Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best Ways to Save Money in 2011

What are the best ways to save money in 2011? It depends on your lifestyle and personality (eg, How much debt do you have? What's your money personality?). But these unusual ways to save money work for most people most of the time.

They're more psychological than the "same old same old" money saving tips...

Best Ways to Save Money in 2011

Relate your financial goals to your overall life purpose. What do you want to do with your life — where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? Your thoughts become things, so stay focused on what you want to achieve in your life. Relate your life goals to specific money goals. Say, for instance, your life goal is to live in a home with a view of the ocean. Cut a picture of your dream home out of a magazine, or sketch it yourself. Paste it your fridge, bathroom mirror, office wall. That vision will help you stay motivated to save money this year.

Get rid of household and office clutter. When your home is cluttered, you often spend money to replace things you can’t find. You keep buying “organizers" such as containers and shelving units -- and you may even hire a professional organizer. Sometimes you buy things you don’t need to declutter your home — and they just cause more clutter and more debt! So, one of the best ways to save money in 2011 is to declutter. The less clutter you have, the better able you can see and find the things you need. Food will be less likely to go bad in the fridge. Warranties and guarantees and receipts will be at your fingertips. You won't have to spend money replacing stuff you have, but can’t find. Decluttering can even increase your motivation to set and achieve financial goals.

Activate two money saving tips a month. We see the best ways to save money everywhere – the internet, budget books, our rich old aunts, on placemats at funky restaurants. But do we actually apply them to our lives? Nope. It’s too much. So we need to be strategic about saving money in 2011. Pick one or two money saving tips. Focus on making those two tips a habit for a month or six weeks. Then, find one two more money saving tips to work on. This way, you’re not overwhelmed with a million ways to save money.

Make two days a week “No Spend” days. “Unspend,” advise the financial gurus at DailyWorth. “No Spend Days are powerful budget-balancing tools. By simply not spending money one day a week, you give yourself more wiggle room in other areas.” I think one day a week is too easy – I challenge you to make two days a week your “No Spend” days! No DVD rentals, no 7-11 slurpees (my personal weakness), and no restaurant meals.

These are just a few tips for saving money. For the whole enchilada, go to Quips and Tips for Money and Love.

Also -- my husband and I have discovered a pot of gold in The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated. It's not about saving money per se -- it's about living the life the way you want it, no matter how much money you have.

Any questions or comments on these "best ways to save money in 2011"? I welcome you below...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Best Ways to Write a Book

Ask 10 different writers, and you'll get 10 different "best ways to write a book." Here are a few top tips for writing a book - which I suspect most writers will agree on.

If you're looking for different types of book tips, let me know below. I'd be happy to help!

Best Ways to Write a Book

Create a need to write your book. JK Rowling had to write to pay the bills. She was a single mom, desperate for income but unable to afford childcare. She was literally too hungry to be lazy — and she certainly didn’t need to increase her motivation to write! She needed to pay her bills and feed her kids. If you don’t have a need to write, create one. Do you need Starbucks frappucinos? Write 750 words first, then reward yourself with a coffee. For more tips from this bestselling author of the Harry Potter series, read Writing Quips and Tips From JK Rowling.

Write what you know. "Anything else will feel forced.I write children’s picture books, about shoes, dresses and trucks, time-outs, princesses and pirates," says Sue Fliess, author of Shoes for Me! "I have two young boys (5 and 7 years old)...and my world right now is my kids. I get at least one new idea for a story each week from them. And this year, my older son really became a proficient reader, so I find myself writing longer stories that might suit him. When I tackle a middle grade or young adult, I must tap into my 12 year old or 15 year old self and draw on my own memories. When I start writing from a place that is true to myself, my writing is better. I’m not winging it, and it does not feel forced, it feels real. Hopefully it will be real to the reader."

