Author Topic: How much to spend on an engagement ring?  (Read 10109 times)

ATLien_Si

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Location: Atlanta
  • YOUR COMFORT ZONE IS A DANGEROUS PLACE
How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« on: December 14, 2016, 02:40:42 PM »
I'm interested in getting some opinions from fellow Mustachians on whats the appropriate amount to spend on an engagement ring. My GF and I have been together since college (5 years), and I'm considering popping the question. Now personally I find jewelry to be a pointless waste of money, and engagement rings to be another social norm of consumerism. She insist she wants this beautiful ring which I can only imagine will cost a fortune, and I always tell her its not happening.

Between both of our student loans (combined $75k), my car ($17K) (which is dumb, I bought it before I read MMM), and not having any substantial savings, I think it would be foolish to save for a ring and a wedding rather than the tangible goals we want to accomplish in the future.

I've been reading the MMM blog for a while now and I haven't seen any post pertaining to this. What says you?

aFrugalFather

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
    • Life/Finance Blog
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2016, 02:48:08 PM »
A beautiful ring doesn't have to cost money, unless she is referring to the clarity of a diamond.

A friend of mine got his finance a Vanagon VW camper as an engagement, and personally I think thats awesome, even though I did the  traditional ring route myself.   

cincystache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2016, 02:54:54 PM »
You can find some nice rings for about $500-$1000 at a local jeweler in most areas. Look for family owned and operated, skip the mall and big name brands.

I would take cold hard cash to the store so you aren't "upsold" by a pushy salesperson. Again, if you go to a local mom and pop store, this should be less likely to happen.

The way you talk about her though, you might want to address some of your differences in opinion and lifestyle desires before popping the question. If you don't see eye to eye on money, you are getting off on the wrong foot in a marriage.

Good luck!

plog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 214
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2016, 02:59:55 PM »
Quote
I've been reading the MMM blog for a while now and I haven't seen any post pertaining to this. What says you?

I think its a sign of a bigger issue.  Most people spend more time talking about the finances of the engagement ring than they do of their actual finances.  I fear this might be your case.

You're on board with Mustache, but is she?  And how long have you been on board?  She might see this whole mustache thing just as an excuse to weasel out of a nice engagement ring--and frankly I wouldn't blame her.  I mean that fancy car was fine, but now that it comes to something she wants its a bad idea to blow a lot of money?

 I think you two need to talk about money (not just the engagement ring money) and see if how far apart you two really are.

cj25

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2016, 03:16:39 PM »
I'm on board with a the beautiful ring.  She has to wear it everyday for hopefully the rest of her life.  Find out what style/design she wants to and then explore price ranges and what you can do reduce expense (size, store, etc).  But please get her something she actually wants and will love.  In reason, of course. She should understand your finances and budget. If you make minimum wage she shouldn't be expecting at $10,000 ring.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 03:37:06 PM by cj25 »

Sailor Sam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4195
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Steel Beach
  • Semper...something
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2016, 03:17:05 PM »
Try this in google: site:forum.mrmoneymustache.com engagement ring. There are several independent threads floating around, that might help guide you.

Short answer, don't discount and dismiss your gf's opinions and desires because they differ from yours, or from MMM, or from people on this site. Keep discussing with her, until you find a compromise that you can both live with.

ATLien_Si

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Location: Atlanta
  • YOUR COMFORT ZONE IS A DANGEROUS PLACE
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 03:18:27 PM »
I guess I never thought of it that way. I have been reading MMM for about 4 months, and I guess I may just be a bit over zealous. I'm 26, she's 24. So we have plenty of time to get our finances together and make the right choices. Im not proposing for at least another year or 2 sows've got time to have the "Money" talk.

I really appreciate you guys different perspectives BTW

Civex

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 167
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2016, 06:40:54 PM »
Without having an idea of you full financial picture it is hard to say. I spent more than the MMM crew recommends and more in line with what I read Bogleheads spend. For me that meant roughly 1 month gross/2 months net salary; if you want to look at it in those terms. Spend what you can without creating debt or hardship.

