Life can make a hash out of the most carefully thought through plans. I have already failed the rationing plan, a mere two weeks into the experiment.
I have gone so far over the allocated sweets ration, it’s laughable. My will power has failed me and I continued to nibble on sweets at work and chocolate offered by housemates. After a particularly tiring shift, I purchased a chocolate bar myself after work. It was only after I clutched an empty wrapper that I remembered my rationing challenge. A convenient slip of the mind perhaps? My sweet tooth knows no limits.
The other rationing staple I have found hard to manage was packaged groceries. This past fortnight has shown me how much I rely on tinned fruit and vegetables, as well as bagged pulses, nuts and grains. Another thing I’ve learnt during this time is that I don’t consume much meat. I do eat meat and I always have. But I didn’t buy the entire allocated meat ration, and I still have portions left in the freezer. It could be argued that if I ate the meat available, I wouldn’t have room for black market chocolate. I don’t think my sweet tooth would see it that way though.
The original purpose of the experiment was to see if I could save money. On one hand, it ensured I had plenty of food in the house to create balanced meals. If I had been able to rigidly stick to the guidelines, I would not have gone hungry. But day to day life made it difficult to stay within those guidelines. And life doesn’t need to be made any more difficult. I think a key reason why I couldn’t stay with rationing solidly is selfish pride. It is snobbish pride that refuses to allow myself to serve up rationing inspired meals to anyone else but myself. If the chap came for a visit, it was an excuse for a meal outside restrictions.
For myself, I’ll cheerfully enjoy budget meals, but I cannot bring myself to inflict my personal frugality on others. Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe, if I’m not careful, I soon won’t have a choice about being frugal. It will be necessary for survival. I think this fortnight has taught me valuable lessons on living on less.
To conclude, I think following a ration based diet is good if you naturally eat in a “meat and two veg” style regardless. But for me, I think there might be a cheaper way to do things, a notion I will be putting into practice in the future.