The Secret To Getting An Engagement Ring That Meets The Budget


Engagement rings are generally seen as a symbol of love, unity, and a lasting relationship. Not to mention, these rings also come with a hefty price tag. So, it is only fair to spend time selecting that perfect ring, to get a “yes” from your loved one, and also not burn a hole in your pocket in the process.

Many couples find the wide varieties of rings available in the market with the wide range of prices daunting, making it even more difficult for them to decide. What can you afford and what is your partner’s expectation? How do you balance both?

How much should you really spend on an engagement ring? Some say you should spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring. Some say two. Or maybe even one.

We’ve all heard of this when it comes to ring-wallet equation — but which should we follow?

Here are some things to consider when you are buying an engagement ring to avoid blowing your bank account. The last thing you need is to go into your marriage with a debt that you can’t afford!

1. Balancing budget and expectations

First thing you will need to do before you step into a jewelry store is to establish a budget. It will help the jeweler to narrow down your options within your price range. Keep in mind that the price of a ring can often be negotiated and customised according to your financial constraints.

The real challenge lies in striking a balance between a ring that will dazzle your soon-to-be fiancée without tarnishing your future financial goals.

The recent hoo-ha over a guy from Guangzhou, China who proposed to his girlfriend with 99 iPhone 6s arranged in the shape of a heart is the perfect example of how a proposal can go wrong. He spent  a whopping £53,600 (RM284,993.66) on the heart-shaped ring! Unfortunately, he was still rejected by the girl. This just shows that proposing is not just about how much you spend but about understanding your partner in order to garner a “yes” from him or her.

Gauge your partner’s style and expectation by understanding her personality. Does she prefer simplicity or does she appreciate something a little more showy. For example, a simple and understated person would probably prefer a more traditional solitaire on gold or white gold band with no extra details. Or if your partner is someone who is outgoing and adventurous, you may want to look at something that has a twist, double-toned or with a textured or woven pattern.

2. Prioritise your financial goals

Thinking about how that money might work harder for you and your future as couple if invested elsewhere clearly saps all the romance out of the process. However, it is inevitable. Being one-half of a married couple means you are not just responsible for your own finances, but also the finances of the other half.

Your future financial plans as a couple should be part of the calculation on how much you can afford to fork out for your engagement ring. The best way would be to discuss with your future partner and review both your short-term and long-term goals. Beyond the wedding expenses, goals also include first home, children, investment, travelling, retirement and others.

Once you and your partner have aligned your financial goals, review your current financial standing and see how much you can afford for a ring. Don’t forget the wedding expenses that come after!

3. Looking for the right ring

Most people are so caught up in the trend of getting a diamond ring to propose that they don’t even consider other options. While others are particular with the brand of the ring (thanks a lot Breakfast at Tiffany’s). However, sometimes brands do not equate quality. Buying a ring from Tiffany & Co. can cost you way more than other less well-known brands based on the same quality of diamond and gold.

Considering other options can sometimes get you a better deal for cheaper the price. An 18-carat ring, embedded with a 0.26-carat diamond can cost you this much:

engagement ring table 1

However, if you move away from the “diamond mentality” and consider other stones, you can potentially get away with paying less. Here are the estimated prices for an 18-carat ring, embedded with commonly used gemstones. These rings cost a little cheaper than diamond rings.

engagement ring table 2

One of the most famous rings that were talked about was Kate Middleton’s ring inherited from Princess Diana. The 14-diamond and 12-carat sapphire now costs £300,000 in value or RM158,995. Though diamonds are a girl’s best friend, there is no harm considering other options.

4. Weigh your payment options

Arriving at the right amount to budget for an engagement ring is something that many young people continue to struggle with. However, more people are beginning to take advantage of the credit facilities available to manage their budget and cash flow better.

Being love-struck can do weird things on your logic. However, buying an engagement ring is not just about romance, but also about making a wise and responsible financial decision that can be life-changing.

Some of us may have stashed away some cash savings to be able to afford the ring when the time comes. However, there are others who may have to rely on other options.

The best option available is the right credit card. When using credit cards, you can very well take advantage of cash back and 0% easy payment plan (EPP) options. For example, Hong Leong Mach Visa Credit Card offers up to 10% cash back while UOB One Card and CIMB Cash Rebate Gold MasterCard offers 0% EPP on all your spending.

Using 0% EPP to purchase a ring that cost RM3,000 (that’s on the cheaper end), you will need to pay only RM250 a month! By paying the instalments promptly and making sure you adhere to all terms and conditions, you would not be charged a single sen in interest during the entire period.

This only applies if the merchant you’re getting the ring from accepts EPP. However, even if they don’t you can use balance transfer facilities to boost your cash flow after the purchase. There are 0% balance transfer options for 12 months from some cards such as Citibank Rewards Platinum Card, Citibank Cash Back Platinum, and Maybank Visa Infinite Card. Just transfer the balance to a good balance transfer card and pay off monthly without interest, or at a significantly lower interest rate.

Marriage is a beautiful union of love and if you want her to marry you for richer and not poorer, you’ll do your math and make sure that the bauble on her finger doesn’t turn into a ball and chain on your newlywed finances.

After all that financial planning and you have the financing secured and the ring in hand, it’s time to figure out how to pop the question. Whatever you decide to do to “wow” your partner, just make sure you don’t make the same mistake as the guy in Guangzhou.

Money is one thing that can tear a couple apart. By asking these financial questions before tying the knot, you can pave the way for a smoother marriage.

Marriage is a dream of uniting two souls as one. However, when the expenses come in, reality bites. Here’s how you can tie the knot tightly and still go easy on your finances.

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