Every time you catch a glimpse of her, your heart skips a beat, your palms start sweating and your knees turn to jelly. There's no question that you are head over heels in love, and you're ready to pop the question. Unfortunately, while your heart is full, your bank account is running on empty.

How can you sweep her off her feet with an unforgettable proposal when you're flat broke? Believe it or not, it is possible. Here are six cheap proposal ideas that will help you steal her heart without breaking the bank.

Cheap Proposal #1: Write It In The Sand
You're strolling down the beach hand-in-hand watching the sunset, when you suddenly stumble across a stick. What to do, what to do? Pick it up, you fool! At her feet, spell out "Will You Marry Me?" in the sand, get down on one knee and profess your undying love for her. The grand total? $0. (Not including the ring and the trip to the beach, of course.)

Cheap Proposal #2: Put Your Pet To Work
Let's say your soon-to-be fiancée is an avid animal lover. If so, consider getting the cat or dog involved. Tie her engagement ring to your to your furry friend's collar. When your girlfriend arrives and calls Fido over for some petting, she'll almost certainly notice there's some bling hanging from his neck. (Find out where romantic-minded shoppers are putting their money now in The "New" Valentine's Day.)

Now comes your part…get down on your knee and pop the question. (Note: If your cat or dog is notorious for running off, climbing fences and losing his collar, this may not be the best proposal choice.)

Cheap Proposal #3: Say It With Flowers
You'd be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn't love flowers. Spell out "Will You Marry Me?" in rose petals on the hood of her car, the front lawn or the dining room table. Too broke to buy fancy roses? No problem. Pick a bunch of wildflowers from the local park or your crabby old neighbor's garden, clasp them together with the engagement ring and present the home-made bouquet to her.

As you hand over the flowers, there's no way she'll miss that massive, gleaming rock (or tiny, semi-shiny nugget, depending on your engagement ring budget).

Cheap Proposal #4: Send Her On A Treasure Hunt
If your little lady adores adventures, set up a proposal treasure hunt. Give her clues that will lead her around the house, through the backyard and even around the neighborhood until she finally finds the booty: her engagement ring. You could even expand the scope and send her on a car treasure hunt that will guide her to the site of your first date or another special place.

When she finds the ring, then what? You got it: get down on one knee and start sweet-talking. You're catching on, sport! (If your budget for Valentine's Day is restricted, don't worry. These companies are offering festive and frugal deals. Don't miss Be Mine, Frugal Valentine.)

Cheap Proposal #5: Make Your Office Romance Official
If you and your girlfriend are the Jim and Pam of your office, it may feel natural to pop the question right there at her desk. While this may not seem super-romantic, she probably won't be expecting such an exciting event to take place in her cubicle...and good proposals are all about the art of surprise. Change her screen saver to read, "Will You Marry Me?" or maybe "Look Behind You." When she turns around, you'll be waiting there, ring in hand.

Cheap Proposal #6: Keep It Simple
Sometimes, the most romantic proposals are also the simplest. Invite her over for dinner, go for a hike in the woods or take a picnic in the park. When the time feels right, ask her the million dollar question. Many women actually prefer these understated, yet genuine proposals. Case in point: my husband popped the question in uniform on my back porch just hours before he flew overseas for a year-long deployment. Simple? Yes. Unforgettable? Most definitely.

The Bottom Line
These six cheap, yet romantic proposal ideas prove you don't have to spend a fortune to steal her heart. Of course, there are countless other affordable ways you can pop the question. Just think about what makes your relationship tick, get creative and come up with the proposal that fits your unique style. Whatever you do, make it genuine. After all, relationships are built on love, not money.

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