My reasoning on spending more than generally recommended here: we are currently DINKs, we max out all tax advantaged accounts, and I know she feels that I can be a bit too frugal at times, so I wanted to show her that I value our relationship more than a few hundred additional share of VTSAX.

I would recommend keeping in mind the marriage timeline and marriage costs- the ring is only the beginning, so you don't want to put yourself in a tough position. If you are going with a traditional diamond ring, I would highly recommend studying up at pricescope and learning about diamond cut. And congratulations on your upcoming engagement!

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3015
  • Age: 81
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2016, 07:13:04 PM »
Explore what kind of rings she likes, and then do research on locating a ring together. I would suggest looking at independent jewelers, antique stores, or even Etsy.

The real big thing you have to come to an agreement on is if she wants something specific, then you calling her wants pointless or not happening is not conducive to a good relationship. Compromise is the name of the game in the end. ;)

And also do the proper research on why the diamond industry is screwing over everyone by artificially controlling the amount of diamonds sold, creating through marketing/sales the idea that a diamond is very rare and valuable. Diamonds are not rare, nor are they valuable - it truly is a scam everyone has fallen for. By going with a lab created stone, or even better a really beautiful colored gemstone like a sapphire or emerald - also lab created - you'll not only save money, but you'll have something beautiful and unique and NO ONE will know that you spend hundreds instead of thousands unless you carry around the receipt and present it every time someone looks at the ring.

I have a beautiful antique-look sterling silver ring with tiny stones along the sides and a 1 carat square cut stone. It's cubic zircona, and I get compliments on it every single day. I had a real diamond ring in the beginning, but I got tired of it (and lost so much weight it didn't fit any more) so this silver antique ring was supposed to be temporary until I stabilized in weight... but I'm not going to replace the replacement now because it is so pretty and unique and I love it.


Here are some gorgeous rings I found in like 5 seconds on Etsy that are very reasonably priced (custom rings but with lab created diamonds):

https://www.etsy.com/listing/265054506/325-ct-princess-cut-engagement-bridal?ref=related-1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/275205540/235-ct-round-cut-engagement-ring-band?ref=related-2

https://www.etsy.com/listing/286490835/16-ct-princess-cut-engagement-ring-band?ref=listing-shop-header-1

obstinate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2016, 12:19:02 AM »
Not that I would ever encourage lying to your girlfriend, but she would never know the difference if you presented her with a cubic zirconia ring, and nobody else would either.

Alternately, go to the diamond shop and tell them you want their bottom of the barrel stuff. Again, unless she owns a jewelers loup, she won't know the difference.

The fact that both of these approaches are indistinguishable (unless you have the receipt) from spending thousands on an expensive diamond, argues against spending thousands on an expensive diamond. Personally, I'd be reluctant to marry someone who could not at least acknowledge this fact. If even after that they want a diamond, I might spend $1k or $2k, but no more.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 12:21:00 AM by obstinate »

Yearofsue

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Location: Southern CA
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2016, 01:03:19 AM »
For my anniversary, I chose to get a Swarovski crystal ring.  It cost under $50. It looks like a big diamond, I get so many compliments. Upside to getting a ring like this- cheap to replace if lost!

shrnjad

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
  • Location: Munich, Germany
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2016, 01:53:25 AM »
This worked for me, but might not work for everybody.

I live in Germany and before our engagement I was visiting friends in Berlin. They have a big famous flea market. A guy had a stand with wooden rings (maybe it was cocoa nut shell) and I bought one for 2-3 . These rings were super slim and beautiful, not as clunky as most wooden ones I see.

I can't remember if my (now) wife had mentioned wooden rings prior to that. But it fit her style, she loved it and she wore it every day. Until one day that guy we met on the street shaked her hand and broke the ring. :D :D

But that was after we had married so it was kind of oke, because she already had another ring I got her for the marriage that she wore every day.

And beautiful does not need to be expensive. The one I bought her for the marriage was around 100. It was very beautiful with three small stones and two kinds of gold intertwined. We went shopping for that one together and chose it together, because I did not want to by a ring she will not like.

Also apart from the ring, you can do a lot of other stuff to propose to her in style. For example we went on a very beautiful lake, the perfect location. It was summer, she was sitting on a tree hanging over the lake and I was proposing from below. It was a memorable moment.

