Making up your mind whether or not to pop the Big Question and put an end once-and-for-all to your glorious days of bachelorhood can be an extraordinarily difficult task. But an even harder dilemma is figuring out how to pay for the engagement ring. For many, that tiny piece of jewelry is the biggest purchase of a young lifetime. So, needless to say, ring shopping can become a stressful affair without some careful forethought and planning. Here are a few tips for getting the best ring, for the best price, for the best person in your life.
Before you ever walk into a jewelry store, sit down and crunch some numbers. Figure out what you can afford, determine an exact price limit, and stick to it. Not only will this save money later, it will also narrow down your options and make the complex decision a little simpler.
Don’t Do Debt
Marriage means starting a new life – a family life. You will inevitably have a host of new expenses and responsibilities. So the last thing you want to do is to handicap yourself with unnecessary debt. Budget responsibly, save for the ring, wait until you have enough money, and make a wise first step into your new married life.
Also, keep in mind you can save big by haggling down the sticker price, and being able to pay upfront can be a major bargaining chip. By saving beforehand, you can also benefit by putting the purchase on a cash-back credit card. Pay it off in the same month, and you’ll essentially be getting free money.
Do Your Homework
Shop around, take the time to learn about diamonds and precious metals, look for seasonal and holiday sales, search voucher sites to see if there are any deals to be had, and be sure to get the necessary certificates and professional gem ratings. No matter how confident you are about the jeweler, make sure to get a ring with a 3-party rating system and an independent grading report. That way, you’ll know you’ve found the best deal and protected yourself from getting ripped off. But, most importantly, find out what she likes. If you show up with gold when she had her heart set on a platinum band, it probably won’t be a deal breaker, but it is certain to be a disappointment.
Know what you are buying. This means taking the time to gain a thorough understanding of the various aspects and gradations of diamonds, which can be a bit complex. The most important aspect of a diamond is cut, so don’t skimp in that area. If budgetary sacrifices must be made, start with color. Also, buying a diamond just under the major weights (ie. 1-carat or .5-carat) will bring huge savings. That .95-carat rock is usually about 20% cheaper than its 1-carat cousin.
How Much is Enough?
Just for a bit of reference: it is estimated that the average European spends between 1 and 3 month’s salary to purchase an engagement ring. This amounts to somewhere between £2000-£3000. Budget accordingly.
Protect Your Investment
Get insurance. Trust me, it is worth it for the peace of mind. You are making a lifetime investment by buying this ring, and it would be ridiculous to not insure yourself against a lifetime of potential accidents that might befall it.
Purchasing an engagement ring need not be a stressful, hectic affair. But this isn’t something you can accomplish in a day. It takes careful planning, saving, and consideration. So save yourself a headache, and don’t rush into anything. Marriage is a long-term commitment, and so is buying the right ring. The best advice is to make careful and educated decisions regarding both.