Learn why book manuscripts aren't published. If you're serious about not just finding the best ways to write a book but actually getting published, you need to learn why most books don't get published. In 17 Reasons Book Mansucripts Aren't Published, a panel of editors and publishers share their reasons for rejecting book manuscripts. Good reading for aspiring writers!

Remember that writing a book is hard work. Even if you have the best idea in the world, it doesn’t mean you can write a good book. Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, you must learn about the aspect of the genre that may make your book a bestseller. You must know how to create an attention-getting introduction, end chapters with an intriguing hook, and write a page turner. You need to create interesting, believable characters and realistic settings, and build an excellent plot that leads to a gripping climax.

Fire up your determination. Determination is the will to continue writing, seeking an agent’s representation, meeting with your writer’s group, accepting rejections, and overcoming whatever stumbling blocks and difficulties you encounter along the way. If you’re determined to write your book despite what people say, what your internal critic says, and whatever doubts and fears you have, you quadruple your chances of success. Determination includes continually reading about writing and improving your writing skills.

If you lack motivation, you might find 73 Ways to Fire Up (or Just Fire!) the Muse helpful.

If you have any questions or thoughts about these best ways to write a book, please comment below...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Ways to Be Happy

Okay, I admit that the best ways to be happy for me aren't necessarily the best ways to be happy for you...but there may be a few tips that work for both of us!

If these happiness tips don't appeal to you, tell me what does in the comments section below...

Best Ways to Be Happy

Connect in real ways with other people. I’m not talking about making small talk at parties or with strangers. One of the best ways to be happy is to make connections that renew your spirit and soul. This means different things to different people – but you could interact with people less fortunate than you, perhaps by volunteering at a shelter or hospital. Connect spiritually at your church or temple. Connect with nature by taking a walk through a park or along the coast. Look into your dog or cat’s eyes, and connect on a soul level.

Be kind to others – and gentle with yourself. Ranking high in the studies of what helps people to be optimistic and happy is helping others. Recently, a customer in the drive-thru line at a Pittsburgh-area Starbucks paid for the coffee of the customer behind her. That customer was so pleased that she then paid for person behind her. The chain continued for two hours! You don’t have to make a grand gesture. To be happy, smile at someone on the street, hold a door open, wave someone into you lane on the freeway.

Accept yourself without judgment. Your mind is split between your ego and your spirit. The ego judges you, keeping you stuck. Your spirit or higher self, accepts you as you are. The more you can view yourself from your higher self, the less you are your ego. This way to be happy involves imagining that you are looking over your own shoulder, and watching without judgment. If part of you is watching ourselves without judgment, then there must be a part of yourself that isn’t negative. The more we can be the spirit that simply accepts, the less we become our ego.

Find direction in your life (aka your bliss). What makes you happy? What are you doing when you lose track of time? Who do you love spending time with? What did you want to be when you grew up? “Direction provides focus and inspiration and is the antidote to day-to-day monotony,” writes Robert Pagliarini in The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose. “In the real world, you achieve direction by creating compelling goals.” He says setting and achieving life goals provides feedback, which can fuel your motivation and inspiration.

To learn more about being happy, read How to Be Lucky - 10 Ways to Get Luckier in Life and Love.

What do you think of these "best" ways to be happy? Comments welcome below...

Best Ways to Make Small Talk

I was at a party last night, and used two of these four best ways to make small talk! They work -- but the trick is remembering them when you need them...maybe my next post should be the "best ways to remember the best ways to make small talk"...

Best Ways to Make Small Talk

Parrot the key phrases. Repeating certain words is a sure-fire way to keep conversations going. For instance, if your date says something like, “The last time I saw a live concert was in the 90’s, when I won tickets to Elton John.” This is the perfect time for you to say “Elton John?” or “concerts in the 90’s” or “live concerts.” More often than not, your date will keep talking about that topic. Try it — it works!
Pay attention to what he or she says. When you're making small talk, follow up on specific sentences. For instance, if she says she's "excellent" when you ask how she's doing, ask why – and ask where you can get some of that! If she says she's exhausted, follow up on it. When you're making small talk, remember that great conversations and good connections are yours if you show genuine interest.

