If you’ve decided to ‘take the plunge’, ‘pull the trigger’, ‘take the big step’ – or in other words, ask your other half to marry you – you’ll know that you need to buy an engagement ring first. And you’ll have realised that they don’t come cheap. If money is no object then lucky you, but if you’re like most guys, you’ll need to do some saving before you head to the jewelry store. Here’s some basic tips to help you on your way.
Tip #1: Keep your savings secret
Listen up if you’re planning a surprise proposal. Before you save even one cent, ensure that you can do it SECRETLY. Keep the cash you’ve saved in your own personal bank account rather than any you share with your fiancee-to-be. When you’re around her, make no obvious reference to saving money unless it’s something you already do. Don’t make any extravagant purchases or take any luxurious vacations, but at the same time, don’t immediately say no to any cash-splashing activity she suggests. The trick is to reduce your spending without making too many noticeable changes in your usual habits.
Tip #2: A little goes a long way
Saving up several thousand dollars may seem like an impossible task, but trust us, it’s not. It just takes time, persistence, and consistency. Make small changes to your spending habits and over time, you’ll start to see your bank account slowly getting fatter. Take a packed lunch or dinner leftovers to work instead of heading to a deli. Have one or two beers less than usual on weekends. Instead of going out for dinner, cook a romantic meal together instead. As soon as you get your paycheck, put a small amount (say 5%) aside before you spend any of it. Then at the end of the month if you still have a surplus after bills etc., put away another 5%.
Tip #3: Add a buffer
When you feel like you’ve saved enough… don’t stop! Save up an additional buffer in case her perfect ring is just a smidgeon above your original budget, or you choose an additional extra like an engraving or accent stones. It’s always better to have too much than too little, right? With a safety net of extra cash, you won’t need to worry about delaying your purchase because of a lack of funds. Having said that, your buffer should only be a buffer, to be used only if you need it. If you don’t need it, you can use the unspent cash to make the proposal extra special – or buy your wedding rings with it instead.
Tip #4: Resist temptation!
When you’re nearing your saving goal, it can very tempting to take a week or two off from your restricted spending regime. ‘It won’t make too much of a difference’, ‘I can make up for it next month instead’, ‘I’ll just spend a little less on the ring’, you may think to yourself. Don’t do it! You didn’t come this far to only come this far. The engagement ring you buy will be on your beloved’s hand for the rest of her life, and it will be a central part of a huge moment in your lives. It should be special, and it’s definitely more important than that extra beer is. Just something to keep in mind when temptation hits.
Tip #5: Spend wisely
Now that you’ve finally saved up enough money (plus your buffer), don’t blow it all on the first glittering diamond you set eyes on. To get the best value for money you need to do your research, find a couple of jewelers you work well with, pick out some contender styles, examine the diamonds, decide on any modifications you want to make, read up on returns and payment policies… and only THEN should you hand over your credit card. Need help on some or all of the things we just mentioned? Our ‘How Do You Buy An Engagement Ring, Really?’ post will guide you.
One more thing – before you do any of this, you should probably figure out how much you can afford to spend on an engagement ring first. No idea how much bling you can get for your buck? Read our post on the topic to get an idea.