I was inspired to try this challenge several years ago by another blogger (an extreme couponer) who did a $1/day eating challenge. You can read his account on GroceryCoupon.com (Note this account is several years old and many stores now have policies that won't allow you to use some of the techniques he employed.)
But I have an aversion to extreme couponing. I wanted to tackle the challenge by using a shopping approach that was a bit more realistic to the average person. The biggest obstacle I had was living with my parents, where there is always at least a month's worth of food in the house, but I didn't have my own separate prep or storage space. Well, my own apartment solves those issues, so this was a perfect time to do this challenge properly.
1. I would start with no food and buy groceries weekly. $7/wk (This challenge is actually much easier if you do most of it in a monthly lump.) and feature a different store each week. (Aiming for at least 2 to not be traditional grocery stores.)
2. The challenge will be for 4 weeks.
3. Free food is fair game as long as it's available to the general public. (Not that it's available everywhere but that anyone could walk in and get the same thing as long as supplies last.)
4. Coupons are fair game, but no extreme couponing. (Basically no more than 1 coupon per item...no multiples or buying stuff I don't need to get cash back.)
5. Must aim for the healthiest options I can find in the budget limit. And since you could start World War III trying to get people to agree on what healthy is, we'll define healthy as "a variety of foods, the majority of which should come from plants." (Citation needed...I know this is a quote, but haven't managed to hunt down who said it first.)
6. Because I'm doing this to talk about shopping skills, I won't use survivalist techniques, grow my own food, or use food banks. However, if you're actually in a situation where you only have $7 to feed yourself for the week, I encourage you to go to a food bank and learn about backyard greens that you can use. Later in the video series we may talk about growing your own food, which is a great supplement, but other people can educate you better than I on this particular subject.
Additional Information: I am in my mid-thirties and according to my doctor in very good healthy with the exception that I'm about 30lbs overweight. (I was 169lbs at the start of this challenge, and my ideal weight is about 120, normal range tops at 140. My doctor did not say anything about my weight, but it's worth noting for the challenge.) Since I have some fat reserves, I do not need to worry about hitting the same calorie or fat minimums that a skinnier person should try to hit each day, and I would consider it a bonus to lose weight this month. I don't consider this a cheat, but it is worth noting that this affects my food choices.
I do not suggest this challenge for minors or people with significant medical issues. I would suggest this challenge with modifications for people who want to challenge themselves to learn about healthier cheap options, or have a bad habit of not eating the food in their pantry. (This is a lot less boring if you allow yourself spices and condiments, which I didn't do.)
P.S. I am fundraising for the production side of the videos as well as publishing costs for the new edition, so please check out my MinimumWageSINK Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/MinimumWageSINK) and consider becoming a Patron. If I can get 20 Patrons by the end of August, I'll do a 5th week.