But I agree that you should not be cheap. Get her the ring she will like. And you should know well enough to know that, otherwise why do you propose to her. ;)

FLBiker

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 985
  • Age: 43
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2016, 07:12:28 AM »
Some great advice here: talk about finances more broadly BEFORE getting engaged, and get her the type of ring she wants.

I think I spent $2.5K on a ring at an estate jewelry shop.  More than I may have liked, but it's what my wife wanted.  That was 7 years ago, and I'm sure she'd pick a cheaper ring today (she's really gotten frugal over the last couple of years).  She spent $100 on a wooden ring for me (which didn't last, so she spent another $100 a couple of years ago on a recycled sterling silver ring).  Way more importantly, we share similar financial goals / beliefs.  We spent $150 on our wedding (eloped, had the ceremony in the pastor's backyard next to Great Smoky Mountain NP), plus maybe another $100 on flowers / hair / makeup, and maybe $150 on her dress.  We live in a much cheaper house than our peers, and drive older cars, spend less on groceries and vacations, save way more for retirement, etc.  This is where you really need to have common ground if you're planning a life together.

brute

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 691
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2016, 07:20:18 AM »
Lab created diamonds and gem stones are pretty cool. Good quality ones will last pretty well as long as the real deal and unless you're willing to wreck them in testing, are pretty close to impossible to tell the difference from a natural stone.

If you really want natural stones, I'm into recycled diamonds. Personally I think we pretty well have enough diamonds floating around already, and I would rather have a jeweler take some old ones and put them on a legendary ring than pillage the earth and put the miners through hell for something that will cost twice as much in the end.

SachaFiscal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 265
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2016, 07:29:13 AM »
When my husband proposed he didn't know what kind of ring I wanted so he got a cheap ring from Claire's boutique and put a note in it saying I could trade it in for whatever ring I choose.  He also said I could choose whatever kind of wedding I like. Anything from eloping to a big wedding with lots of family and friends. I think diamond rings are a scam so I went for a simple gold $150 band. Planning a wedding and spending that much money one a single party sounded like a nightmare so I chose an elopement! I don't regret a thing. All that money we would have spent on a ring and a big wedding is growing nicely in our Vanguard account :-)

Saskatchewstachian

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 200
  • Age: 28
  • Location: SK
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2016, 07:32:19 AM »
If you do end up going the route of the big ring, buy a wholesale diamond and a band separately! The markup on the pre-made bands is huge but if you can get the diamond wholesale it gets rid of a large part of the markup then a jeweler can place that diamond in any band you'd like.

mskyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2016, 08:30:13 AM »
There's no right answer - I know the diamond people used to say "three months' salary" and I've also heard "one month's salary" but I would have MURDERED my fiance if he had spent that much on a ring! Actually I guess I wouldn't have murdered him but I probably would have broken up with him.

My engagement ring cost a bit more than I would have liked, but my fiance didn't want to feel/be perceived as being cheap. It's not a traditional solitaire, it's a vintage platinum ring with small channel-set diamonds. I like it, but it's also very strange getting used to wearing a ring every day - I only ever wore rings for parties and things before, and part of me wishes I had tried out more styles of rings or worn rings more often before we chose. I probably won't get a wedding ring, just keep using this one as a combo.

Ideally I think you shouldn't spend more than you can reasonably save up in, say, six months.

KBecks

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1898
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2016, 08:37:07 AM »
I'm on board with a the beautiful ring.  She has to wear it everyday for hopefully the rest of her life.  Find out what style/design she wants to and then explore price ranges and what you can do reduce expense (size, store, etc).  But please get her something she actually wants and will love.  In reason, of course. She should understand your finances and budget. If you make minimum wage she shouldn't be expecting at $10,000 ring.

+1.  I also think that you should look at Moissanite. 
https://www.moissaniteco.com/

If she wants sparkly, get her something sparkly.  If she cares about a large stone, you will save a ton by getting a fake stone. 

The more important thing is that you two are not going to fight over money your whole marriage.  Are you on the same page about finances?

