Back to Frugal Living Basics


It's back to frugal living basics with our Frugalista Amrita Singh, who says it all starts at home. Change your mindset about spending and take this gentle reminder to get back to the basics of frugal living.

Back to Frugal Living Basics

The Five Dollar-a-Day Savings Plan

Put the plastic away and get back to using cash so you don't spend like a maniac. Try a simple new saving plan: put every $5 bill you notice into your "stash" jar and keep depositing the collection to your bank. You'll be amazed how fast these savings add up and it's a totally painless way to put saving back on your priority list. Our Frugalista saved $400 on this plan in just one year. 

Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

It only takes $8 to make all the cleaning supplies for the entire house. Homemade cleaners are better for your health and the environment, and because so many people are moving towards this trend there are great tried and tested recipes online so you can be sure what you make will work! Just mix some dish soap and baking soda for the best bathroom cleaning — it's amazing in sinks and showers!

Big Batch Meal Day

One of the biggest money-saving tips is to make your own food. If you do nothing else, dedicate one afternoon to making a big batch meal! For the more advanced frugalistas you can attach food prep into that afternoon as well. prewash, precut vegetables, par-boil stuff... just get organized with your food for the week. To get you started, here's our Frugalita's absolute favourite big batch meal, ChickBeSa! Stands for chicken, beans and salsa. 

The beauty of this big batch recipe is the fact it can be made in one pot, in twenty minutes. And, once it's made it can be served in multiple ways! Cost to make: $12 for 12 servings.


1 can (19 oz) black beans
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup onion, diced (optional)
1 fresh green chili, sliced (optional)
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
3 Tbsp cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro


Pour beans, salsa, corn, onion, chilies, broth, water, tomato paste and garam masala into a stockpot. Bring to boil on medium high heat.

Turn down to a simmer and let mixture cook and thicken for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add chicken, cream cheese and cilantro. Mix until cheese has melted. Let simmer for 5 minutes until chicken is warmed.

Serve over top white rice. Store leftovers in fridge and use to make salad and/or as filling inside wraps.

Do the Math

Now a quick math moment to help make better buying decisions. If you make $15/hour and you see a pretty dress for $60 it means it will take four hours of work to pay that cost. Is the dress worth four hours of work? It's so easy to get into the habit of asking these types of questions, and make decisions accordingly. And, one of the best frugal shopping tips is to look at unit prices in the grocery stores. The unit price makes buying the best priced item a cinch — look at the cost per unit measurement instead of the total cost. 

There you have it! Some simple back to frugal living basics to act as a gentle reminder!

Amrita Singh with Steven and Chris