When it comes to popping the question, finding the perfect ring is key. But with the high cost of engagement and wedding rings, it can be a challenge to stay on budget. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Our practical guide to buying an affordable engagement ring will help you say “I do” to save without sacrificing style or quality.
Why Are Engagement and Wedding Rings Important?
Engagement rings and wedding rings are very special pieces of jewelry. People have been giving rings to each other at weddings for a very long time. Both rings are very romantic because they represent important moments in a couple’s life.
The tradition of giving rings dates back in history to ancient Egypt when the ring finger was considered the most important finger because it had a special connection to the heart. Even though ring designs have changed over time, they still have the same meaning of forever. Diamond rings became a symbol of strong and unbreakable love because diamonds are very strong. That’s why engagement rings with diamond designs are still very popular today.
What do engagement and wedding rings mean?
An engagement ring means more than just a piece of jewelry. It represents a couple’s commitment to each other and the start of their journey toward marriage. When someone proposes, it’s a promise of a shared future, and the ring is a statement of that promise. The ring reminds them of this significant moment and confirms their love for each other. People wear their engagement rings for a long time, even after they get married. It doesn’t matter if the ring is expensive or not; affordable engagement rings can show love just as well.
The wedding ring is probably the most important symbol of a couple’s commitment. Unlike the engagement ring, it’s the official symbol of an officiated relationship. The rings are exchanged during the marriage ceremony, and both partners receive one as a symbol of their spoken vows. It represents their promise to support, honor, and love each other forever. The bride usually wears her wedding ring under her engagement ring, close to her heart, emphasizing the love they share. You can find meaningful, affordable wedding rings that symbolize a couple’s commitment without spending too much money.
How to Set a Budget for Engagement and Wedding Rings
Weddings can cost a lot, and sometimes the most crucial thing can be the smallest: the rings. The engagement ring and wedding band can be expensive, and it depends on what metal they are made of and if there are gemstones or not.
It’s important to strike a balance between affordability and quality. You want cheap engagement rings that are still of high quality. It’s essential to spend money wisely when buying an engagement ring and wedding band, even though they are significant purchases. They offer a long-term investment, as they are usually worn every day from the engagement and wedding onward.
Should Engagement Rings Be More Expensive?
The bride’s engagement ring is usually a very important and expensive item. Many people have imagined what their ring will look like for a long time. But is it more expensive than the wedding ring?
Usually, engagement rings are fancier and larger than wedding rings. They usually have a bigger center stone, like a diamond, and are known for their sparkle.
This means the engagement ring is usually more expensive than the wedding ring. But how much should you spend on a diamond engagement ring, and how to find cheap engagement rings?
It’s a tradition that the engagement ring should cost two to three months’ salary of the person proposing. But, according to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Survey, many couples spend an average of over $5,600 on an engagement ring. If you’re struggling to make ends meet or already have a lot of debt, spending that much money may not be the best idea.
How To Set a Budget For an Affordable Engagement Ring
Determine your payment options
When it comes to buying an affordable engagement ring, there are different ways to pay for it. If you like planning ahead, you can save money for a year or more before starting your search. This means you can put money into a special savings account to set it aside from your everyday money.
Another option is to use personal credit cards or take out a personal loan from your bank. If you have good credit, you might be able to get rewards or special offers.
You can also avail yourself of in-house financing plans. This means you can buy the ring and pay it off over a certain period of time without incurring any interest or at low-interest rates. But you need to make sure to pay it off on time, or you will be charged interest from the date of purchase.
Lastly, you could choose to put the ring on layaway. This means you pay a deposit upfront, usually 30% of the total, and then have 6 months to pay off the rest. The downside is that you can’t take the ring out of the store until it’s fully paid off.
No matter which option you choose, remember that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to show your love and commitment. There are affordable engagement rings available that can still be meaningful and beautiful. The important thing is to find a way to pay for it that works for you and your financial situation.
Research the real cost
Many people forget to research the costs of diamond engagement rings before buying them, which can lead to problems. Engagement rings are a significant purchase, so it’s important to understand the costs involved.
There are four things to consider when choosing a diamond ring, which are known as the “four Cs.” These will help you pick the most beautiful ring for your budget:
- Carat weight, which is how much the diamond weighs. The size of a diamond directly correlates with its value.
- Color, which is how white or colorless the diamond appears. A colorless diamond will be more expensive than a diamond that appears a little “warmer” like a yellow diamond.
- Clarity refers to the number of imperfections or inclusions in the diamond. A stone with high clarity will be more expensive, but depending on the size and setting, you may not need to purchase a stone with high clarity.
- Cut, which determines how the diamond sparkles. A well-cut diamond will be more expensive than a poorly-cut one.
Consider Lab Grown Diamond Rings
Lab diamonds are made in a lab and not found on the earth like natural diamonds. Even though they are man-made, they are real diamonds. Scientists and experts in the diamond industry agree that lab diamonds are identical to natural diamonds. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and it would be very hard to tell the difference between them and natural diamonds. They share a nearly identical chemical structure.
According to the Diamond Pro, lab diamonds used to be more expensive than natural diamonds 4-5 years ago, by about 22–35% on average. However, the cost has changed over time. Today, man-made diamonds are much cheaper than natural diamonds, ranging from 50–60% cheaper and sometimes even more.
The reason for the price difference is the supply of diamonds. Natural diamonds are limited because it takes nature billions of years to make them. But with synthetic diamonds, there is no limit to the supply, so the price goes down as the supply goes up.
