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How to Buy the Perfect Engagement Ring on a Budget

Proposing to your beloved is one of the biggest moments of your life, and finding the right engagement ring for the occasion can be difficult. If this wasn’t hard enough, while we all want to spoil the special person in our life rotten, the fact is that your choice is going to be dictated by the not-so-small matter of money. To help you get the perfect engagement ring on a budget, we’ve written this guide to picking one out that your soon-to-be betrothed is sure to love that won’t break the bank. Read on for our top tips.

So, exactly how much are you supposed to spend? 

If you’re confused about how much you should spend on an engagement ring, I’m not surprised. Depending on where you look, you’ll hear that you should spend anywhere between one and three month’s salary on this single piece of jewellery.

However, it’s important to consider where this comes from before you hand over your credit card and say goodbye to a quarter of a year’s earnings. The BBC has a great article on “the De Beers myth”, which is the tradition of spending a month’s salary on a diamond ring to mark your engagement. The fact is this: this myth was cooked up by the world’s biggest diamond producer in the 1930s to boost sales. This marketing campaign was so effective this number is still thrown around today, almost 90 years later. So, before we delve into the money-saving tips, let’s get one thing straight: there’s absolutely no need to spend money you don’t have to keep up with this tradition. Spend whatever you’re comfortable spending on the ring, and don’t let a 90-year-old marketing campaign dictate what you do with your money. With that out the way, let’s look at how you can get a great deal on a ring your better half is sure to cherish. 

Choose your metal wisely 

Rings come in a variety of materials, but if you’re looking to save a bit of money, avoid platinum. While it’s the most durable metal, it’s also the most expensive, so opt for gold or silver for a ring that’s just as beautiful but not nearly as expensive.

Get more sparkle for your money 

When shopping for rings, you’ll quickly realise that price is mainly dictated by the size of the main stone. The larger the gemstone, the higher the price. So, if you want to keep costs down, go for a ring with a smaller centre stone. The good news for you is that a ring with a smaller diamond doesn’t have to be any less breath-taking. Pick one with a smaller centre stone surrounded by several accent diamonds and you’ll get a lot more sparkle for your money. 

Slash costs with the right cut  

You can save even more by avoiding round centre stones and opting for a less common cut instead. If you’re new to diamond shapes, The Knot has an excellent guide that serves as a great crash course. Spend a bit of time researching the shape that suits your future fiancé’s style best and you might be able to pick up a stunning gem at a cut price.

Count your carats carefully 

Diamonds jump significantly in price at the carat and half-carat marks, which means the savvy shopper can make significant savings by buying a stone that comes in just shy of the next mark. Unless you’re proposing to a gemstone expert, they won’t be able to tell the difference between a 1.8 and 2 carat diamond, so look for the stones that are just short of the next price point for a fantastic deal.  

Give a pre-loved ring a new life 

Even experts can struggle to tell the difference between a new ring and a pre-owned one that has been refurbished. However, you’ll certainly be able to see a difference in the price — you can expect to pay around 50% of the retail price for a piece of pre-loved jewellery, meaning you get a much bigger bang for your buck. If a pre-owned ring sounds right for you, make sure you buy from a retailer that professionally refurbishes everything they sell, such as H&T. That way you’ll make a huge saving on a piece that looks good as new. 

So, there you have it: our top tips for buying an engagement ring on a budget. Stick to this advice and your spouse-to-be is sure to cherish your choice throughout the whole of your marriage.


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