Shopping for an engagement ring calls for extreme caution and critical thinking. That’s one purchase you don’t want to get wrong. It’s a small piece of jewelry that represents a whole lot more. The engagement ring’s a signal to your significant other that they mean the world to you, and you want to give them something as a token of your love. And a well-cut diamond may do the trick. Being such a meaningful gesture, you’ll probably spend big on it. However, one thing is for sure, the traditional approaches to buying an engagement ring no longer cut it.
You need to look beyond the old ‘two-to-three months’ salary budget rule for a ring. Don’t fall for the national average spending threshold, either, because you can most certainly get a ring for less than $5,680. It’ll also take more than just tastes and preferences when it comes to snagging the perfect engagement ring. And you might need help with that personalization experience too. So, make sure you have two people on speed dial: one of your love partner’s friends or a close family member. Ultimately, the considerations you make should be more thoughtful, not the ‘norm’ of spending on engagement rings. The following pointers clearly explain that last statement.
The Budget Mystery
A long time ago, jewelry dealers came up with a marketing gimmick. The trick was designed to get people to buy engagement rings. Specifically, diamond engagement rings. The marketing ad was called the ‘two-to-three’ months’ salary rule. Diamond engagement rings were portrayed to be the epitome of all gemstones. Having a diamond ring for your engagement is still seen as a status symbol. The bigger the stone, the bigger the status. The copywriting was so good that people got convinced. It’s pretty simple. You put away three months’ worth of your salary, and that becomes the amount you spend on a ring. For instance, if you earn a thousand dollars a month, save three grand. That should get you a decent ring. Think about it. It’s a great way to save up and buy a ring. But it’s full of limitations.
One’s obvious. You get hypnotized. Who says you have to save for three months to buy a ring? It wouldn’t kill you to save up for six months, a year, or even a bit longer. Saving up and making a cash payment is the least expensive way to buy an engagement ring. The alternatives are tricky and require professional advice for a licensed financial planner. The earlier you plan for the occasion, the earlier you set aside the funds. Does it have to be a diamond engagement ring, because there’re other viable alternatives in the market?
What if you have a great job or multiple income streams and a big check at the end of the month, say a million dollars? Are you going to spend 3 million on an engagement ring? Not that anybody would stop you if that’s what you want. But if you have that kind of income potential, you would rather spend a reasonable amount on the ring and the upcoming wedding. Prioritize the essential investments first. You can visit your bank and open up a certificate-of-deposit or set up a trust fund for your kids. It wouldn’t make any sense spending 3 million dollars on a ring just because a rule convinced you. And if you do, it’ll get you the ‘status.’ However, don’t you think better personal financial management should come first?
The future is always uncertain. You have to think about the cost of living. Some of that money you’re blowing on the engagement ring could go towards a solid retirement plan. Besides, people get engaged at different stages of life and financial position. Others are not salaried, so they move from paycheck to paycheck. The two-or-three months’ rule was an excellent promotional strategy while it lasted, but it wouldn’t work for most people today. It has lost its practicality, and that’s why you need to have an informed budget — plan according to your financial capacity.
Make buying the engagement ring a smart purchase. More to that, know that you should buy an engagement ring thoughtfully and not necessarily expensively. Remember, after the engagement, the marriage’s equally important. The last thing you want to do is cause financial friction in your relationship. Plus, other milestone financial obligations await you: buying a house, family car, and other substantial financial investments. Engagement ring budgets vary based on a couple of things;among them, the current market prices of different types of engagement rings. You’ll also need money to pay for stone verification and rating services, which are necessary when buying engagement rings.
What Are the Specifics of the Actual Engagement Ring?
The other set of factors to consider the setting and stone you want. Is it a diamond, sapphire, ruby, or pearl? Stone and setting are big influencers and form part of the preferences that dictate your spending on an engagement ring. An engagement ring is a relatively general term. A skilled artisan can make you a ring by carving wood or marble. Putting a gem on it would qualify it as an engagement ring. But in reality, what you’ll find in the market is a ring made of gold, platinum, titanium, or silver. The stone mounted on the ring could be anything from diamond (natural or synthetic) or a different king of precious stone. It could also be a diamond alternative, such as spinel. Diamond engagement rings are more common, and the most sold engagement rings by both brick-and-mortar and online jewelers.
Whatever you decide on, hire an expert to make sure you’re buying a genuine stone. The service comes at a fee, but you get results quicker with no mishaps along the way. You could also work with a reputable jeweler, preferably one recommended by G.I.A. They usually provide the background information you need while selecting a stone. Other jewelers may be only concerned with making a sale and not much attention to the quality. By working with the right dealers, you’ll have the ring in good time and roll out your proposal plan sooner. If you are the curious kind and insist on going it alone, work with these reliable online sources.
They’ll give you a quick and simplified walk through to understand the basics of your ideal stone. For diamond engagement rings, the information has to do with color, carat weight, clarity, and cut. Cut refers to how the stone is faceted and the sparkle it has. Colorless diamonds have a higher value compared to light yellow ones. A diamond is better off clear with no impurities (blemishes or inclusions). As a cost-effective measure, go for a diamond that’s a bit lower in color and clarity grade. Don’t go too low to avoid a stone with a yellow tint and glaring inclusions. Compensate for the compromise in color and clarity with a bigger stone and brilliance. The quality check process is more or less the same for other gemstones.
You can do a similar check for a setting you want to go with your stone. Although jewelers have what would be considered standard settings, customization is an option. Some couples want a gold or silver mount. Others want a platinum ring or an alloy of these commonly used metals. Jewelers have doubled down on the hunger for specially made settings by clients. An online lifestyle editorial in the United Kingdom recently published a report on the trends in engagement ring spending. They realized that most couples are financially cautious when it comes to buying engagement rings. Others still break the bank. Diamonds are more popular as an engagement ring stone over other gems.
