Tip 5: Determine what's a necessity, a need, a want, and a luxury.
Okay, I was aiming for $30, so I hit $40.83 this week. But my power crunch bars were $9.00 for 7. These are definitely NOT a necessity -- aka I can live without them. However, they do help curb food cravings, do add to my protein intake for the day, and are written into my food plan. So does that make them a need? They certainly are a want and a luxury. Decide what you can live without. What's going to put you over budget that you don't NEED. Another example, I love the mix of sunflower seeds, pecans, and dried cranberries in the bulk section. It's about $3.80 for a weeks worth. It's a luxury though, so I skipped it this time to stay under budget.
Things that would qualify as necessities are veggies, 1-2 types of fruit (It's easy to turn fruit into a luxury though, so don't go crazy with mangos and pineapples), basic protein sources like chicken, cod, turkey, (sorry but steak is a luxury not a need), bread (whole wheat, skip the dinner rolls or Texas toast = luxury).
Things that would qualify as a need are basic items on your meal plan that add nutritional value or keep you from eating poor alternatives. Things such as almond butter (or just almonds), multigrain flat bread, rice cakes, or I would argue protein bars or granola bars (or a protein shake).
Want's I would count as turkey bacon or breakfast sausage. They are good alternatives to unhealthy options but don't have a lot of nutritional value (+ turkey bacon has like no protein which I just found out and was largely disappointed in). Other want's would be Almond milk for smoothies or almond milk + cereal. Even if it's healthified it's still a want and add's $$ to your budget.
Luxury items are a little more obvious. Ice cream, crackers, mangos, grapes, granola etc. Things that rack up the cost quick and are not going to make you starve or miss out on a food group.
So.. did you catch the total?
$40.83 for one human being eating a 2,000 calorie diet in one week.
-No, I didn't need $9 worth of power crunch bars. So subtract $9 if you think this is a luxury.
-Yes, I drink Shakeology daily as a snack with water and the fruit I bought, so add $4 a day to my total if it's killing you.
-AND the ground turkey rang up as $7.98 when it was posted at $2.97 for the sale price.
-No, I didn't secretly use coupons or my rewards -- both of which the teller asked if I wanted to. To be fair I spent the extra $.
So your actual subtotal, (everything above considered + Shakeology) would be: $54.82 per week
Other ways to save: If you coupon, power to you, I might take this up as another hobby. Maybe write a blog about your couponing and share it with me? I've found that there are never coupons for healthy options, maybe you know something I don't?