Proposing marriage is a big step, as it is the beginning of spending the rest of your life with the person you love. Shopping for an engagement ring, however, can be a sobering experience. Most jewelry salespeople will want to convince you that you need the biggest diamond ring that sparkles under all their specially placed lights. But do you really need to spend a year’s salary on an engagement ring? No, you don’t. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the pending proposal and spend more than what your budget really dictates, but there are ways to find a beautiful engagement ring that you won’t have to pay off for the next five years.
1. Determine how much you can afford to spend, so that you don’t have to pay for any part of the ring with credit. Chances are, you will be purchasing a decent amount of jewelry for your significant other over the coming year, so there is no need to spend an exorbitant amount on the engagement ring. If your budget is really tight, you may even plan on replacing the ring on your first wedding anniversary, or when the two of you are in a better financial situation. So remember that this ring isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all.
2. Find out how your fiancee feels about nontraditional engagement rings that feature something other than diamonds. There are many different materials out there when it comes to rings, including pearls, gemstones and lab-made stones that closely resemble diamonds. Your significant other likely knows your financial situation, and may be more open to the idea than you think.
3. If you decide to stick with a diamond, go with a size you can afford. Not everyone wants a 2-carat diamond ring, especially those who are not used to wearing jewelry. The truth is, the larger diamond rings with several side stones may look beautiful in the case, but the real test comes when it is on her finger, and she has to imagine what it would be like to carry around such a large stone–all day, every day.
4. Jewelry stores, just like any other type of store, put items on sale and clearance as the style of engagement rings changes. If you are willing to invest some time shopping around for a sale or clearance ring, you may just find one you never thought you would be able to afford, but now now can.
5. Shop around online for an engagement ring that is slightly used. Some engagements just don’t last, meaning that someone else’s misfortune may just be your golden opportunity. Check out websites like eBay for an engagement ring that someone no long needs or wants and is within your budget.