Ask open-ended questions that require an explanation. For instance, “How are you?” isn’t an effective way to make small talk. It's better if you ask “Whatever happened with ‘__________’ “? or “The last time we spoke you said ________. What happened with that?” This tip is from 10 First Date Conversation Starters -- which isn't just about making small talk on dates!

Talk about the elephant in the corner. If you notice that there seems to be nothing to talk about, then your date is probably noticing the same thing. Talk about that! I use this as a conversation starter regularly: “Isn’t it awkward when you feel like you have nothing to say?” Then you’ll start talking about that – and you’ll both be more relaxed. Try it – it's one of the best ways to make small talk.

For more small talk tips, read Small Talk: The Art of Socialising.

What do you think of these ways to make small talk? I welcome your commentes below...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Best Ways to Find Blogging Jobs

Knowing the best ways to find blogging jobs will help you make money online -- and make you very very happy. I love blogging for a living. Though I'm not earning over $100,000 a year right now, I expect to be making that much in a year from now. O happy day!

Here's what I think about finding blogging work...

Best Ways to Find Blogging Jobs

Be present in a blogging community. Which community does not really matter — Twitter, writers’ forums, LinkedIn groups, or your own blog – but your presence there is very important. This community can be the blogs you visit on a regular basis or a favorite writer’s discussion board - whatever works for you. To connect and network with other bloggers and writers, visit the site regularly and contribute often.

Use social media -- Twitter, of course! “I use Twitter more for finding news topics, connecting to people, and promotion, rather than finding freelance jobs,” says Nick Belardes. “There are so many fellow journalists and news sources on Twitter who found my Twitter novel. I’ve done several interviews that I think have been really helpful in promoting me, which in turn helps promote my freelance work. Any press that we write or that we get for ourselves via social networking engines like Twitter helps writing careers.”

Find a blogging coach or mentor – but do not copy her blog style or ideas. When I first started freelance writing, I had lunch with a successful travel writer. While she picked at a salad, I picked her brains – and that one meeting was the beginning of my writing and blogging career. Since then, she’s been an invaluable source of support and information. If you want a blogging job, soak up the wisdom of successful bloggers – but never copy their blog styles or steal their ideas and add your own twist! Stand on the shoulders of giants, but forge your own path.

Follow a writing or blogging blog that is growing. My Quips and Tips blogs are growing too big -- they're more than I can handle, and I'm hiring bloggers. I posted my blogger job on Quips and Tips for Successful Writers (Want a Writing Job? Quips and Tips is Hiring Bloggers), and got tons of response. But I can't hire everyone...and you know who I approach first? Bloggers who email me directly and say how much they like my Quips and Tips blogs. I'm not looking for syncophants or suckups, but for people who really know my blogs. So, one of the best ways to find a blogging job is to get to know the growing bloggers!

What do you think of these ways to find blogging jobs? I welcome your comments below...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Best Ways to Deal With a Breakup

The best ways to deal with a breakup depend on why you broke up, how long the relationship lasted, who else is involved, and even how many breakups you've dealt with in the past. These ways to deal with a breakup are short and sweet, and they all lead to more tips for surviving breakups...

Best Ways to Deal With a Breakup

Take control — find ways to empower yourself. You can’t change how you feel or what happened between you and your ex, but you can control what you focus on! You can control what you do, what you talk about, and what you think about. Instead of obsessing about your broken heart, what happened when you dated your coworker, why you broke up, and how heartbroken you feel, focus on other aspects of your life. Think about where you want your life to go. Where do you want to be in one year, or five years? What are your career goals, your life plans? One of the best ways to deal with a breakup is to take a step back from your current path and look at your life in a new way.

