Choosing an engagement ring should be simple in theory. Pick out a ring, buy it, and propose to the love of your life (who will, ideally, say yes). However, because it’s an engagement ring, there is so much emotional and cultural expectation wrapped up in beautiful box.
These are good questions to consider, and it’s important to note that there are many beautiful and high-quality engagement rings that you can love for years to come that won’t cost you a fortune or drive you into too much debt.
After all, financial strains can be difficult on any marriage, particularly a new one — so why set yourself up for stress when you can buy affordable engagement rings that your other half is sure to love?
Tips for Selecting Engagement Rings
Ask Your Other Half What They Want
The first rule of being successful when it comes to buying an engagement ring is to know what you should be looking for. It might seem completely obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of women who walk around wearing a style of ring that they don’t actually like.
So, does your other half love vintage rings or modern rings? Should you buy a solitaire or should it have as much bling as possible? Should colored stones be included or not? In order to find out, simply ask her, ask her friends or family, or go shopping with her to see the type of rings she likes.
Ignore the ‘Three Months’ Salary’ Advice
Somewhere in a smoke-filled office, an advertising copywriter long ago invented the idea that afffordable engagement rings should cost a man two or even three months of his income. It’s a benchmark I’ve seen printed time and time again in bridal magazines and in wedding blogs, but just because you see it printed somewhere doesn’t mean you have to follow it! (The origins can be traced back to a marketing campaign by gemstone giant De Beers.)
Two or three months of income is a serious financial outlay, and for many couples who live paycheck to paycheck, it’s preposterous to blindly use that guideline to determine how much to spend on an engagement ring.
Know What You Can Afford
Instead of multiplying your monthly income, know what you can realistically afford. Are you in debt? If so, you might want to buy a ring you can afford to pay off in cash instead of going into more debt for a diamond. Do you have a monthly budget? If so, look and see if there is anything you can give up for a few months to help save for a ring instead.
If you love someone and want to buy a ring, choosing one you can actually afford really is the greatest gift you can give them. Being ready and able to buy afffordable engagement rings with money you already have is far better than making monthly payments throughout your first few years of marriage.
Think Outside the Box
There are many beautiful engagement rings that aren’t sparkly clear diamond solitaires. My mom’s engagement ring is a light blue sapphire. I have friends who wear opals, black diamonds, alternative diamonds, and other precious stones. My husband gave me an affordable aquamarine ring when I gave birth to my twins last year, and it would make an absolutely stunning engagement ring.
The point is, you don’t always have to go with what society has deemed the norm — or rather, what the world’s largest diamond producer deemed the norm when it began marketing the diamond engagement ring in the 1930s. Prior to World War II — and the cunning De Beers campaign — only 10% of engagement rings were diamonds, according to the BBC.
Talk to your fiancée and discuss it together. After all, if the person you’re proposing to has extremely high expectations for their ring and would rather go into debt than wear something both of you can afford, maybe you need to have a deeper discussion about money and marriage. If you need some help finding a beautiful but affordable engagement rings for the love of your life.