As the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and fine jewelry, we know from talking with so many of our millennial engagement ring customers that affordability is a concern. You want to propose with a beautiful sparkler that makes you feel proud—and, you want your partner to absolutely love the ring that they are going to wear every day!
At the same time, you don't want to blow your entire bank account on the bling, or get in over your head. Knowing that these concerns loom large in the minds of so many, we partnered with financial expert Douglas Boneparth, co-author of The Millennial Money Fix, to address the major questions and stressors around shopping, financing and buying an engagement ring. Here are his top tips:
1. Determine Your Ring Budget
When it comes to huge life moments, like getting engaged, it’s important to establish a budget and understand what you can realistically set aside (bi-weekly or each month) to purchase an engagement ring. Consider all monthly expenses such as rent, groceries, bills, etc. as a way to see how much money you’ll have left over that can be comfortably set aside. An easy way to help budget for an engagement ring fund: look at establishing a separate savings account where a set dollar amount is automatically swept into that account.
2. Don’t Leave Yourself Cash Poor
Big purchases can drain cash and financial commitments don’t stop after the engagement ring—don’t forget about the wedding, house, life, etc. Make the effort to save beyond just the cost of the ring and leave yourself with as much of a safety cushion as possible.
3. Quantify Your Purchase by Time and Cost
Think about when you want to propose. Divide the cost of a ring by the time you have to save to see how much you need to save each month and compare that to how much money you earn and spend each month. Formula to success: divide the ring cost by the number of months you have until the proposal to determine your monthly savings.
4. Be Careful When Financing
There are ways to finance the purchase of an engagement ring such as credit cards or personal loans. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to financing make sure you understand all of the associated payment terms, variable rates and fees. If you don’t have the discipline, or don’t clearly understand the associated fees with borrowing, then don’t borrow.
5. Find Their Style
Surprises can be great, but no one wants to be surprised with something that isn’t quite their style. Try to uncover what ring style your partner likes before making a purchase. Really consider if they love classic styles, are a vintage fan or would like a more personalized design. If feeling lost, talk to their friends, their family members or even directly with your partner to be sure the ring fits their vibe.
6. Turn to the Experts
Leverage the knowledge and resources of reputable vendors such as Blue Nile when shopping for your engagement ring. Their experts have created a comprehensive education section on their website that provides a wealth of information ranging from diamond and gemstone education, engagement ring guides and style guides that can help you make an informed purchase.
7. Understand What Drives Price
There is a lot to consider when purchasing a diamond (ever heard of the 4C’s?) and finding the balance between the ring’s features and its cost can be difficult, but crucial. Review Blue Nile’s diamond-buying cheat sheet to help navigate through the process.
8. Mine for Information
Don’t always assume that all diamond and gemstone prices are equal. Think of engagement rings as another kind of investment, it’s always wise to gather as much information as you can and take a closer look to see how prices can vary. Consider asking friends or family for recommendations on retailers they used.
9. Protect Your Investment
Similar to other larger purchases like a car, home, electronics, it’s better to be safe than sorry by knowing what your options are when something goes sideways.
10. Sleep Well at Night
Purchase a ring with the objective of not just making your partner happy, but also with sleeping well at night because you’re now confident you took the necessary steps to find the perfect ring of his/her dreams within your budget!