Make a clean break from your ex. One of the standard breakup survival tips is to avoid contact with your ex. But if you work together, it can be difficult or even impossible to avoid each other! Find out if you can work in different departments or divisions. Ask if you can get a transfer to a different location – either in your city or in another state or province. Brainstorm ways to stay at your job and avoid contact with your ex.

Avoid the temptation to get revenge. If you’re angry and hurt because of the breakup, you may be tempted to get back at your ex. Maybe you want to spread rumors, criticize him to your coworkers, or talk about how disappointing he was in bed. Don’t do it! Resist the temptation to get revenge! Attempting to get back at him will backfire. Revenge only prolongs the painful feelings and makes you look bad.  To deal with a breakup at work, you need to focus on healthy ways to let go of someone you love.

Remember that dealing with a breakup doesn’t happen overnight. Letting go of the past isn’t something you do once – and poof! You’re free, healed, and happy! Rather, letting go is a journey peppered with steps forward and steps backward, good days and bad days. The trick is to hang on to those good moments and good days...and remember that eventually they'll outnumber the bad. For more tips on dealing with a breakup, read 10 Ways to Heal a Broken Heart.

What do you think of these "best ways to deal with a breakup? Comments welcome below...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Best Ways to Lose Belly Fat

Sometimes my "best ways to..." articles don't apply to everyone. But these "best ways to lose belly fat" are universally applicable -- which means they will work for you if you keep doing them! But remember: no tips for losing belly fat will work if you only do them once or twice.

So, try these on for size...and keep trying them for at least three months...

Best Ways to Lose Belly Fat

Count the empty chocolate wrappers or potato chip bags. This fat loss tip is based on food psychologists Brian Wansink’s research: keeping the empty wrappers right in front of you will remind you of how many treats you ate, which will encourage you to stop eating sooner than if you weren’t keeping track. It’s easy to keep mindlessly munching the mini chocolate bars and bags of potato chips – and forget how quickly the calories are add up! Keep the evidence of your snacking in plain view.

Change the order in which you eat food. Instead of eating the French fries and burger first, fill up on a large salad with no salad dressing. Then, if you have room, go for a bit of the burger and fries. And, don’t eat the boring iceburg lettuce salads with cucumber! I put apple chunks, red and orange peppers, spinach, red onions, orange chunks, pumpkin seeds, and raisons on my salads. The idea is to eat more veggies and fruits, and eat less carbs, starches, and fat. You don’t want to eliminate fat entirely – it’s good for your brain, hair, and body cells – but you do want to stick to small portions of healthy fats.

Pause for 10 seconds before you eat anything. When I ask, “Should we have some chocolate?”, my hubby pauses. He thinks for at least ten seconds. He checks in with his stomach. He checks with his head. I don’t know what he’s thinking about exactly, but he doesn’t just say “okay!” One of the best ways to lose belly fat is to think before you eat.

Identify your eating triggers — and find out what works for you. I tend to munch mindlessly right after lunch, especially when I feel anxious or scared about work (I’m a full-time freelance writer and blogger, and I get stressed!). I could sit in front of Judge Marilyn and eat granola, nuts, popcorn, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips for hours — especially if I have a difficult article assignment. But I’ve achieved my weight loss goals by finding my own best ways to lose weight. Over time I’ve learned what does and does not work for me, and I keep doing what works.

What do you think of these ways to lose belly fat? Comments welcome below...

For more tips, read Best Ways to Lose Weight and Keep It Off.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Best Ways to Reduce Stress at Christmas

My best way to reduce stress and relax is to do Pilates or Yoga -- which I intend to be doing in 15 minutes! But exercise isn't everyone's best way to reduce stress. Here are a few ideas to help you relax...

Best Ways to Reduce Stress at Christmas

Enjoy a blast from the past. Humor and stress management expert Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant has a ton of unique stress busters up her sleeve! She recommends “blowing bubbles, hula-hooping (which also burns off calories and tones the core at the same time), bouncing on a mini-trampoline while working through problems (it reminds your body and mind that resiliency, the ability to bounce back, is important and often easy), and using a funny handshake when arguments are getting nowhere.

