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10 Most Romantic Proposal Ideas for Guys on a Budget

romantic proposal ideas for guys on a budget

Worried that your bank balance can’t stretch to the cost of a romantic proposal? Think again! Here are some romantic yet affordable ways to propose!

If you’re lucky enough to possess a bank balance with more zeros in it than there are politicians in a brothel, then you probably don’t need much advice on how to create the perfect proposal scenario.

However, for those of us mere mortals who are limited to more modest means, jetting off to the Bahamas on a last minute whim, and having the engagement ring presented by a well-known celebrity at a private beach, whilst accompanied by the string section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra is probably a somewhat unlikely proposition. Never fear though, fellow suppliants, help is on hand to provide the perfect scenario for the proposer on a shoestring. [Read: 20 reasons to get married and live happily ever after]

Money isn’t everything. You can propose with modest means!

If you’d like to treat your significant other to the proposal experience of a lifetime, don’t think that you’re out of the running, just because you’re relying on your penny jar to pay for it. Some of the best proposal ideas are cheap, almost to the point of being free.

They say that it’s the thought that counts when we buy someone a gift rather than its value, and the same is true for a proposal. All you have to do is appropriately match any one of the proposal ideas in the following list to the person you wish to marry, to make the moment one that she will remember for the rest of her life.

#1 Pack your hamper. Few things are as romantic as a picnic, if organized properly beforehand, and that goes for a number of different scenarios including a proposal of marriage. Do it stylishly though, with glasses, sparkling wine and a number of light but sexy foods, all packed in advance and of course, the whole point of the situation, the ring.

You could just propose over the course of the picnic in a normal fashion, and if the setting is one of great beauty you might feel that you needn’t worry about being too elaborate. However, what could be more romantic than hiding the ring at the bottom of a champagne glass ready for her to find at the correct juncture, or within some other part of the proceedings. Either way you’re onto a winner, and it won’t cost the earth. [Read: 20 unconventional date ideas to take her on before proposing]

#2 Sports stadium. Do you and your partner have a favorite sport team that you regularly visit together? If so, then why not take advantage of the community spirit that they usually profess to maintain and ask them to spell out your proposal on the score board at half time? It won’t cost a penny and will make your proposal the center of everyone’s attention.

A couple of warnings though: only execute this move if you both support the team in question, otherwise it looks a bit cheesy and selfish, and be very sure that she will accept the proposal, because no-one looks a bigger fool than he who gets turned down on the big screen in front of thousands of people.

#3 Home cooking. You could propose over dinner in a fancy restaurant, but that costs a pretty penny, so why not do it at home instead? Get your friends involved and create a beautiful, romantic environment with candles and all the trimmings, and have them wait on you both hand and foot. They could even bring out the ring on a satin cushion whilst harmonizing a romantic tune to create a beautiful effect that a fancy restaurant just couldn’t vie with.

#4 Back to the beginning. Try taking her to the place you first met and proposing to her there. This won’t cost a penny, presuming that you didn’t meet on holiday somewhere exotic, and will show her how thoughtful and attentive you are. Make it come full circle by transforming her from girlfriend to fiancée on the very same spot where you transformed yourself from friends to lovers. [Read: The couple’s guide to a romantic road trip]

#5 On the tube. No, not the London Underground – YouTube. Make her a beautiful video creating a collage of scenes, all leading up to the vital question and post it on YouTube. Then, send her the link telling her you’ve found some really cute footage of a cat playing the piano or some such, and then let the story unfold. Priceless, romantic and it doesn’t cost a bean.

#6 It’s all so trivial. Get her round to yours for a romantic evening in with a bottle of wine, some soft music and your favorite trivia board game. The only difference this time is that you’re going to plant a card in one of the question card decks bearing the legend “Will you marry me?” She’s bound to say yes to such a romantic proposal whilst your wallet stays firmly intact.

#7 It is written. This method takes a certain amount of preparation and good luck, but try writing the vital question in the snow or sand, depending on where you are, and then taking her for an unsuspecting stroll right past it at a later point.

The beauty of this method is not only the fact that it is entirely free to execute, but that it can be as vast or as small in scale as you deem fit. If you get friends to help you could have the letters 10ft wide or more – only your imagination restricts just how epic this proposal scenario can be.

#8 Chinese banquet. Of course, any restaurant proposal is nice but, to give it a unique twist, make a couple of fortune cookies in advance, one with the “Will you marry me?” message within it. You can even get the staff in on the act, and have one of the waiters bring the cookies to the table at a pre-arranged point during the evening.

#9 A magic memory. A lot of preparation needed for this one, but pull some simple magic trick instructions off the internet with which to bedazzle her and spend the next few weeks practicing in secret. At a point when you have developed the skills necessary to put on a performance, produce a card from the pack as part of the trick with the proposal message written upon it. The details are up to you, but the only thing this method should cost you is time.

#10 Stars. A personal favorite of mine is this method, but it does cost a few pennies for the small outlay needed to buy some glow-in-the-dark stars. You can buy these from craft shops or on the internet. Just wait until she has gone out somewhere, fabricate a reason, if necessary, and then spell out the proposal with the stars in a message on the bedroom ceiling.

If you do this well, the first time she’ll notice them is when you turn off the lights to go to sleep and the message suddenly emblazons itself upon the darkened room. A beautiful moment that barely breaks open the piggy bank.

[Read: Unique and romantic proposal ideas to try]

So guys, don’t hesitate for a moment to pop the vital question. With any one of these proposal ideas at your disposal, even the most impoverished of us are able to make the moment one to remember.

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Philip Hegarty
Philip Hegarty
Currently reclining with a peaceful and contented smile upon his face, with perhaps just a hint of mystery and steely resolve, Philip Hegarty has an obviously i...
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