Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Rational Review

Now that we've survived the first day of rationing, I thought I'd review all of the rations/restrictions that we are following during this rationing year.

These allotments follow traditional U.S. civilian rationing during WWII:

Gasoline: maximum of 193 miles per week combined for our two vehicles (equivalent to the 11 gallons per week we would have been allowed during the War).
Sugar: maximum 2 pounds per week for our family of four.
Meat/Cheese/Oils: maximum 64 red points per week, following point values on this handy dandy chart (we are including poultry, which was not part of the original WWII U.S. civilian rationing program).
Canned, Frozen and Processed Fruits, Vegetables and Soups: up to 192 blue/green ration points per week following the handy dandy chart. [Editorial Note: during the 4th week of the rationing year it was discovered that we are only allowed 48 blue/green points. Big change!]
Coffee: Up to 1 pound per adult every 5 weeks.

All of the above restrictions, as well as some additional food items, are subject to change as a result of Mr. Bowles' Amazing Marketplace Scenario Randomizer.

In addition to the above we have also incorporated a host of additional restrictions during the rationing year:

Eating Out: we will eat out at a restaurant as a family only once a month, and I will have one weekend lunch out with the girls just once a month as well.
Limited Processed Foods: minimally processed and/or minimally-packaged foods will be preferred over other options (i.e. "real" carrots vs. bags of mini peeled carrots, no prepackaged snack cakes).
Seasonal Produce: only seasonal fresh produce may be purchased, following this list (if off-season, produce must be dried, canned or frozen and thus cost more rationing points).
Soda: permitted at a maximum of three 12 oz servings per week, per adult.
Limited New Purchases: all purchases must be evaluated for needs vs. wants and when possible second-hand options should be considered (Craig's List, Ebay, Goodwill and Freecycle).

We're also in the process of re-evaluating our energy usage in the Rational Living household, so additional energy ration guidelines may be added. We're notoriously bad about leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms and don't use power strips to power-down idle electronics. But that will be fodder for a future post!

In the meantime...pretty much the entire gang at the Rational Living household suspects that the eating out restrictions are where we will feel the most pain.

How often does your family eat out? Do you have a family plan about eating out, or is it more loosey-goosey?

Thanks for stopping by!

--Rational Mama


  1. Ooh I agree about the eating out once a month thing. That would for sure be the most difficult for our family.

    When we are really on point we try to eat out only 1 time a week and we are not eating at places that have a drive thru.

    Lately for us that has totally gone down the toilet. We have for sure eaten out more than once a week and as for the drive thru restriction. Yeesh. More like we don't eat there unless there IS a drive thru.

    I think the processed foods restriction would be the next most difficult.

    Time and convenience are our biggest enemies in healthful and thoughful eating.

    I meant to wish you a happy rationing day yesterday, so here is a belated Happy Rationing Day!

  2. We only eat out 1-2 times a year, for our anniversary, or for my husband's/my birhtday (usually combined as they are the same month). We only go out to eat (and just the two of us, not the whole family) when my parents watch the children for us for one of those occasions, and give us money to go out to dinner as our gift for that occasion. That's it for us.

    So, are you planning a victory garden to supplement? Are you only going to plant the things that were typically included in a victory garden? I read a list of those items this last year, and I realized that I have much more variety than that in my own garden. I am, however, planting turnips. Both root and greens are edible, which is wonderful. We don't have snow, so I grow mine throughout the winter.

  3. This past year our "official" eating out pattern was 2 times a month as a family and then 3 quickie meals out with just me and the girls a month. Of course, some months we deviated from that quite a bit. Prudent Homemaker - I am an awe of your discipline!

    We also have an abundant garden every year but the pressure will be on to expand in both size and variety this summer. I plan on taking over a nearby vacant back yard but if that doesn't pan out I'll hook up with a local community garden. It would be wonderful to grow produce all year long but, alas, it's not possible here! With a cold frame, though, I can get a head start on certain cool weather crops like spinach and broccoli.

    Thanks for the great comments!

  4. we go through weird spurts of eating out and not eating out. we try to dine out, alone, for our b-day (same b-day so it works well)and anniv. but we also take the girls on a special date for their b-day. other than that we can go weeks, even months w/o eating out, but since the holidays have been nearing we ate subway at least 2x per week (i know, it's bad)! then of course i have the occasional friend dinner date--speaking of, are we still able to grab coffee/beer/etc? also, i'm fine with finding a spot near you since your rationing the gas :)

  5. I've been researching rationing (both U.S. and British), and found your blog. Like you, I am also a black-belt frugalite, yet wanted to find a place to go further (in case Obama's tax fantasies come true).

    Also, I'm looking for a diet I can put my husband on that allows for food allergies, sugar limits (pre-diabetes), and surgically-induced hypertension. I may want to play along too, and I'm Celiac with multiple food allergies, so going out to eat is NOT on our list!

    Basically, I just wanted to know if I could do better as a frugalite, and maybe shed some pounds as well--standard frugality may show us how to save money and purchase food more effectively, but doesn't show us how to EAT more effectively...and neither does the farm subsidy program-based Food Guide Pyramid.

    I'd even go so far as to say I'd like to see the Food Stamp program aligned with the rationing system rather than the farm subsidy program (where farmers get paid to grow excess, then that excess is given to food stamp recipients in their allotments). God knows the rationing program is healthier by far, especially when combined with fresh produce!

  6. Welcome, Wenchypoo! Beware, the American ration system is not an inherently low-calorie plan. I'd recommend the rationing program from the UK during the same period for those purposes - much more restrictive in both variety and calories.