Blue coupons were for processed goods while the red coupons were for meat, fish, and dairy products. Each person started with 48 blue points and 64 red points each month. Each month brought new ration stamps as the old ones expired. Each stamp had a number on it designating the points it was worth as well as a letter showing which "rationing period" the stamp could be used. Each rationed product had a point value assigned to it that was independent of the price. The point value could fluctuate depending on scarcity and grocers were required to keep current official point lists posted. At the checkout counter, the shopper was to remove the proper amount of stamps in the presence of the clerk. Point management was critical to effective shopping since the number of points available was limited by the rationing period. Moreover, grocers could not make change so shoppers were advised to use high-point stamps first. By 1944 evolving regulations resulted in a simplified plan that, among other things, introduced one point tokens to be given as change.
Republican Herald 4 Nov 1943
A variety of shortages occurred due to the volume of supplies needed overseas. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. They didn't make
Coca-Cola during the war because sugar was so scarce. Other things disappeared entirely such as silk stockings. New things were made of wood instead of metal or rubber. Salvage campaigns helped
save items such as: scrap metal, rubber, cooking fat and nylon/silk stockings. From these items weapons, ammunition, gas masks and explosives were made.
Rationing, instituted in the spring of 1942, was a system that provided everyone with the same amount of scarce goods. The system was designed to keep prices low and to make sure people had what they needed. Each member of the family was issued ration books, and it was the challenge of the homemaker to pool the stamps and plan the family's meals within the set limits. Lost ration books was a major headache because you couldn't buy the rationed items without the stamps. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration could buy that week. It was up to you to decide how to spend your stamps. Ration books became a way of life for everyone at home during World War II. Books were about the size of a postcard. Each one was filled with ration stamps. Ration stamps themselves were very small. You had to have ration stamps to buy things at the store. It still cost money, but you couldn't even buy it unless you had stamps
Stamps with the word "Spare" could be employed for miscellaneous resources.
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The first in War Book One will be used for the purchase of sugar. When this book was issued, the registrar asked you, or the person who applied for your book, how much sugar you owned on that date. If you had any sugar, you were allowed to keep it, but stamps representing this quantity were torn from your group (except for a small amount which you were allowed to keep without loosing any stamps. If your War Book one was issued to you on application by a member of your family, the number of torn from the books of the family was based on the amount of sugar owned by the family, and was divided as equally as possible among all the books.