A section of those looking to pop the question wants antique engagement rings, though the majority opt for made-to-order designs. Another interesting realization is that more couples are now concerned about the durability and practicality of the ring. They want a ring that they can wear while handling a hands-on job or while working out at the gym without having to take it off. Most of the rings sold were yellow gold setting halo style multi-stone rings. Diamonds are the dominant center stone, but very few clients settled for diamonds as their accent stones of choice. Also, a popular yet strange spending behavior was the purchase of temporary engagement rings. Walk-in clients frequent jewelry shops and get a ‘doable’ ring for the proposal. They, later on, go back with their brides to be and pick out the actual engagement ring together. That’s a great way to cater to your partner’s preferences while exploring your options. The trends reflect on UK engagement ring shoppers. The spending behavior could be different in the US and other parts. To play it safe, work closely with your jeweler, and have a maximum of three possible engagement ring designs that you think would win your girlfriend's heart. In case she dislikes the first one, you already have two on standby to surprise her. She’s your wife to be, and you’re the one person who should know her best. Choosing a ring that fits her taste shouldn’t be much of a hassle for you.
Is It Going to Be a Cash Purchase or a Financing Plan for Your Engagement Ring?
What’s your plan for buying an engagement ring? Other than a cash payment, several options exist. But the jewelry market could be confusing with every jeweler and financier quick to offer you a purchase plan. What they don’t tell you is the consequences when you default. As usual, with most financiers, they assume that you expressly understood the terms and conditions of such a contract. So, be careful with financing. Better yet consult a financial planner. You might want to consider borrowing from a friend or family. They’ll be kind enough to lend you the money interest-free as long as you assure them of repayment. The best part about this kind of loan’s that there’re no credit checks and you get the money fast. Just make sure you keep your word to your friend or family. If you let them down, you risk destroying the relationship you have. It’s only going to make it awkward every time you have to deal with them.
Other couples may opt for a personal loan. It’s okay to incur manageable debt, especially if you have a good credit score. Getting a loan, however, should not be a reason to buy an engagement ring that’s out of your budget. Here’s where most people go wrong. They mistake a loan for their own money. A loan is a credit facility that you’ll have to pay back. Whether cash payment or loan, maintain a budget. You can even combine finances (part savings and part loan) to make a hybrid purchase. Save up what you can based on your income and saving potential and top up the remainder with a short-term personal loan to fill the engagement ring budget gap. A few people also put the engagement ring purchase on their credit card. That’s because interest rates on credit cards are exorbitantly high. Only go for credit card debt if you’re sure that you can afford the cost of such financing. Keep up with the payments promptly to avoid hefty penalties. Or pay off the outstanding balance as soon as possible. Some credit card companies give bonuses upon sign up or making your initial credit purchase. Others give a grace period after your first credit transaction. During that grace period, the card attracts zero interest. You can use such a credit card to leverage the nil interest payments: that’s if you can repay the engagement ring loan within that window.
Jewelers, too, especially the online-based ones, offer payment plans to their engagement ring clients. If you have bad credit, such a jeweler can allow your kin to sign your loan contract as a guarantee that you’ll payback. The kin must attach some form of collateral (property, salary, etc.). The jewelers also have their version of credit cards that they issue to clients willing to take this engagement ring spending route. The cards tend to be a modified version of credit cards as you know them. You find that the credit cards attract a zero APR (annual percentage rate) for a specified period after you purchase the ring.
Other jewelers offer zero APR and defer the first payment to a later date, say a few months after you buy a ring. The credit card offer on the engagement ring is designed to hook you because jewelers want to win your business. Carefully monitor that extra time you get because once it lapses, jewelers charge you high-interest rates. Alternatively, find a jeweler that accepts layaway. It should be a deposit of at least 30 percent of the purchase price of the ring. You pay the rest gradually and pick up the ring on completion. The deposit method is efficient in terms of keeping you focused and disciplined toward spending on an engagement ring. Plus, you lock down the ring by blocking purchase offers by other clients. That’s if you honor the prepayment agreement and remain consistent.
Spending on an engagement ring varies from couple to couple. It’s a personal affair, and you should be decisive enough not to be persuaded to deviate from your budget. Note that combining the benefits of customization and a substantial budget gives you the most bang for your buck. Almost all top jewelers now offer the customization option. You can start by customizing the stone, or the have the setting laid out first. Timing the purchase of an engagement ring can also help you out. Special offers are available at specific times of the year. Summers are usually slow for jewelers, and you can get attractive discounts around that time. After receiving tax refunds, jewelers may offer deals looking to capitalize on that cash influx among engagement ring shoppers. Jewelry promotional sales during Black Friday and Amazon Prime days could also cut down your engagement ring tab by a couple of dollars. Online jewelers give the best customer services. That includes return policies and upgrade programs. Depending on the jeweler work with you can have one ring for the engagement and a new one for the wedding at no additional cost.
You can choose to shop alone or you can involve her. Spending on an engagement ring without her knowledge requires you to be mindful of both your taste and her expectations. It’s one of the most important gifts you’ll ever have to give in your life. So, make it count. You can also involve your girlfriend and have a conversation on the subject. Let her tell you what she has in mind. Discuss your financial position and draw a clear line between what’s possible and what’s extravagant. Spending on an engagement ring is such an emotional financial investment. But what you can afford is your capacity. Don’t make it a thing that’s going to pressure you into having a negative outlook on your relationship. Being on the same page with your significant other only makes it easier for you.