Though confusing at times, the main rules imposed by the Office of Price Administration were something like this:
Ration Book One: (May 5, 1942) 56-week supply of sugar. Each stamp = 1 pound of sugar to be used over two weeks. As time passed, each stamp was worth 2 pounds of sugar to be used over four weeks.
Ration Book Two: (January, 1943) Meat Rations. 2 1/2 pounds per week, per person (weight of cheese was deducted from meat ration). Point values of the cut of meat changed monthly.
Ration Book Three: (October, 1943) Continuation of Sugar, Meat. Addition of processed and canned foods.
Ration Book Four: (Late 1943) Continuation of all the above.
Ration Book Five: Prepared, but never used.
The overriding advice of the program, as printed on Ration Book Two:
“If you don’t need it, DON’T BUY IT.”