Gifts are very important to some people.  You should be prepared to be generous with your wife.  This does not have to come with a crazy price tag though. 

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2603
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2016, 08:48:05 AM »
My SO spent (IMO) too much on my ring. It led to three separate fights:

One about our contents insurance (he wanted me to insure for more than the value of the stuff that we had before I knew about the ring, and to get 'out and about' cover which I thought was stupid for the value of our combined pocket lint).

One when he wanted me to stop playing on a kid's playground (which I love to do and I thought he was being a killjoy even though I agree it could have damaged the ring)

Finally around six months later when I found out he had a huge balance on his credit card, (some of this was the ring) which I then paid off (our finances were and are only partly combined, but are adequately combined that I shouldn't be getting 3% credit interest while he is paying 16% interest). It turns out he'd been pretty stressed about this, but didn't feel like he could tell me.

Finally, shortly after we got married I stopped wearing the engagement ring. I have a wedding ring and a little tattoo underneath my ring (as an engineer, DIY enthusiast and tree-climber I can't always wear a ring) which I love and are vastly more practical than the beautiful ring he bought me.

So I now have a ring that I only wear a couple of times a year that mostly sits in the drawer.

I have a wonderful relationship and a very happy marriage, but this was not helped at all by the over-zealous sales staff and the consumerist pressure (partly from my foolish friends) around engagement and wedding nonsense. We could have got engaged with a 5p gummy ring for an equal or better outcome.

TL;DR: you know your partner, marketing is bullshit, the ring will not make your relationship better. Good luck.

KBecks

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1898
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2016, 09:30:51 AM »
Think about making the proposal special so you both have a sweet story and a beautiful memory.

hops

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 289
  • Location: United States
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2016, 09:39:10 AM »
+1.  I also think that you should look at Moissanite. 
https://www.moissaniteco.com/

That's what I had my fiancee do for my ring (we're both women and both wear engagement rings). She felt uneasy about spending so little because some of her colleagues are jaw-droppingly spendy in that department, but got over it when I explained that an expensive ring isn't something I'd value; it would just stress me out. It's the exact design I always wanted and gets plenty of compliments but I don't worry about losing it and will never have to look at it regretfully and wish we'd paid down her student loans instead.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1684
  • Location: SE PA
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2016, 11:13:17 AM »
Find out what she is expecting and know what you are buying. 

Someone linked some etsy rings and said they were lab created diamonds.  Read the details, they are not lab created diamonds, they are a diamond simulant.  In the months before I got engaged, I spent a lot of time on a now defunct forum dedicated to diamond simulants.  Simulants are not diamonds but rather diamond substitutes.  The etsy seller is selling lab created CZs that are coated with lab created carbon material, which is carbon, like a diamond, but not crystalline, like a diamond is. 

They do now make synthetic diamonds (chemically, optically, physically identical to mined diamonds), but they cost nearly as much as the natural variety.

Nothing wrong with CZs.  I requested one myself!  Just understand what you are paying for before you shell out your hard earned money.  (DH did not listen and got me a very nice GIA certified diamond.  The .65 VS1, H, excellent cut round stone and .20 pave setting were $2,728.  From blue nile.  I wouldn't go back and change his choice if I could.  Still love the ring and enjoy it every day 10 years later.)  And if you go with a CZ, get a believable size.  My stone looks lovely on my hand and I wouldn't want a larger one.  (size 4 ring finger, though.)

Moissanite is pretty but it looks less like a diamond than CZ does.  My untrained eye can spot the difference- a greenish/yellowish tinge to the colors that it reflects.  They are doubly refractive, and diamonds and CZ are not, so the disco ball effect is also a dead giveaway.  Again, very pretty for what it is, but not a good diamond substitute, IMO.


gardeningandgreen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
  • Location: Minnesota
    • Gardening and Green
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2016, 12:55:18 PM »
I have an awesome ring that my now husband spent a little more than was needed on. Its from Etsy and the engagement ring and wedding band were about $800 together. It does have some small diamonds(the part that I didn't really need but the husband decided I did) but it has a cool blue stone in the middle. I recommend looking on Etsy my husband also got his wedding band on there. It is also nice to be able to support the artwork of people who may not have any other way to sell their work.

