If at first you don’t succeed . . .

. . . rework it until you do!

The early 1940’s will forever interest me. Faced with a tight budget, I returned to Marguerite Patten’s books for inspiration. Then a colleague commented that my new work dress was “very forties-esque!” Then I re-read Frugal in Norfolk’s Wartime Diaries. I could resist no longer.

Here are my rationed food items for one week:


225g sugar (already had)

2 pints semi-skimmed milk (89p)

250g cooking fat/marg/butter (all in one form of Stork – 70p)

450g jam (to last 8 weeks – 90p)

50g cheese (deli – 25p!)

100g ham (deli – £1.09)

50g tea (already had)

80g sweets (80p)



All rations were calculated using the guidelines featured in We’ll Eat Again. For the meat ration, I converted old money to new money, then used an inflation calculator to give me the value of £2.19 to spend on meat each week. This pork crackling joint was yellow-stickered down to £2.25, which I decided was close enough.

There was also a points system, but as it changed frequently due to availability, I have decided (until I gather more knowledge) that I shall buy two store cupboard items each week.


I chose 4xchopped tomatoes (£2 – offer) and 500g gluten-free pasta (£1.40). Bread was not rationed until after the war, but as gluten-free products are so expensive, I decided I would only buy it if it could be found on offer. I was lucky on this trip to come home with two caramelised onion rolls. They are delicious. I’m sure medicine would have been in short supply during the war, so I shall have to make my pack of ibuprofen last!

And finally, we all know what wasn’t rationed during the period – good old fruit and veg!


Sweet potatoes (£1.85)

Basics frozen berries (£1.29)

Basics apples (50p)

Red onions (25p)

Carrots (Doctor Carrot! – 32p)

Spinach £1


I shall be using up various things I’ve got in my fridge, freezer and cupboard. But once they are gone, they are gone! Unless they can be included in points. In an effort to stop hoarding and using up what I’ve got, I’ve stopped using the top drawer of my filing cabinet as a larder. Now everything belongs in my single cupboard, or on top of it.

I do believe rationing is the best way to stick to a budget (£15 in total in my case) and eat healthily. I have learnt my lessons from my previous attempt and am now buying weekly, then trying to eke things out for the whole month. Rations round two, let’s see if I will succeed.



4 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed . . .

  1. This is an interesting concept. I’m curious to see how it works out for you, although like Alison I don’t think I’d be able to do it…

  2. All good fruit and veg there except perhaps the sweet potatoes, as they would come in from abroad. Again, true to rationing for today, you would have them initially but perhaps not later on. Try just general rationing first, wait several months before beginning points rationing so you don’t get discouraged.

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