I have helped people like her before, but in person, and not via e-mail or Facebook. This kind of distance coaching isn't my intended direction for fitness coaching, but I did want to help this friend, so I replied:
Sorry I've not responded to your note yet. I'm juggling a lot of private and gym clients right now, plus mid-summer vacations. Yes, life is good even if busy. :-) I wish I could afford more time for e-mails to friends, but facebook updates are about all I can do right now.
Anyway, about these 30, I think you've got the right idea to take some time with it. Make it a steady effort for 3 weeks at a time, taking a shorter-term view of progress rather than getting lost in the big picture. It's easy to see 10lbs x3 as more attainable than all 30 at a go. Weight loss is a struggle of inches as well as pounds. Start with some good basic measurements to see progress in more than just your "skinny jeans" fit.
Now for the specifics: I doubt that there's a lot of dietary expertise that I could bring to your situation without asking for food logs and making detailed shopping lists for you. I do know that everything I've experienced and read says that more protein, more veggies, and more water helps. Similarly, you want less processed (boxed, wrapped, shelved) foods, less alcohol/sugar, and less eating overall (portion control) to help keep excess calories out. Eat more veggies, fruits, berries, and grains is my first tip.
Basically, You'll need to eat healthy, less refined, raw or natural "ABS DIET" power foods as much as possible. Check out the list if you haven't already seen it. About 80% of foods for most athlete's and weight loss diets will come from it. My one allowance for boxed breakfast is raisin bran or old-fashioned 3-5 lb. round cannister of quaker oats, no packets. To prepare, just add water or milk until some of the oats float and microwave for 2-3 mins.
I don't know if dairy or eggs work for you, but both are excellent proteins if you skip the full-fat milks/cheeses or yolks. Even on a budget, a gallon of skim milk and a doz eggs should be affordable protein sources. Hardboiled eggs are super-portable too and easy to prepare with 10mins boiling water.
Canned tuna and chicken roasted or baked and cooked in bulk can provide great sandwich material, and making them yourself will save you a lot of cals and cost. I know saving money is important to you, and I encourage practicing the disciplines of cooking your own meals and packing your food to-go with you as much as possible. Carry water with you everywhere and spend nothing on beverages except your emergen-C packets. Good stuff!
Basically, I think you already know the answers. Eat good stuff, and not too much of it. Move more and preserve muscles by keeping protein intake high, but natural. The rest is a matter of budgeting in the time and effort to stay focused and in control of how/when/how much you eat. Not to be cryptic, but it's all within you. E-mail me @sunnydayfitness.com for more info and Let me know how you do, OK?
Take care, -Sunny