Practice acceptance. Here's a great way to have a positive attitude at Christmas, from my "Quips and Tips for Spiritual Seekers" blog partner, Gini Grey: "Instead of balking at holiday rituals or grimacing in the presence of your least favorite relative, try accepting the situation or person as they are and notice how your mood improves," she says. "Acceptance is simply acknowledging what is instead of resisting reality. It moves you out of judgment and into a place of peace and calm." 

Get enough sunlight – even in winter. If you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the winter blues, make sure you’re getting enough light, even if it’s indoor. Consider buying a light box, or research natural ways to lighten the winter blues. Vitamin D and melatonin are both stimulated by sunlight, and they both play roles in improving mood and facilitating sleep. Sunlight can reduce the effects of holiday stress and improve your mood.

Let go of your expectations. Don’t tie yourself down to a particular outcome: giving the best Christmas gifts, having the most beautiful holiday decorations, or cooking the best ham and turkey dinner. The best way to reduce stress at Christmas is to be open to all possible outcomes. Remember that sometimes even the worst possible results or situations can turn out to be better than the ones you originally wanted!

Take time to reconnect with who you are, or your source of strength. If you’re spiritual, make time to connect with God or the source of your spirituality. Stop to say a quick prayer or meditation during your crazy Christmas shopping or decorating rush! Make it a priority to connect to the source of your power – don’t lose yourself in the Christmas craze. Even if you don’t believe in religion or spirituality, take time to ground yourself by spending time alone. This will help make Christmas meaningful.

If you find yourself depressed at Christmastime, read Christmas Depression? 5 Tips for Overcoming the Holiday Blues.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Best Ways to Improve Male Fertility

The first of these "best ways to improve male fertility" may surprise you, because it has nothing to do with male fertility, sperm count, or getting pregnant! But, it's an important tip for getting healthy and strong sperm...

Best Ways to Improve Male Fertility

Brush and floss your teeth regularly. One research study found that men who received regular dental treatments and who took care of their teeth had improved sperm health, compared to men who didn’t take care of their teeth. Untreated dental problems and poor dental hygiene may contribute to overall poor health. An, bacteriospermia (bacteria in semen) has been linked to male infertility. So, to improve male fertility, floss and brush your teeth at least twice a day. This may improve your love life, too!

Eat salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts. “DHA and other essential omega-3 fatty acids help improve blood flow to the genitals and increase sexual function,” writes Heidi Murkoff in What to Expect Before You’re Expecting. “Fertile men’s sperm contains more of this essential fatty acid than the sperm of infertile men.” Other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include arugula, crab, shrimp, flax, and chicken. To increase sperm count, load up on foods that contain healthy omega-3s.

Avoid environmental toxins. Some natural health experts say the semen of the average man today has half the sperm than men did 50 years ago. And, their sperm isn’t as healthy as it was before. Increased exposure to environmental toxins may be the cause, which means you should avoid void plastic containers for food storage, plastic bottles, wraps and utensils. Eat organic food as much as possible to avoid pesticides and herbicides, and eat lots of fruits and veggies to increase your antioxidant levels. Fruit and veggies high in antioxidants include green leafy vegetables, kale, carrots, citrus, broccoli, cauliflower and yams.

Consider nutritional supplements for fertility, such as FertilAid. Vitamin C and zinc are the most important supplemental nutrients to enhance fertility. Vitamin C (2,000 to 6,000 milligrams daily) helps prevent sperm from clumping or sticking together, thus increasing male infertility and improving sperm count. Zinc supplements have been shown to increase testosterone, sperm count and sperm motility. High zinc sources include oysters, organ meats, lean beef, turkey, lamb, herring, wheat germ, legumes and nuts. Supplements such as FertilAid for Men contain the right blend of vitamins and minerals for fertility.

