Saturday, January 22, 2011

Create a Blog Mind Map

Remember when you were in grade school and you were taught how to make a brainstorming web or a mind map? It's time to apply that skill to help you gather your blogging thoughts into one place. All you need is a pencil and piece of paper, or a computer program that will allow you to make your own mind map like the one you see below.

Here is an example mind map that you can create for your blog. I opened up Microsoft Word and went to Insert > SmartArt tools. I found the option to create a mind map to show you. I keep a mind map at home but it is far more complex with even more branches coming off of each category. I thought I would show this basic mind map to you and allow you to go through and create the branches for your categories so that the mind map will be personalized for you.

You will see that my website is in the middle of the mind map. I decided to chart each major category for my blog that I could think of. Why is this helpful? This is helpful for those days that you run out of ideas to post. You can pull out your mind map and get a quick glance at a category that will help give you ideas for posts, and is also a way to keep your thoughts organized.

My main categories are: Money Saving Tips, Free Samples, Coupons, Daily Deals, Referral Programs, Giveaways and Reviews, Guest Posts, Surveys, Affiliates, Advertising, Blog Hops and Link Ups, and Blogging Tips.

From these categories, you can choose what you would like to write around each bubble. For example, on my coupon bubble, I have categories such as Red Plum,, CellfireSmartSource, Target, coupon matchups, and coupon codes.

My Daily Deals bubble includes categories such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Zulily, and Deal Pulp.

Around my rewards programs, I have categories such as Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars, Send Earnings, Pampers Gifts to Grow, Huggies Enoy the Ride, and Disney Movie Rewards.

I enjoy my mind map and use it daily. I like to be able to refer to it during those times when I need a few ideas to go by. We all know that there are alot of areas in our day to day blogging and this gives you a place to track them all onto one page. When you are low on ideas, refer to your mind map and see which areas you may need to focus on at that time.

*Note: This mind map can be applied to any blog niche, not just for frugal blogs. Think about the categories included in your blog niche to create your mind map.

Free Valentine's Day Cards

You can score a set of free personalized Valentine's Day Cards with the purchase of My Very Own Fairy Tale or My Very Own Pirate Tale personalized children's books! If you just want the personalized cards, they are $4.95 per set. Order now so that you can get them by Valentine's Day!

Free Dog or Cat Toy

Get a Free Dog or Cat Toy from

Get a free dog or cat toy from

PetSmart Coupon Code

LT - 090909 - 250x250 Logo

PetSmart is still running this great deal. Take $4 Off Your Order of $15 or More at PetSmart! Enter Code AFF11JAN at Checkout. Offer ends 2/1/11.

Show Off Your Pet!

Join The Internet's Premier Social Network For Pets! Create a profile for you and your pets. Make friends, watch videos and use forum. Win a $100 Petco Gift Card every week. Click above to create your FREE Profile Now!

Shop With Shopscotch

Get extra cash back from hundreds of top brands when you buy through Shopscotch. Join free today and get $5.00 Credit! Shopscotch is a social cash back shopping site.

Deal Pulp: Organic Baby Apparel

Grab this deal on Deal Pulp for $20 for $40 to Spend on Organic Baby Apparel with Free Shipping from

Why It's Fresh

•Premium environmentally safe organic baby clothing at affordable prices
•Clothes are manufactured in 100% fair-trade work environments
•Choose from infant bodysuits, baby tees, sleepwear, hooded towels, bathrobes, and more

Fine Print Other guidelines apply

Limit 1 per person. Expires January 24, 2012. Free shipping included. Within 48 hours you will receive a promo code by email that can be used to redeem the deal on

The Blogger Spotlight

Blog #1 in the Spotlight: Brooklyn Bargainista

Living in New York City is exciting... and expensive. In order to enjoy all of the things the city has to offer, I look for ways to cut back in my everyday purchases. Couponing allows my family to eat healthy meals while saving at least 50% on our grocery bill each week. I also hunt for online bargains for gifts and other household needs. Here's a little background on how I got started:

In 2008, my husband and I had just moved from a home we owned in Orlando, FL to a rental house in Tampa, FL. We had a 13-month old and I was 8 months pregnant with our 2nd child. Within 2 weeks of moving, the closing fell through on our house in Orlando, we were stuck with a mortgage payment and a rent payment, and I needed to look for a way to save money.

I found a website that had coupon matchups for my local grocery stores as well as drug stores in FL. Once I got the hang of it, I made it my goal to save more than I spent at the grocery store each week. When we moved to Brooklyn in August of 2011, I was worried about how much money I'd have to spend on groceries. After all, I had been spending less than $100/week to feed a family of 4, and my trusty go-to website for deals didn't go any farther north than Charlotte. Since I was unable to find a local website that did the coupon matchups, I started doing them on my own. I quickly realized that it wouldn't be that much more work to post them online so that others could benefit as well.