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2016, 01:02:19 PM »
There's really no right or wrong answer here. Well, there are some wrong answers, like financing a massive diamond you can't afford, but there are multiple right answers - modest diamond, larger CZ or lab-created diamond, nontraditional ring. Talk with your GF and see if you guys can come up with an option you'll both be happy with.

Also, you mention planning to have the "finance talk", but this really shouldn't be one talk; it should be a series of conversations on what you guys envision for your future. For example, does the idea of living frugally in order to retire early sound exciting to her, or would she rather have a big house and frequent vacations? If you're planning on kids, do you want one parent to stay home with them? Would you rather have a high-powered job with long hours and a high salary, or a more relaxed one with a lower salary? And so on. Of course your answers to these questions may change over time, but it's good to identify any major incompatibilities in life goals sooner rather than later.

Mikila

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 233
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2016, 03:13:37 PM »
A ring does not a marriage make.  If your gf could pick between an expensive ring and marrying you next month with a $100 ring, I bet she would pick the $100 ring.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2016, 04:36:11 PM »
I'm on board with a the beautiful ring.  She has to wear it everyday for hopefully the rest of her life.  Find out what style/design she wants to and then explore price ranges and what you can do reduce expense (size, store, etc).  But please get her something she actually wants and will love.  In reason, of course. She should understand your finances and budget. If you make minimum wage she shouldn't be expecting at $10,000 ring.

+1.  I also think that you should look at Moissanite. 
https://www.moissaniteco.com/

If she wants sparkly, get her something sparkly.  If she cares about a large stone, you will save a ton by getting a fake stone. 

The more important thing is that you two are not going to fight over money your whole marriage.  Are you on the same page about finances?

Gifts are very important to some people.  You should be prepared to be generous with your wife.  This does not have to come with a crazy price tag though.
+1 for a couple of reasons, somewhat related.

I have a moissanite necklace, and my mom and sister have rings, because I used to work for the company that manufactured the stones.  So once a year, if there were any stones that didn't meet the requirements of the jeweler (which was an offshoot of ours), they sold the stones to employees at cost.  So, $50 for a 1/2 carat I think.  It's beautiful, and very hard to tell if it's real or not.

Anyway, I'd worn my necklace to enough parties that one of my husband's coworkers and his girlfriend chose it for their engagement ring.  Plus, made in America!

tralfamadorian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1213
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2016, 05:08:13 PM »
Not that I would ever encourage lying to your girlfriend, but she would never know the difference if you presented her with a cubic zirconia ring, and nobody else would either.

Until she took it to a jeweler for the insurance appraisal and they told her it was fake.  Or until it clouds up after a couple years of daily wear. 

Lying about the stone is probably the worst idea ever.

I would add antique rings to the list of sources of more bang for your engagement ring buck.  Antique settings can be quite beautiful and unique and OMC/OEC diamonds are gorgeous!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 05:16:42 PM by kellyincville »

obstinate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2016, 08:21:22 PM »
Of course you should not actually lie. It's just a thought experiment. Btw cz stones no longer cloud. That used to happen a long time ago but they have figured out a formulation to prevent this, at least according to the straight dope message boards.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2603
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2016, 11:49:19 PM »
Lying about the stone is probably the worst idea ever.

Agreed.

SnackDog

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • Location: Latin America
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2016, 01:37:42 AM »
The important thing is being married.  That's huge.  Forget the whole engagement ring, engagement period, wedding nonsense.  It is all ridiculous.  Say "honey, how about we pick up some rings this weekend and get married next Friday?"

We just went with simple silver wedding bands (purchased at a Chinese mom and pop shop in Oakland) and good friends at the county courthouse. Obligatory FB photo allowed everyone else to congratulate us (without wasting their time and money). Followed up with a fabulous dinner.  I caught a little bit of hell for a while on not paying more for the ring, but it's all settled down now and we just wear them now.   Cost me less than 5% of gross monthly salary.


Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2603
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2016, 01:51:39 AM »
The important thing is being married.  That's huge.  Forget the whole engagement ring, engagement period, wedding nonsense.  It is all ridiculous.  Say "honey, how about we pick up some rings this weekend and get married next Friday?"