What do you think of these ways to improve male fertility? Comments welcome below.

For more fertility info, go to Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Best Ways to Overcome an Affair

Overcoming an affair is tough, but not impossible! These "best ways to overcome an affair" revolve around breaking up, letting go, and moving on.

You can stay in your relationship and rebuild your lives together, but that's not what these tips are all about. If you want tips on rebuilding your relationship, let me know in the comments section below. These tips are about letting go...

Best Ways to Overcome an Affair

Don’t take the affair personally. The reason he cheated has nothing to do with you! Don’t berate yourself for how the relationship unfolded, or what you did or didn’t do. Men cheat for reasons that may have nothing to do with you or your relationship. It's not about you, it's about him. To learn more, read Why Men Cheat.

Listen to what he says, but believe what he does. “It has been over a year and half since he broke up with me but he still tells me he loves me every time we talk,” says a reader on an article I wrote for Quips and Tips for Money and Love. “I want him to come back to me completely but he says he can’t do that.” If your ex-boyfriend says he can’t get back together with you, believe him. He may say he loves you — and he may truly love you — but if he really wanted to be with you, he would be with you. If he says he isn’t in love with you anymore, you need to focus on other – better – parts of your life. You must accept what he says and move on.

Learn how to “self-sooth.” I found this term in a book about eating disorders, and it’s great breakup advice! Self-soothing involves doing things that make you feel better, things that help you reconnect with your authentic, happy self. An example of self-soothing is to recall a time that you were happy, proud, and centered – perhaps after you made a mistake and moved on or accomplished something you were proud of. Talk on the phone with people who love you, who make you feel great about yourself. One of the best ways to overcome an affair is to learn how to take care of yourself in healthy ways.

Keep your long-term life goals in mind. Step back from your emotions and feelings and yearnings for a moment. Answer these questions logically and rationally – write your answers in a journal or diary: Is your boyfriend the healthiest choice for you? Are his life goals in line with your long-term life goals? Is he emotionally, physically, and spiritually available to you? Does he want to work on your relationship? Does he bring out the best in you, and make you feel secure, loved, smart, and independent? The best way to overcome an affair is to keep reminding yourself that this is not the relationship for you. If it was, he wouldn't have cheated.

What do you think of these ways to overcome an affair? Comments welcome below...

Best Ways to Get Out of Debt

The best ways to get out of debt depend on the reasons you're in debt, how much debt you have, and what kind of debt it is! So, though I've listed a few ways to get out of debt here, they may not apply to all people in all circumstances.

But, these tips could help you -- especially if you apply them to your life for at least a month.

Best Ways to Get Out of Debt

Understand your spending habits. The first step to get out of debt is to understand your saving and spending habits. To get your spending in control, use a small notebook or PDA to jot down every penny you spend for at least two weeks. This will help you identify the source of your financial problems.

Visualize financial abundance. Another way to get out of debt is to take a few minutes every day to imagine the new, debt-free you! Dream about how your discipline and new spending habits will pay off in the end. Sit back, close your eyes, and imagine a time when no requests for late payment arrive in the mail and there are no mounds of loans to pay back. Look forward to the results of planned savings, such as vacations, new furniture or even retirement.

Prioritize your bill payments. One of the biggest money mistakes people make is paying extra money because of the interest on their debt. Unless you pay off your debt the right way, you’ll never make any real progress. Pay off the debt on the bills that have the highest interest rates, then move on to the bills with lower interest rates.

Remember: small changes can have HUGE effects! There are a lot of small money saving techniques and strategies that can help you get out of debt. For instance, you can cut back on one coffee a day (approximately saving $4 per day). This is an easy way to start solving your money problems.

For more money help:

What do you think of these ways to get out of debt? Comments welcome below...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Best Ways to Earn Extra Money

What are the best ways to earn extra money? It depends on your skills, interests, current job, and even your blogging ability! Check these tips out -- you may find something you didn't even know you were looking for...