Audrey is an active toddler who likes to help momma in the kitchen. They share their adventures and tips about cooking and baking with a toddler so that others will feel comfortable with children in the kitchen. Stop by to see what they are fixing now at In The Kitchen With Audrey.

I will continue to feature "The Blogger Spotlight" as my way of recognizing other blogs. If you are interested in being featured, submit your blog link to The Frugal Free Gal with a write up of what you would like to include. I accept family friendly blogs only. I will let you know when you will be featured. I accept on a first come, first serve basis!

Jib Jab Valentine's Day eCards

JibJab Valentine's Day eCards 300x250
Head on over and check out the different Valentine's Day eCards at

Valentine's Day Pillow Pets

Check out the All New Valentine's day Pillow Pets collection. These would make great gifts for the little ones! Choose between a gorilla, bear, frog, or bunny. My daughter has the ladybug pillow pet and she loves it!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Did You Get Your Deal?

LivingSocial is my new favorite online daily deal site. I still love Groupon too, but LivingSocial just had the very popular deal for $10 for a $20 gift code. So, LivingSocial, you won my heart already. I grabbed my deal and posted it into my Amazon account already and can't wait to see what awesome deals you throw out to us next!

Diabetes Awareness Wristband

Diabetes Awareness

Show your Support for Diabetes Awareness with this Wristband.

Groupon Daily Deals

Restaurants, Salons and Events up to 90% off! Find deals in your city with Groupon.

Flowers for Your Valentine

Beautiful fresh-from-the-field flowers from just $19.99. Plus you'll receive a Free Vase with your order. Click Here

Share Your Savings Link Up

Did you find any great deals this week? We want to know about them! Share your great deals here every Saturday and Sunday at "Share Your Savings." This linky will close on Sunday night at 11:59p.m. Come back next week to link up! You can post any deals that you received at grocery stores, department stores, garage sales, or thrift stores! Feel free to also post CVS, Walgreens, or any other store match ups.

New Printable Coupons

Print the coupons below that you are interested in.

$2.00 off One Woolite All in One Carpet Cleaning
$1.00 off Schiff Mega-D3™
$2.00 off Schiff MegaRed
$1.00 off any Schiff Vitamin or Supplement
$1.00 off one (1) Simply Saline product
$0.55 off on VLASIC Pickles, Peppers or Relish
$0.75 off Any ONE (1) SHAKE 'N BAKE Product
$0.50 off New Hostess SmartBakes™ Streusel Cakes
$0.55 off 3 boxes of JELL-O Gelatin or Pudding
$1.00 off any Urinozinc Prostate Formula
$0.50 off the Feb issue of Better Homes & Gardens

Free Carried Away Lotion

If you are heading out this weekend, be sure to stop by a Bath & Body Works and pick up a free 2 oz. bottle of Carried Away Lotion. Print the coupon and use it anytime between January 21-23.

Organic Samples

Organic Samples and Health Offers are Yours -- No Charge. Click Here

Free Coffee Sample

Fill out a short survey to receive a free sample of Rogers Coffee.


Deal at Shari's Berries

Shari's Berries offers nearly 200 products ranging from our signature hand-dipped berries, to bakery fresh hand-dipped cookies, to truffles, to luxurious cheesecakes and much more. All starting at under $20! Click Here


Free Beech Nut Toddler Kit

Get a free Beech Nut Toddler Kit.

(Thanks, Brooklyn Bargainista!)


Mega Swagbucks Day

I have been a member of Swagbucks for seven months. It is my favorite online rewards program. I have earned $275 in Amazon Gift Cards so far and have already redeemed most of my earnings. This year, I was able to purchase gifts for all of my nieces and nephews with my earnings, and I still had some leftover to buy myself a little something! When you sign up for Swagbucks, you will get 30 Swagbucks to start with. Today is Mega Swagbucks Day, where you can earn lots of Swagbucks for searching and more! I already have friends that have earned several gifts cards also and are fans of Swagbucks. After signing up, you can read my tips for earning Swagbucks at the top of my homepage. If you aren't a member, you are missing out!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Free Soup Sample

Request a free sample of Maggi Soup.


Friday Blog Hop 1/21

1. Follow Host "The Frugal Free Gal" and Co-Host "Inspiring You 2 Save"
2. Add your blog link.
3. Follow any blogs below that you are interested in.
4. Tweet this blog hop as active so we can get others on board!
5. Grab the "Frugal Fridays" Button for your blog.
6. Grab the linky code and place it on your blog in a new post.


