When my now-fiance and I started looking at engagement rings,
he gave me a budget. While I don’t know what the final cost ended up being (and I’ll never ask), having that guideline was incredibly helpful.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t limit myself when I was trying things on in the jewelry store (by myself, I am unashamed of that) to price or carat or whatever. But at the end of the day, I thought to myself “Am I going to be happy wearing this piece of hardened carbon while I eat ramen?” The answer was “HELL. NO.”
Here are my 5 reasons why a budget for my engagement ring was a good thing:
1. It creates a realistic expectation.
Sure, at one point or another I was thinking that it would be hella cool to be sporting a literal giant rock (hey KKW, I’mma join you at the gym to prep my fourth finger), but my lifestyle would never promote it. Since I like to be as utilitarian as possible, I really only buy nice jewelry I know I’m going to wear often… so the same rules apply to my engagement ring.
2. It promotes communication and respect between partners.
Vlad and I learned to be great communicators before this time, but it definitely helped improve our skills. Just like with every relationship, you have to learn to speak someone else’s language and they should do the same with you. This was no different: Vlad told me his budget and I respected his decision.
I remember one night we were talking about stones. I was picking the center stone and looking for a green sapphire, but I was disappointed with what I had found with regards to size and color. He recommended Tsarovite instead which, even though it could get pricey, was cheaper than a green sapphire. I explained why I didn’t like it and he got frustrated. To him, he could always upgrade so why not settle for something different and cheaper now that would meet my ideas for size and color? I explained to him that I didn’t want to think about my engagement ring as a placeholder for something “better” down the line. I wanted something I could cherish forever, regardless of income or status.
3. It forces you to do research.
I did a lot of hunting to find the stone I have today. (And yes, I am willing to call my engagement ring my dream ring!) I learned a lot about the market and about the ethics behind stones, and it helped me make more informed decisions as a consumer. After all, you can affect change with your wallet!
4. It keeps you from going into debt... for a ring....
If your jeweler offers a payment plan, that’s fine. But I would never ever recommend getting a loan for a ring. If you or your SO have problems with the fact you can't get X ring because of Y budget, you have a MUCH bigger problem.
5. It keeps you focused on WHY you're getting engaged.
At the end of the day, the ring is just a ring.
What people are really celebrating when we announced our engagement is our love and relationship, not the stone, setting, or anything else. They are just happy to see two people in love tell the world they have decided to take the next step together.
People will tell you what I just said the ring doesn’t matter, the marriage does. This is TRUE.
But there may be a caveat you do need to keep in mind. For some people, a ring is also a symbol of your their pride because they gave you a ring that, in their mind, shows the world that you chose them. So in my honest opinion, finding a balance between practicality and representation is key!
If you're yet to get engaged, good luck! :) And at the end of the day, just remember: you’re marrying your favorite person in the world!