Save Money. You can buy a gorgeous diamond without spending three months’ worth of your paycheck
December is the most popular time of the year to get engaged, according to wedding planning website The Knot. If you’re planning a special proposal for the holiday season, now is the perfect time to start shopping for that engagement ring.
Here are some ways to celebrate the most romantic moment in your life without breaking the bank.
1. Forget the three-month salary rule.
Don’t worry about what other people spend on their engagement rings. A lot of the salary-based rules of thumb can be traced back to clever marketing by the diamond industry. Spend the amount you can reasonably afford.
Plus, the value of your relationship cannot be measured by how much you spend on an engagement ring. Emory University economics professors Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon surveyed over 3,000 married people in the U.S. last year. They found that the more a person spends on an engagement ring or wedding, the shorter the marriage.
2. Accept flaws.
Diamond rings are priced based on the number of flaws they have (diamonds with fewer flaws are priced much higher), but not all flaws are noticeable to the naked eye. If it’s your first time buying diamonds, you may not even notice a difference between a “perfect” diamond and one with some flaws – in most cases, you need a magnifying glass to detect the flaws. Save money by purchasing a diamond with a few irregularities.
3. Know your weight.
The weight of the diamond (measured in carats) is probably the most popular way people evaluate wedding rings. Jewelers price many of their products based on weight, so you may be able to enjoy a price break for diamonds that look identical but are slightly lower in weight – most people will not notice the half-carat size difference. This can be an easy way to save money on an engagement ring without compromising on the quality of the diamond.
4. Consider a gold band versus platinum.
As durable and prestigious as it is, a platinum band isn’t your only option for a beautiful engagement ring. Consider yellow gold, rose gold or white gold to save money on the total cost of that ring.
5. Think custom, not branded.
Branded designs and brand name rings may have caught your eye, but they come with a high price tag. Collect photos of what you like, and have your ring custom-made by a jeweler at a lower cost. Many jewelers will be more than happy to create a custom design based on photos and ideas you have. Shop around for a quote, and don’t be afraid to send several photos so the jeweler has a clear idea what you are looking for.
6. Ask for your partner’s opinion.
Talk to your future spouse about what you both want in an engagement ring. While having this discussion may dampen the surprise element of the proposal, keep in mind the engagement ring is a purchase for life. For some, it may even be something you pass along for generations. It is worth sacrificing some spontaneity to figure out exactly what you want versus what you can afford.
All this communication and research will be worth it. Starting your marriage off with a smart financial purchase might be the best wedding present you can give each other.