
    Laura M.King

  • jweiss08

    The water containers were $6.88 each at Walmart. We looked around at a bunch of stores and these seemed very reasonable. I considered doing the pop bottles, or juice bottles idea, but figured I don’t normally buy that stuff anyways, so I may as well get these. If you buy juice or pop, they are good bottles to store in also.

  • Can’t wait to try some of your methods out. I also use the milk jug for our 72- hour kits. I’m trying your method I want to see how yours compares to price and weight of mine. Also, do you have a price on how much the water containers are from Walmart? Good luck on your adventure and I’m excited to follow your game plan.

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