If you take a moment to think about an engagement you will realize how absurd it is. In order to show your love and financially stable to provide, you buy a piece of jewelry with a fairly low resale value and provide little use. Then, wait for it.
Since the entire point of a proposal is to show that you are able to financially provide, a common thing is to go on a trip to propose. Because nothing says financial stability like spending tons of money!
This is why we here at Why You’re Broke understand that an engagement ring is one of those traditions that is still practiced, but makes no sense and cost a lot. While you can’t stop the tradition, you can attempt to save money while practicing it. Here are 9 engagement ring rules to follow to save costs on buying a ring for your significant other.
1. You will determine what your significant other wants
Ever think about proposing to your significant other without consulting them first? It’s great. It’ll be a surprise. They’ll love it! WRONG.
You will be surprised how often I hear about someone proposing without speaking to their significant other. Financially stable marriages are built on a foundation of trust and communication.
Would you go out and buy a car without your significant other knowing? In the same light, both you and your significant other should both fully know about a pending engagement before you get engaged. Most importantly, it gives you an opportunity to gauge your significant other’s wants.
Don’t be the next viral video of someone getting rejected. You definitely don’t want to be the person whose fiancé ends up posting on social media about how ugly their ring is. Instead, speak to your significant other about their wants.
I realize some people hate doing this because it will ruin the surprise. Trust me, doing these two things will not ruin the surprise any much more and protect you from an expensive bad decision.
2. You will not budget more than 1 month’s salary on a ring
“You need at least 3 months’ salary for a ring! “
Whoever tells you that is a just full of it. Why it has become a common saying is because it is a line made up by jewelers to sell you a ring.
If an engagement ring shows that you are able to financially provide, wouldn’t it be better to – oh, you know, financially provide with a good amount of savings?
3. You will not
take a loan or get the ring on credit.
Say it with me, “the best way to stay out of debt is to not get into it.” Such a simple concept, yet somehow people do it all the time!
When you go ring shopping they will tell you that for just a small amount of money you could get a bigger ring. Even better, for just $50 dollars more a month you can get an even bigger and prettier ring that you should not buy.
Engagement rings are a symbol of you being able to financially provide. Why would you buy a ring you can’t afford?
The fact of the matter is this: If they don’t love you because you can only afford a $500 ring, then you shouldn’t be getting engaged. If they feel that it is necessary to have a bigger ring than the one you gifted, that is an indication of them being disrespectful of your gift – run. That is a recipe for disaster in a marriage.
A person who is ready for marriage will have no problems with the ring you gift them (assuming you did step 1 which is to check with them in the first place).
4. You will consider a smaller diamond for a better cut and clarity.
The bigger the better – right? They will love the most gigantic ring on their finger to the point where they can’t even lift it up! Here’s a secret: bigger isn’t always better.
Most people (males in particular) focus on the size of the diamond when buying a ring. What is more eye-catching is how well the diamond is able to sparkle.
Nothing says, “I’m engaged to a cheapo who bought me a dull clear ring pop.” How the diamond sparkles is dependent on both your cut (how well cut it is) and clarity (how clear it is) – not size.
For people who don’t know, diamonds are judged on the 4 C’s: Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color (https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/4cs-diamond-quality/). If you are the average American, 1 month’s salary is approximately $3,000. This means at the most you can buy something that is slightly smaller than 1 carat (the size of the diamond). However, with the right cut and clarity, a small diamond’s sparkles can give a better illusion of being larger than it actually is!
Putting a higher premium on cut and clarity is always better than focusing on size.
5. You may consider buying your diamond separate from the engagement ring
Nothing says “I put as little thought as possible and bought this engagement ring last minute” than buying it from a big box store. Unless you’re dead set on a particular diamond and ring, it is always helpful to buy your diamond separate from the ring. This is one of the few times where cost should not be as large of a factor.
Think of it like this, your choices are limited to what the stores offer when you are looking in the store. However, if you buy your diamond separate from the ring you’ve increased your chances of finding a diamond that fits your significant other’s (and your financial) preferences.
While there is a small fee (typically less than $50) with putting the diamond on the ring itself, it is much more worth to get a ring that you and your significant other will love.
Pro-tip to save money
You will be told by all the jewelry stores that you should buy a diamond that is GIA certified because of the resale value. GIA certified diamonds are supposedly more valuable because they have been certified. This also means you’re paying more money upfront for your diamond.
Think of it like this: Unless you’re considering divorce or living a poor life, GIA diamond certifications means very little to you. Two avenues that I hope you shouldn’t be considering at this stage of your relationship.
Plus, if you keep reading Why You’re Broke articles, you will more than likely avoid a bad financial future. Non-GIA certified diamonds are risky, but a trusted jeweler can help determine approximate GIA certification.
6. You will consider going to a small jeweler for your engagement ring
My mantra to life is you should always buying things that you see often on advertisement. All those advertisements costs money. Those costs are passed onto you as a customer.
Similarly, those jewelry stores you see on commercials have to pay for those commercials. A ring from one of those stores is going to be more expensive because you are helping support the salaries for multiple layers of management and their marketing department.
As a cost-cutting measure, you should go to smaller jewelers for cheaper, but better quality rings.
7. You will consider buying your engagement ring online
Spoiler alert: The internet isn’t just for reading Why You’re Broke articles, buying things off Amazon, and looking at porn. Similar to the looking for a separate ring and diamond, you are able to choose from many more locations when you go online.
There is some risk with going with this method. Not all online stores are legitimate, so be sure to check their reviews with the Better Business Bureau before buying. I highly suggest checking out Brilliant Earth who have a large selection of diamonds in stock.
Online stores also now offer “grown” diamonds which are cheaper than traditional diamonds.
Do not go to websites with large marketing budgets that you see online.
8. You will consider buying your engagement ring at a wholesale store
Guess what? Not only does Costco and Sam’s Club sell toilet paper by the bulk, but they also sell engagement rings as well.
The only situation where I would suggest buying a ring with diamond together is a wholesale store. Wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s Club ship in premade rings and sell it at a wholesale price.
More than likely will be out of style, but what you lose in style, you make up in savings. Be forewarned that wholesale stores say their rings are certified, but their certification is not GIA certified (link).
9. You will negotiate the price of the engagement ring and/or diamond
“But Matt, I’m too scared to negotiate.” If
you’re too scared to negotiate, than you are the type of person who enjoys
spending more than necessary.
You wouldn’t go into Bed, Bath, and Beyond
without an expired 20% off coupon, because at that point you’re just overpaying
for overpriced goods. Similarly, don’t be the person who doesn’t negotiate for
Unless you are buying online or at the wholesale, you must attempt to negotiate the price of the ring and/or diamond. When buying a high price item, the amount of money that the retailer stands to gain is much higher. This allows for some sales and negotiations to occur.
Bonus Tip: Enjoy the moment and get a photographer that isn’t your friend.
Your engagement will be a wonderful time, make sure to capture the moment with a photographer that isn’t your friend. Look into your local university to see if there are any aspiring photographers willing to take photos for you. When I got engaged to Mrs. Broke, I ended up finding a university student for $40 dollars with photos. They are photos that we still cherish very much today!
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