Budgeting Pantry Food for a Family of Four (with Toddlers) in Japan

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I am a big fan of Prepping. Not necessarily for TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It), but for practical purposes. Budgeting your food bill is a must if you are planning to stock up your pantry with all the things you’ll need to survive a disaster in Japan.

First up. Let’s start with the numbers. If you are crazy frugal, you could possibly survive on 20,000 yen (approximately $178 at the time of this writing) a month for your family. However, considering that cheap food has a tendency to be lacking in nutrients and is loaded with pesticides, preservatives, and everything else that will make you sick, I would recommend spending the extra dollar to keep yourself healthy–which will wind up costing you less money in the end. Cut corners wherever you can, but be smart about food. Here is a sample of the cost of what you can buy here in Japan.

Storing Food in Japan
Product Per Kilo / Notes Up-Front Cost Per Month Cost 3 Month Supply
27 kilos of rice 363 yen a kilo 9,800 yen 4,900 yen 14,700 yen
30 kilos of white flour 272.2 yen a kilo 8,166 yen 8,166 yen 24,498 yen
9 kilos of organic oatmeal 586.6 yen a kilo 5,280 yen  2,640 yen 7,920 yen
9 kilos of oil 1,320 yen a liter 11,880 yen 2,970 yen 8,910 yen
5 kilos of powdered milk 1,264 yen a kilo  6,320 yen 4,213 yen (rounded) 12,639 yen
20 kilos of beans 700 yen a kilo  14,000 yen 7,000 yen 21,000 yen
120 Eggs 250 yen for 10 eggs 3,000 yen  3,000 yen 9,000 yen
Pantry Staples salt, sugar, jam, etc  5,000 yen  5,000 yen 15,000 yen
Fruit and Vegetables must buy 10,000 yen  10,000 yen 30,000 yen
Totals 73,446 yen 42,989 yen 128,967 yen

By the time I’m done buying rice, beans, oil, eggs, milk, fruits, and vegetables,  I’ve spent over 55,000 yen ($489) and that doesn’t even include pantry staples or flour! Why is everything expensive!?! Buying things in bulk can be more costly up front, but it saves you a lot of money in the end and then you are able to buy quality ingredients instead of just going along with whatever you find at the store.

Also keep in mind that if you lose access to eggs, you’ll have to up the intake of beans or find an alternative protein. Update: I crossed out the rice, because you technically only need 30 kilos of month of grains. This still keeps the total around 42,989 yen a month as a bare minimum for your family.

For those of you who want organic, you’re going to be looking at upwards of 80,000 yen ($712) a month! I would love to buy all organic, but it’s just too expensive. I’ll write another blog post about this topic later, but I hope for now, this gives you an idea of how much you’ll need to start stocking up here in Japan.

Note: You can learn more about Nuclear War Survival Skills at this link. Cresson H. Kearny has made some wonderful charts about how much food you will need listed in grams and pounds. The charts are one of the many resources available in the book to help you prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally for hard times ahead.


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