We just went with simple silver wedding bands (purchased at a Chinese mom and pop shop in Oakland) and good friends at the county courthouse. Obligatory FB photo allowed everyone else to congratulate us (without wasting their time and money). Followed up with a fabulous dinner.  I caught a little bit of hell for a while on not paying more for the ring, but it's all settled down now and we just wear them now.   Cost me less than 5% of gross monthly salary.

If I was doing it again I'd do this and a big party.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2016, 06:49:55 AM »
I guess I never thought of it that way. I have been reading MMM for about 4 months, and I guess I may just be a bit over zealous. I'm 26, she's 24. So we have plenty of time to get our finances together and make the right choices. Im not proposing for at least another year or 2 sows've got time to have the "Money" talk.

I really appreciate you guys different perspectives BTW

If you have two years to plan, I wouldn't worry about prices right now. There's still time for your discussions to evolve; I wouldn't worry about such a small purchase that was two years out.

tralfamadorian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1213
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2016, 09:12:11 AM »
Btw cz stones no longer cloud.

Yea, not so much.  One of my side gigs is as a jeweler.  CZ arrive coated, protecting it from clouding, but after a couple years of daily wear, I would not count on that coating holding up.  They're just not meant to be forever stones- they're placeholders for precious stones in quality jewelry or in disposable costume jewelry.   

Roothy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 120
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2016, 10:34:53 AM »
Perspective of a wife here:

You need to do something together that reflects your joint values.  If she wants a fancy, expensive ring, but that doesn't comport with YOUR values, that's a problem.

My husband truly surprised me with his wedding proposal.  But he knew me well enough that he proposed with a very pretty CZ ring he had bought online for, like, $25.  Read up on the history of the stone--it used to fool jewelers until they learned what to look for.  NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, will be able to glance, or even stare hard from up close, at your wife's ring and know it is a CZ.

Then consider the history of diamonds--including the modern history of how they are mined, and the devastating and appalling human rights atrocities that surround their production.

In fact, after I gave an enthusiastic yes to my husband, after a few days I explained that as pretty as it was, I didn't really want the CZ ring either.  I didn't want anything thinking I would wear a diamond, to be honest, given what I've written above.  Again, the question is--what comports with your values?  To me, "advertising" a diamond even though I wasn't wearing one wasn't acceptable.  So we picked out a pretty, but under $100, etsy ring with a blue stone.

After we got married, I even stopped wearing that--because again, jewelry that looks expensive (even if it isn't) also just doesn't comport with our values.  I now wear a simple titanium (I think) band, and my husband switched over to a black silicone band for comfort/safety--which cost about $2, and he gets no end of compliments on it.  I had one for awhile, too, but it stretched and fell off.  I'll probably replace it at some point, because I loved it!

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2016, 10:53:13 AM »

I have a wonderful relationship and a very happy marriage, but this was not helped at all by the over-zealous sales staff and the consumerist pressure (partly from my foolish friends) around engagement and wedding nonsense. We could have got engaged with a 5p gummy ring for an equal or better outcome.

TL;DR: you know your partner, marketing is bullshit, the ring will not make your relationship better. Good luck.

I think this is a nice perspective that will pretty much sum up most successful relationships 10-20 years from now.

As for us: I don't think I spent as much as marketing suggested I spend.  (Dear god: 3 months salary is what the industry tries to say.  That is insane.)  But in retrospect, I think the wife thinks we spent too much.  She does still wear it some and she loves it for purely sentimental reasons, but we've both come to understand how little that one thing matters.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2603
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2016, 11:46:59 AM »
I now wear a simple titanium (I think) band, and my husband switched over to a black silicone band for comfort/safety--which cost about $2, and he gets no end of compliments on it.  I had one for awhile, too, but it stretched and fell off.  I'll probably replace it at some point, because I loved it!

Do you recall the manufacturer for the silicone band?

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8359
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2603
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2016, 12:16:25 PM »
Thanks PBK!

Laserjet3051

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 755
  • Age: 91
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2016, 01:04:11 PM »
ffs man! ZERO!

