Hannah Brady Engagement Diamond Ring Financially Engaged

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

For those that are thinking of getting engaged, we’re here for you. Having recently proposed to Hannah in April, I can appreciate how much planning and research it takes to find that perfect engagement ring without breaking the bank.

A quick Google search will tell you the average price of an engagement ring ranges anywhere from $5,500 – $6,300 these days. With high student loan balances and usually less than 10 years of real income under your belts, that price tag can be tough for most to swallow.

If you’ve talked to friends and family or if you’ve seen advertisements for engagement rings online, chances are you’ve heard that a ring should cost between one to three months of your salary. The first piece of advice: ignore this. The salary “guideline” was a result of a masterfully-crafted marketing campaign, beginning around WWII, by the De Beers diamond cartel.

The reality is everyone’s financial situation is different. Before you take the plunge into researching the 4 Cs, you need to figure out where you (and ideally your soon-to-be fianceé) stand financially. With other large costs looming (e.g., wedding, home purchase, etc.) in the near future, the last thing you both want is to weigh down your new marriage with monthly ring payments.

After I settled on a price that I was comfortable with, I was ready to weigh the trade-offs between vendors, the 4 Cs, and payment methods. The following are a few tips that I found helpful throughout the process:

  • Ask if you can get the credit card fee (2-3%) as a discount if you pay in cash

As mentioned in our wedding vendor post, this can result in a win-win for both sides. In my case, I received an extra 2.5% off the final price. Given the high price of rings, this can result in meaningful savings.

  • Don’t trust the price of rings shown on Pinterest

If you haven’t gotten style tips from her friends, Pinterest has some great infographics and ideas. Just don’t believe any of the prices you see.

  • Look into wholesale or online diamond stores

As I preferred working with someone in person, I ended up finding the best value and relationship via a wholesale distributor; however, either option can result in significant savings relative to a retail store. At the very least, researching these options provides some negotiating leverage.

  • Pick a credible store with customer-friendly policies

It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s especially important when making such a large and unique purchase. You can help protect yourself by doing the following:

    • Check their reputation
      • Ask family and friends and do your homework on Yelp and Google reviews
      • Look for industry affiliations, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or Jewelers of America
    • Clarify their policies for returns, warranties, and repairs
      • Many places will perform small repairs and annual cleanings for free
    • See if your diamond is accompanied with an independent diamond grading report (e.g, GIA) and laser inscribed with its diamond grading number
      • This helps you ensure that you’re receiving the cut, carat, clarity and color that you’re paying for

Questions

Have you looked into using an online or wholesale diamond store? What’s the toughest part of ring shopping for you? Comment below and let us know!

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