Ordinary rations (as would be today) per adult per week/month - (half this for children 6 and under)

4oz ham or bacon
2oz butter
4oz margarine
3oz cheese - (or 8 oz if vegetarian instead of meat)
2oz lard/dripping/or equivalent weight in oil
3 pints milk (we only use 7 between us anyway, a bonus!)
8oz sugar
2oz tea (we now use loose tea, but tea bags are easier to cope with such small amounts)
1 egg - eventually 1 per fortnight from 1942 (double for vegetarians)
3oz sweets
2oz fish - not rationed but hard to get hold of!
1 sausage - again, difficult to get
 Meat - See ** below!

1 bottle/small jar Camp/normal coffee per month - difficult to get hold of!
1 packet dried milk per month
1/2 lb onions per 2 months - not rationed but this reflects their rarity!
1 packet dried egg every 4 weeks when available
1 small tub cocoa every 2 months

** I have since found a yearly inflation price comparison web site which can be found here. As the average price ration for meat was 1s 2d you can calculate how that weekly amount per person compares to today. Put in the year first if wanting to check on today's price then it will display the shilling (s) box and penny (d) box. 

I have just recalculated the figure for 2014 (in brackets) and it has reflected the changes from when I did the diary in the 1990's! Remember this is for other meat only. Ham/Bacon ration was on top of this amount.

1939 - £2.87 (3.42)
1940 - £2.80 (3.32)
1941 - £2.45 (2.84)
1942 - £2.25 (2.56)
1943 - £2.13 (2.39)
1944 - £2.07 (2.32)
1945 - £2.03 (2.25)

Post War

1946 - (£2.20)

The corned beef or Spam portion from these amounts are 1/7th. Therefore in 1939 the weekly amount would be £2.93 for meat and 49p for corned beef or Spam. 

Talking of Spam. I have heard the name usually described at Shoulder of Pork n Ham. However, I was recently reading a Government booklet about rations and they said it stood for - Supplied Pressed American Meat. So now you know!

You can see how desperate the situation was getting year on year.

Points System - our average at 20 each per month

British tinned fruit 8 per lb
Cereals 4 per lb
Chocolate biscuits 8 per lb
Sweet/filled biscuits 4 per lb
Plain biscuits 2 per lb
Crackers 2 per lb
Dried Fruit 8 per lb
Dried peas/beans/lentils etc. 4 per lb
Jam/Golden syrup/black treacle 4 per lb
Imported tinned fruit 12 per lb
Other tinned fish 12 per lb
Condensed Milk 4 per lb tin - 10 points from 1942
Porridge or other oats 2 per lb
Rice/Pasta 2 per lb
Tinned beans/peas 4 per lb
Tinned Meat 16 per lb
Tinned Salmon/Tuna 16 per lb
Tinned Tomatoes 6 per lb
Tinned soup - 6 points per lb
Soap Rations 3 coupons each per month - For 1 coupon you can choose just one item from the list below:

4 oz hard soap – (green scrubbing soap)
3 oz toilet soap – (hand washing soap)
1/2 pint good quality liquid soap OR 1 pint cheap liquid soap
6 oz soft soap – shampoo/conditioner etc.
3 oz soap flakes – (Lux wool flakes etc)
6 oz good quality soap powder OR 12 oz cheap soap powder – (this today would be laundry powder and cleaning powder such as Vim or cleaning sprays etc)

20 cwt of coal type products per month 


Clothes rationing began in 1941 and ended in 1949. In the first year, each adult was given 66 coupons. In 1942 the coupons dropped to 48, 1943 down to 36 and 1945 only 24 (values given by the Imperial War Museum). See the chart below for some idea of what your coupons could buy you in 1942.
This chart came courtesy of: http://www.photodetective.co.uk/jpegs/Fashion-Ration.jpg

Many things were not rationed but were nonetheless, very difficult to obtain. These were boiler suits, workmen's overalls, hats and caps, sewing thread, boot and shoe laces, ribbons and other fabrics less than 3 inches in width, elastic, lace, sanitary towels, braces, suspenders, garters, clogs and black out dyed cloth. Headgear, other than that made from scarves or hankies was also exempt.

Here is another lovely blog to check out the price of other foods and other things here





  1. I'm glad to see that I worked out the same value for the meat ration as you, and factored in a reasonable amount for tinned meat. I'm really pleased to find your blog and am trying hard to do something similar. :)

    Thank you

    KB xx

  2. You are welcome - it really was the only answer to our situation at that time. However, after 5 - 6 years of it, it has stuck now as part of our everyday eating. Only a few luxuries are cater for now.

  3. Hiya.........Just reading through the rations list ( the most comprehensive I've yet found, fantastic!), & I wondered about rationing of flour? Was flour rationed? I imagine it would have been, but do you have any idea of the quantities allowed please?
    Thanks for writing your "wartime" blog, I find it fascinating and I'm thinking of joining in, as things are getting more and more difficult money-wise as the months go by.

  4. Hi Bets. To my knowledge flour was not rationed during the war although I have found some sites that mention it coming off ration in 1948. Bread was only rationed for a short time after the war (flour could have been rationed then?) but you have to remember that we were very heavily involved in the Berlin air lift as well as helping to feed those countries that were quite literally starving after the war. So, it could have been rationed post war but I cannot find any evidence of this. The National loaf (and presumably flour) was just about 100% wholemeal to try and make it go further. If you write, email or phone the Imperial War Musuem and enquire about Information Sheet No 20 - Rationing in Great Britain during the second World War, you might be able to get hold of a copy of how rations, allocations and points varied throughout the war. We found this a little too difficult to do so averaged everything throughout the duration.

  5. Spam is actually a shortened way to say SPICED HAM

    1. Thanks. According to Wikipedia there are several explanations of what it stands for.


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