Advertisers want you to believe an engagement ring should cost three months’ salary—but blogger Zina Kumok debunks that old adage. Here’s how to find affordable engagement rings for a Grownup budget.
An engagement ring is more than a piece of jewelry—it’s a hallmark of that special moment when a couple decides to spend the rest of their lives together. But all too often, buying one is also the first step in a lifetime of poor financial decisions.
If you’re hoping to get engaged but don’t have a big budget, read on for ways to save money on an engagement ring.
Buy a Used Ring
Unlike buying a used car, a used engagement ring is nearly undetectable compared to its new counterpart.
Sites like Never Liked It Anyway, I Do, Now I Don’t, and Have You Seen the Ring all offer used engagement rings for discounted prices. Some national jewelry stores, such as Kay Jewelers, Zales, and Helzberg Diamonds, also have pre-owned engagement rings at lower costs than new engagement rings.
You can save up to 50 percent by getting a gently used engagement ring. If you have cash left over, stock it away for the upcoming wedding. You’re probably going to need it.
Shop at Your Favorite Bulk Retailer
While Tiffany’s may be the top store for engagement rings, you’re more likely to pay for the name than the quality there. That’s why a bulk retailer like Costco is a great option.
While jewelry connoisseurs may turn their noses up at the idea of purchasing an engagement ring from a big box store, the value is undeniable. A Bloomberg story found that Costco rings are appraised for almost 20 percent more than their retail price, while the reverse can be true for Tiffany’s rings.
Think long and hard about what an engagement ring actually means to you and your future spouse. Is it a status symbol, or a token of everlasting love? Chances are, neither of you will care where it came from in the long run—just the meaning behind it.
Skip the Diamond
One of the best ways to save money on an engagement ring is to buy a ring without a diamond. Gemstones like sapphires (popularized by Princess Kate) are one way to not only buy a more unique-looking ring, but also to save some cash.
If you want the look of a diamond but can’t afford the real thing, check out moissanite engagement rings (the stone closely resembles a diamond), or white sapphire engagement rings.
No matter what kind of ring you or your soon-to-be fiancé(e) wants, saving early and often can be the difference between buying a ring in cash or putting it on your credit card. Interest rates for credit cards can exceed 20 percent, as can in-store financing from a jewelry store.
Instead of paying with credit, set up an automatic savings plan. You can create automatic transfers every payday from your checking account to a separate savings account. That way, you’ll develop a healthy savings habit without going into debt for the ring.
You can start this process even if you aren’t in a relationship. If marriage is something you see in your future, it’s a good habit to start saving early. (It’s planning for a Grownup goal, after all.) When you meet the right person, you’ll have the money to buy and won’t have to use credit.
Zina Kumok is a writer, speaker, and coach.