Select Affordable Options
Many people choose diamonds for their engagement rings, but the price varies depending on four factors called the 4 Cs. Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, and they’re difficult to scratch or break. You should also decide if an earth-mined diamond fits your budget or if lab-grown diamonds are an option for you.
Lab-grown diamonds are a great option if you want a larger size and/or high quality at a lower cost. Other precious stones like sapphire, ruby, emerald, aquamarine, morganite, pearls, and opals can also be used in engagement rings. It’s important to know how durable your choice is and how to care for it. No matter what you choose, there’s an option for every budget.
Determine the Mounting Cost
How much a mounting cost depends on many factors. The least expensive option is a solitaire mounting with no stones. On average, this type of mounting costs between $750 and $1000, depending on the size of the center stone. The price will increase if more diamonds are added to the band.
A band with only a few diamonds may add $500 to $800 to the cost, while a band with many diamonds or a complicated halo design can add thousands of dollars. The cost also depends on the type of metal used, with 14k gold being less expensive than 18k gold or platinum.
Talk to Your Partner
Since purchasing a diamond engagement ring is a significant investment, some couples may decide to have a conversation about the cost before they start shopping. If deciding on a budget is not a straightforward process, it’s essential to agree on what matters most to each person. For instance, one person may prioritize the size of the diamond over the quality, while the other may want unique engagement ring settings.
It’s possible that your partner already has a vision of what they would like in an engagement ring. Knowing their preferences will assist you in selecting a ring that they will adore. Additionally, it will help you determine if a larger diamond, an elaborate setting, or diamond alternatives are the best choices.
Tips for Saving Money When Buying Wedding Rings
Here are the best tips to save money while looking for wedding bands, from general budget tips to selecting the greatest value band:
1. Set a budget ceiling.
You should consider your budget before you start looking for wedding bands. Setting a budget early is advised, regardless of how large, modest, or in between it is.
Setting a strict budget for yourself can prevent you from overspending and help you narrow down your alternatives.
Although there isn’t a set amount you must spend on wedding bands, it’s preferable if you can take your preferences and financial situation into account. This will enable you and your fiancé to decide on a budget that you are both content with.
2. Specify your options.
It’s excellent if you can limit your options before beginning the search because this is one of the jewelry items that you’ll be wearing frequently. You should reflect on a few issues, such as:
- Do you want your wedding and engagement bands to be fashioned of the same metal?
- Do you want it to be more distinctive, stylish, or simple?
- Would you like some diamonds in it?
For the best chance of determining your needs before you begin buying, try to get the answers to these questions as soon as possible. Additionally, it’s a good idea to start limiting your options.
Avoid waiting until the last minute to get your wedding bands like the majority of couples, which is a horrible idea. Three to four months before your wedding, you should start your hunt for a lifetime engagement ring. This is especially true if you’re considering having your wedding bands designed.
3. Consider your lifestyle.
Many married people like to wear their wedding bands every day. If you anticipate doing the same, you must consider your way of life when selecting the ideal ring. If you spend a lot of time in the gym, outdoors, or at work, you may want to invest in a durable wedding band.
Additionally, don’t forget to maintain your jewelry. Keep in mind that the more complex the piece of jewelry, the more effort will be needed to keep it in good shape. However, if you’re not a huge fan of extra maintenance, you might want to opt for a platinum or gold ring, which never goes out of style and is also long-lasting.
You want your wedding rings to feel like a natural extension of your fingers, not a source of constant anxiety. So be careful to consider how practical and comfortable the rings you plan to purchase are.
4. Get the right ring size.
The wedding band must fit. It must fit your finger precisely. You can always switch rings. However, the wedding band must fit perfectly on your ring finger.
Visit a jewelry store with your partner and have them measure your ring fingers to acquire the right size. This takes two minutes and is free at any shop. They can easily determine your ring size by examining your fingers.
Measure your ring fingers at home. However, your fingers can expand and contract due to heat, cold, etc., so measure when you’re calm and your body temperature is normal. Wrap a string around your ring finger. Pen the ends. Use a measuring device on the paper or string.
5. Match the style with the engagement ring.
You can always try to match the wedding bands with your engagement ring; however, it is largely discretionary. Wedding planners want to assist couples in finding the ideal bands that complement their engagement rings since they are aware of how difficult it can be to prepare a great wedding. Couples are now receiving this kind of service from jewelry shops as well.
You can go to a jewelry store, though it would be best to go to the one where you bought the engagement ring. If they have matching bracelets in stock, you can inquire with them. You can even change the complementary bands to fit your preferences. For instance, if the matching bands lack diamonds, you can request that they be designed with diamonds.
The Price of Engagement and Wedding Rings Does Not Measure Love
When budgeting for engagement and wedding rings, it’s important to remember one thing: the ring should express your love and commitment. It should have a personal significance for you and your partner and represent your relationship. The ring should not be overly expensive but should be thoughtful and meaningful.
In other words, the ring should symbolize an investment in your relationship. This is why rings can be more expensive than wedding rings, as they signify both a romantic and financial investment in your partner. Your partner will understand your budget and won’t expect you to go beyond your means. Still, they will appreciate a meaningful gesture that shows your serious commitment to your future together.
Ultimately, engagement and wedding rings should reflect your love and commitment to your partner. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful and meaningful, representing an investment in your relationship. It’s important to remember that the true value lies in the symbolism of the ring and the love and commitment it represents, rather than its price tag. Your partner will appreciate a ring that shows your serious commitment to each other and the future you will share.