Best Ways to Earn Extra Money

Find ways to maximize your income. Are you due for a promotion or raise at work? Does your employment make full use of your education and training? Can you take courses that will elevate you to the next level in your career? Can you create sources of passive income? This all depends on your job situation, work environment, and even the city you live in…but it’s worth exploring.

Activate two money saving tips a month. There are smart ways to save money everywhere – the internet, books, your rich old aunt, on placemats at funky restaurants. Don’t try to implement every money tip you find; instead pick two a month. Focus on making those two tips a habit. In a month or six weeks, find two more money saving tips to work on. This way, you’re not overwhelmed with a million ways to save money – and you’re steadily progressing towards financial abundance.

Use a cash back credit card.  There are several types of credit cards rewards programs, but keep it simple. When you earn a dollar in rewards, take a dollar — instead of merchandise or vacations. The best way to use your credit card’s rewards program is to remember that you’re better off spending less money or earning more money, not accumulating more possessions or more debt. Points programs can be restrictive, and a free plane ticket can lead to an expensive hotel room and restaurant meals. Whether you get a statement credit or a check in the mail, remember that cash back makes more sense than other types of rewards.

Live from your vision, not your circumstances.  Creating a vision is difficult, but once you know what you want for your life (such as being credit card debt free, or paying off your mortgage), you have a framework for your future finances.  Your circumstances will never get you closer to your goal; only your vision can guide you towards what you want. If your goal is to earn extra money, act like someone who is already financially successful and responsible (and don’t go nuts with your credit card!). To achieve your financial goals, focus on what you want — not where you are.

For more money help:

What do you think of these ways to earn extra money -- can you think of better ways? I welcome your tips below!

Best Ways to Propose Marriage

The best way to propose marriage to your girlfriend or boyfriend depends on you, your relationship, and your inside lovers' jokes! These tips for proposals will get you warmed up and ready to propose...

Best Ways to Propose Marriage

Propose the way she would want! Is your most romantic idea of a marriage proposal a big flashy sign at a NY Knicks basketball game? Sounds exciting, but it may not be the best way to propose marriage to your girlfriend. Put yourself in her shoes: what is her favorite way to be loved and wooed? What’s her "love language"? The best way to say "I love you" is to put yourself in her shoes. Match your marriage proposal to her personality and lifestyle. Ask her to marry you in a way that reflects your love and relationship.

Let your personality shine through. When you propose marriage, include your own personality traits and lifestyle -- not just your efforts to use her “love language.” For example, I don’t like to play fight or wrestle with my husband, and we have different senses of humor. So, to remain true to who I am, my marriage proposal wouldn’t just involve wrestling or his comedic style. I'd try to find a way to propose that reflects my personality, his personality, and -- most importantly -- our relationship. A marriage proposal should remain true to both partners' perspectives -- just like a happy marriage celebrates both spouse's personalities and lifestyles.

Expect to be nervous – and be honest about your feelings. My husband was shaking when he proposed, and said he couldn’t believe how nervous he was! Asking someone for their hand in marriage is a huge step – regardless of whether the person who proposes is a man or a woman. So, expect to get a little sweaty. Also, be honest about how nervous or scared you feel when you say “I want to marry you.” I loved that my husband told me how nervous he was, because it showed his vulnerability and love for me. It made him more human and lovable. Be nervous, and share your feelings about proposing marriage.

Know the key to a happy marriage. A husband’s emotional engagement is the single most important factor in determining marital happiness – wedded bliss – for a wife. University of Virginia researchers found that women care more about being understood, having their needs met, and spending quality time with their husbands than money or household chores. Remember that knowing the best way to propose is just the first step to a long, happy married life together!

If you haven't seen how Hollywood proposes marriage, read The Best Wedding Movies of All Time.

What do you think of these ways to propose marriage? I welcome your comments below...