DealPulp Deal of the Day

Check out this great deal on DealPulp: $8 for $20 to Spend on Subscriptions to Over 400 Popular Magazine Titles on

•Over 400 popular magazine titles, all at the lowest publisher authorized prices
•Absolutely no hidden fees, and no auto-renewals once your subscriptions expire
•100% unconditional money back guarantee

Fine Print Other guidelines apply
Limit 1 per person. Expires July 21, 2011. Promo code can be used for multiple orders. Within 48 hours you will receive a promo code by email that can be used to redeem the deal on


Free Valentine's eBook


Free Offer: Two Valentine’s Day Craft Books - Cupid's Handmade Crafts eBook and Valentine's Day Crafts from Famous Bloggers Click Here


Free CoverGirl Sample

Request a free CoverGirl® Natureluxe foundation sample. Click on the "Free Sample" button on the bottom right corner of the page.


SwimSpot Review/Giveaway

Spring and Summer are around the corner! Have you considered what you will be wearing to the pool or beach this year? If you want to look your best, let SwimSpot help you find exactly what you need! SwimSpot is the #1 online swimwear boutique that features designer swimwear that includes: Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Luxe by Lisa Vogel, Hurley, Hurley Girl, Reef, Next by Athena, Athena, Ella Moss, and Splendid.

I was very impressed with the designs at SwimSpot. I like that they offer a variety of designs to fit your needs. You can find swimwear that "reveals" or swimwear that "covers" areas that you want covered. As a mother, I know I have areas that I would love covered and usually choose the one piece suits. I fell in love with the Luxe by Lisa Vogel- Socialite Maillot One Piece suit, Athena Pick Your Fit Maldives Slimming Halter One Piece, and the St. John's Solidly Elegant One Piece. I prefer black suits since black is slimming, but SwimSpot offers several different colors such as black, white, pink, blue, yellow, and brown. SwimSpot offers several different prints from solids, stripes, swirls, animal prints, polka dots, and floral prints. I couldn't leave the shop withouth peeking  into the "Hurley Girls" section where you can find swimsuits for children. I personally liked the Hurley Girls Puerto Rico one piece suit.


If you are  interested in "trying on" any of the suits, you may want to check out two great features at SwimSpot, the Fit Specialist Program and the Bikini Builder Application. These two programs are what set SwimSpot apart from other swimwear/activewear websites.

Fit Specialist Program

SwimSpot currently has a Fit Specialist program. You the customer can call the 1-877-684-7946 or email and connect with a Fit Specialist. You can schedule a "fit" appointment. You can send an email to the team and they will provide you with only the best style, brand and fit recommendations. The Fit Specialist Swimwear program allows all women to shop for swimwear online much in the same way they would shop for swimsuits for women in person at the local department store or swimwear boutique. The team of Fit Specialists have available to them best-in-class sizing charts and fit solutions based on today's styles and cuts. Additionally, they frequently update their womens swimwear best sellers and top swimsuit trends lists so customers have a place to start their shopping experience. 

Bikini Builder Application

SwimSpot created the Bikini Builder application because they know that their customers not only want to shop the racks, but also want to play designer and come up with fresh looks to help them standout in a crowd. You as the shopper can mix and match - mismatch if you please - from hundreds of swimwear bikini tops and bottoms, modest swimsuit tankini tops, swimsuit boy shorts, and tons of other styles and designs. No other swimwear website in the world offers an application that makes it this easy to shop and build one-of-a-kind women's swimwear separates bikinis. I went into the bikini builder application and was able to just click tops and bottoms and in an instant, created a few great matches! The application is very easy and fun to use.

SwimSpot is giving one lucky reader $50 to use on their website. Please leave a separate comment for each entry with your email address spelled out (ex. thefrugalfreegal at yahoo dot com).

Mandatory Entry:

Like SwimSpot on Facebook AND become a VIP. (VIP is free: just enter name and email address) *This is one entry.

Bonus Entries: 

-Follow blog via Google Friend Connect (right sidebar)
-Subscribe *and* confirm in email (top right sidebar)
-Like The Frugal Free Gal on Facebook
-Follow The Frugal Free Gal on Twitter
-Blog about giveaway and leave link
-Tweet giveaway and leave link
-Post giveaway on Facebook and leave link
-Grab my button and leave blog link
-Grab my Frugal Fridays button and leave blog link
-Post this on any giveaway linky and leave link

Giveaway ends 2/7 at 11:59EST. I will choose a winner at and will email the winner within 24 hours of the giveaway ending date. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: SwimSpot offered to give one reader $50 to their website in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.