So, you’ve made the big decision to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage. Good for you! Next comes the second big decision: buying an engagement ring. With so many types of engagement rings out there, this can seem like a daunting process. However, there’s hope. If you’re like most people, you’ll have to think about the cost of the ring, and that means setting a budget. Fortunately, it also means you’ll narrow down your options considerably once you figure out how much you can spend.
It might not be romantic, but setting an engagement ring budget makes a lot of sense. After all, you don’t want to end up in a difficult financial situation before you’ve even popped the question – save that for after your wedding day!
Start off by Reviewing Your Current Expenses
There are many rules of thumb about how much to spend on an engagement ring – you’ve probably heard the “two months salary” clichés. These are just broad guidelines, but they point to a simple truth: buy a ring that matches your financial reality.
Be smart about setting a budget. Don’t just figure out how much you make in a month and start shopping. Take into account your debts, your expenses, bills, mortgage payments, taxes and everything else your money is going to.
Take the time to subtract your monthly expenses from your income, and consider any existing long-term debts. If you have savings, great – just make sure they aren’t needed for something else. Bottom line: if you don’t think you can afford a ring that will suit you right now, then wait. Plan for it in the future and start saving towards your goal.
Coming up with a budget in this way won’t just help you buy an engagement ring. It will also make financial planning easier in every aspect of your life. Remember, the engagement ring is only part of the first step. Once you propose, you’ll need to focus on paying for your wedding and honeymoon, so it makes sense to get your finances in order now.
How to Get Good Value in an Engagement Ring
Now that you’ve set your budget, it’s time to shop for a ring. Since you’re operating within a limited framework, you’ll want to focus on getting the best value for your dollar. Here are some tips to help you achieve that goal.
You’ve heard of the 4 Cs – cut, color, clarity and carat weight. For maximum value, focus on the cut (not to be confused with the shape) of the diamond. If you get a ring with an excellent cut, it will reflect light in just the right way to give it that classic sparkle. On the other hand, if the cut is sub-par the diamond will look dull. Prioritizing the cut will ensure your ring provides the most impact for your money.
Be Smart with Carat Weight
Carat weight affects the size of the diamond, and can really make the price go up fast. Save some money by buying a diamond that is slightly shy of a full carat in size. For example, a 0.9-carat diamond will cost less than a 1-carat diamond, but the difference in size will be negligible.
Consider Shopping Online
You can save quite a lot of money by shopping for an engagement ring online. Online jewelers don’t have to spend money on expensive showrooms and storefronts, so they can sell diamonds for less. Plus, shopping online makes it really easy to compare prices and quality between jewelers.
In the end, buying an engagement ring isn’t that complicated if you set a budget. Follow these tips, and you’ll have more time – and money – to spend planning your wedding day!