2Birds1Stone

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5622
  • Age: 1
  • Location: Earth
  • K Thnx Bye
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2016, 01:41:57 PM »

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4870
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2016, 01:55:00 PM »
Moissanite is pretty but it looks less like a diamond than CZ does.  My untrained eye can spot the difference- a greenish/yellowish tinge to the colors that it reflects.  They are doubly refractive, and diamonds and CZ are not, so the disco ball effect is also a dead giveaway.  Again, very pretty for what it is, but not a good diamond substitute, IMO.

This is true of the original moissanite but there are multiple new brands (Forever Brilliant and I think they have a new one) which are almost indistinguishable from diamonds.

When we brought one in when we bought our engagement ring, the diamond salesman continuously was checking the stones he showed with a microscope in order to make sure he got the right one. It wasn't an obvious difference to him at all and he's been doing that for 20+ years.

In fact, if you are going for a very large stone (1.5c+) it actually looks too good, since it's basically a flawless and perfect diamond, which of course are incredibly hard to find for "real" so it makes the moissanite one look really, really sparkly/gaudy.

In my opinion moissanite is actually BETTER than diamond. It's nominally less hard but much more shatter resistant - very few people scratch their rings but many shatter/chip them.

Roothy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 120
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2016, 03:20:08 PM »

Do you recall the manufacturer for the silicone band?
[/quote]

It was one I bought on etsy.  Once I lost mine, the price had gone up from $2 to $3 and I balked... LOL.  But I think any brand will do.  Just get the cheapest one. And get it in three sizes: one bigger than what you think you need, and one smaller.  They're so cheap, that you can just toss the ones that don't fit.   https://www.etsy.com/listing/269370445/active-silicone-ring-black?ref=related-0
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 03:27:35 PM by Roothy »

obstinate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2016, 03:51:09 PM »
Btw cz stones no longer cloud.

Yea, not so much.  One of my side gigs is as a jeweler.  CZ arrive coated, protecting it from clouding, but after a couple years of daily wear, I would not count on that coating holding up.  They're just not meant to be forever stones- they're placeholders for precious stones in quality jewelry or in disposable costume jewelry.
Can buy a lot of replacement CZ rings for the price of a single, flawed diamond.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3334
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2016, 05:11:30 PM »
Not that I would ever encourage lying to your girlfriend, but she would never know the difference if you presented her with a cubic zirconia ring, and nobody else would either.

Alternately, go to the diamond shop and tell them you want their bottom of the barrel stuff. Again, unless she owns a jewelers loup, she won't know the difference.

The fact that both of these approaches are indistinguishable (unless you have the receipt) from spending thousands on an expensive diamond, argues against spending thousands on an expensive diamond. Personally, I'd be reluctant to marry someone who could not at least acknowledge this fact. If even after that they want a diamond, I might spend $1k or $2k, but no more.


That said, The diamond industry is manipulative, from the brginning to the end. After you buy a ring have it "appraised." And THEN see how much you can actually get for it, what a crock of shitte.

I spend a fair amount of time looking at engagement rings on the web, I know trends and tastes. If she likes vintage at all, there are so many pretty little rings around 1/2 carat for a few hundred bucks, and they are charming!

The opposite side of the scale is a big honkin' 1+ carat center stone set in a halo, purchased at a mall store. That is pretty much the trifecta of non-Mustachean stupid diamond purchasing dor several reasons.

Were I in your position,
I would propose with a plastic ring, ask her to go with you to purchase a real ring, and set a budget of about $1,000. I say that figure without knowing at all how much your incme is, but for your debt level, you shouldnt go, on ber that.

I am a senior citizen woman who has a pretty diamond engagement ring that aIve worns for decades, and
I still love it. I am not,a jewelry hound  but one nice quality ring was important to me.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 05:18:28 PM by iris lily »

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2603
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2016, 01:54:30 AM »
Quote
Do you recall the manufacturer for the silicone band?

