When it comes to budgeting, it seems you’re either an expert or a novice. If you’re the latter you’re probably thinking, “who are all these saving experts and what are they doing that I’m not?” It’s true that there are tons of little details to think of when buying a ring. Purchasing a ring can break the bank, but it doesn’t have to. Let’s look at all the ups, downs, ins, and outs of the ring budget.
The One Ring
Before you budget anything, decide if you or your sweetie really needs this ring to be THE ring right now. It’s important to consider the alternative: getting a ring that’s affordable now and purchasing a different ring later when you’re not broke from the wedding planning. I know a lot of couples who have done this and it’s a real time saver. It can be a bit of a downer when you really just want to get engaged, but you have to wait to afford the ring. I’ve even seen this take years! Instead of killing yourself trying to get that special ring right now, why not buy a filler ring and get the real one later. Decide what’s more important to you, keeping yourself financially stable and getting engaged right away, or having the engagement ring you know you’re going to have forever no matter what it takes.
Know Their Tastes
You’d be surprised what you can get within your partner’s taste. It’s important to have an idea of what you’re looking for before you start. This is a great jumping off point for the budget because once you have a style to keep your eye on, you can get an idea of what prices are out there for that specific type. Keep in mind that not every woman wants a diamond. There are some really beautiful and affordable alternatives to diamonds that are becoming popular like pearl, or another gemstone like a ruby or emerald. If your gal is a true blue “diamonds are my best friend” type, consider the cut and size. It’s likely that whatever number you’re seeing that scares you can be cut down, literally.
Think about what shape of diamond she’s looking for. If she likes a couple designs find out which of the two costs less. That way you can get more bang for your buck, and more diamond for your shape. If she only likes one style consider cutting back a bit on the quality and size of the diamond. There are a lot of stores and jewelry sites that will allow you to pick a specific diamond, so you determine the quality. Weigh what’s more important when it comes to the overall look. Would your sweetie prefer you get the bigger size and not care as much about the quality? Is the shape extremely important or would she be open minded to something a little different?
It’s like Christmas shopping, if you wait till the last minute your wallet will be sorely hit. This is because you’re trying to do too much all at once. Any good budgeter knows that the key to affording something is to know how much you’re going to spend and to plan ahead. If you start paying for the ring right away, I’m talking as soon as you know you’re going to propose, you’ll be in much better shape. Suddenly her perfect and expensive ring doesn’t seem so out of reach, especially if you choose from a store that has seasonal sales. Small payments are key. In fact, you may even be able to pay off the ring by the time you propose! Let’s face it, weddings are pretty pricey. You don’t want the ring to hold you back later on.
Here’s the thing: the biggest budgeting problem that many people face is having eyes bigger than their wallet. Don’t be unrealistic. Know what you can spend. I know you want to get the perfect ring, but it won’t be perfect if you can’t eat for the next month. Once you know what price range the ring you want is in, sit down and go through your real-world budget. After all your expenses and bills, what’s left in your paycheck that you can reasonably extend towards ring payments? Try talking to the jeweler about payment options. Once you know what kind of pay scale is reasonable for you, you can begin to set up the right kind of plan for yourself. The more you plan this out and the more honest you are with where you’re at financially, the better off you’ll be to get the ring of her dreams.
Making a big purchase can be a scary thing, especially if you want to surprise your partner. Throw in the chance that you’re not the financial guru of the two and it’s even worse. But don’t worry! If you figure out the ring boundaries, start early, and are honest with your budgeting, you should be fine. Let planning become your favorite word and you will become the ultimate ring-budget champion.