It was one I bought on etsy.  Once I lost mine, the price had gone up from $2 to $3 and I balked... LOL.  But I think any brand will do.  Just get the cheapest one. And get it in three sizes: one bigger than what you think you need, and one smaller.  They're so cheap, that you can just toss the ones that don't fit.   https://www.etsy.com/listing/269370445/active-silicone-ring-black?ref=related-0

Thanks Roothy!

rawr237

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2017, 02:50:54 PM »
Anecdote
Thankfully I caught a glimpse of my fiance's 'ring budget' in Mint at some point because otherwise he might have spent several thousand dollars. I told him I didn't want anything expensive because I didn't want to be afraid to lose it. Actually I was okay with not having an engagement ring at all (just wedding bands).
About a year before he proposed, I sent him a bunch of links to Etsy rings; since he wanted to get me a ring, I wanted to make sure I'd actually like it. He picked one that was ~$600, with small 'ethically mined' diamonds (according to the artisan, I'm hopeful but also a skeptic).

On the other hand, we're budgeting $20k for the wedding. We can afford it, and it's worth it to us to bring our bicoastal families to the Midwest for an awesome party. Is it as tangible as a bigger house, or money in the bank? No. But you'll find a lot of people are on the MMM train for the intangibles -- we save money for peace of mind, reduction of stress, and ultimately happiness through freedom. Dollar amounts make for nice milestones, but if having money was THE goal then we would just keep working to have more and more. It's true that jewelry serves no function, but sentimental value matters -- it's why I value my pieces from my deceased grandmother so highly.


Advice

You imagine her 'beautiful' ring costing a fortune, but I think my ring is beautiful, so maybe your imagination is getting ahead of you? Also, it sounds like you may be telling her NO RING - but perhaps there is an amount you'd be comfortable spending?
If you plan to have shared finances, it may help to discuss the opportunity cost ('We'll have to give up xx for a year to save for this ring.') because in that case it's her money too.

If her idea of a 'beautiful' ring is way more than you are comfortable spending, consider asking her WHY it's so important to her. That conversation would help you understand potential differences in your values, and see if there are other ways to satisfy her need. If you haven't discussed MMM/frugality, it may seem like you don't mind spending on things you want (new car) but don't value things she wants. You have lots of time, and it makes sense to have a series of money-related discussions as you progress.

Actual answer
The appropriate amount to spend is the amount that you agree on together. One person may need to yield or come around to the other person's view, but forcing your views on her will likely cause resentment.

brian313313

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 197
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2017, 03:40:31 PM »
I wasn't sure how much to spend either when I got married. I made good money and had no debt, read about a 10% rule, but I've always been frugal and though that was a ridiculous amount for jewelry. It's just a symbol to me but I didn't know how she felt. I didn't ask her how much I should spend because I wanted to surprise her. I spent $1000 (1% of income at the time) and my wife loved her ring. The place I bought it had a 30 day exchange policy so I told her she could change it but she said "no way". She said what mattered was that I gave it to her and any other ring would not be the right one.

Duke03

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 260
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #47 on: January 19, 2017, 03:56:10 PM »
What ever you buy negotiate hard.  Jewelry is marked up so much it isn't funny.  When I bought my wife's ring 9 years ago it had a list price of $5999.99.  I paid out the door with tax and a life time warranty $3000.00.  I had to go into the jewelry store a couple times until I found the day that they really needed to sell something.  Also don't waste your time with the floor sales person.  Ask to speak to the manager right off the bat.  They know what they need to sell that month to hit their numbers and will be more willing to make a deal.

myrrh

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #48 on: January 19, 2017, 04:28:50 PM »
Is she really into diamonds or would another stone work? I am a woman and think diamonds are boring. I love color! If she goes for a colored gemstone, ask her if she prefers natural or if lab grown would work. I've recently bought two lab grown stones from geolite and they are absolutely beautiful. Just giving you another option. http://www.geolite.com/

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: How much to spend on an engagement ring?
« Reply #49 on: January 20, 2017, 01:00:44 AM »
Is she really into diamonds or would another stone work? I am a woman and think diamonds are boring. I love color! If she goes for a colored gemstone, ask her if she prefers natural or if lab grown would work. I've recently bought two lab grown stones from geolite and they are absolutely beautiful. Just giving you another option. http://www.geolite.com/

Oooh... those are pretty...