Rings

Is Your Engagement Ring Worth More Debt?
Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

How much do Canadian couples spend on engagement rings? According to a March 2016 Global News article, the average cost for each one is around $4,700. After including the typical event and honeymoon costs, the total price tag for a wedding can reach almost $40,000. Cutting expenses can be challenging for couples who want to tie the knot. That’s why it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Behind the Engagement Ring “Rules”

You may have heard of the supposed “rules” for buying engagement rings. Depending on who you ask, the ring should cost either two or three times one’s monthly salary. Statistics Canada’s 2017 figures revealed that the average weekly salary is around $986. That means the typical Canadian earns almost $4,000 per month before deductions. With these figures, following the oft-repeated rule on rings results in a price tag between $8,000 and $12,000.

How did these modern engagement ring purchasing practices develop? Money Under 30’s David Weliver divulges that they originated with a shrewd marketing campaign launched by the London-based diamond company De Beers. He also contends that they aren’t practical for younger couples because of typical debt burdens and lower salaries. To lower costs, he suggests a few alternatives:

  • Pay for the ring with cash.
  • Select a family heirloom piece.
  • Choose gemstones that are less expensive than diamonds.

Pros and Cons of Financing Your Ring

If there’s no room in your budget to purchase an engagement ring in full, you may be tempted to finance it. Your credit history will determine the types of offers you receive along with spending limits and interest rates. Individuals with favorable credit can choose from many options:

  • Personal loans
  • Vendor’s credit cards or revolving credit lines
  • Major credit cards issued by financial institutions

At the same time, you’ll need to think about how this new debt will impact your upcoming marriage. NerdWallet’s Erin El Issa points out that each spouse is liable for individually incurred debts. This is true regardless of whether they originated before or after the wedding. Yet those debts still affect the couple’s overall financial health. A significant debt load can make it difficult to purchase a home together, contribute to a savings account, or plan for retirement.

In another Money Under 30 article, David Weliver offers suggestions for people desiring to purchase engagement rings on credit. While he still warns readers not to buy rings that they cannot afford, he discusses some favorable financing options. Some jewelry retailers may offer 0 percent financing or no interest and payments for a predetermined time period. Weliver strongly suggests reviewing each offer’s terms. With some, you’ll pay a much higher interest rate after the promotional period expires.

Depending on your credit score, you may qualify for cards that come with 0 percent interest on new purchases for up to one year. Be sure you know what your new APR will be. Also, you should assess whether you can pay off the ring before the promotion ends. Purchase your ring from a reliable online jeweler. Buying online could save you a significant amount of money, letting you spend as little as 50 percent of the brick-and-mortar retailer price. Make sure you request a shipment method with tracking and a signature requirement as well as insurance to cover the ring itself.

Choose Your Credit Options Carefully

In the past, society judged a man’s ability to provide for his future wife by the type of engagement ring he gave her. It’s true that some still take notice at an elaborate ring with a decent-sized diamond. Ultimately, you must consider the effects of purchasing one either with cash or credit. After all, part of your goal should be making smart decisions for your joint financial future.

 

Alternatives to Diamonds for Engagement Rings
Diamonds are beautiful, however there are many beautiful stones that exist.

Though diamonds are a girls best friend, there are plenty of other beautiful stones out that are more budget friendly and will surely stand out.

Wedding and engagement rings have a long history, probably from Roman customs where a woman would wear rings attached to small keys, which demonstrated her ownership by her husband. Women were considered property for many years, and we’re fortunate that this has changed. The first rings with diamonds were recorded in the late 1400s. Maximilian I, the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor, commissioned a diamond ring for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy.

Maximilian is responsible for the diamond engagement ring trend, but it was the Victorians who popularized the ornate designs and beautiful settings that we know today. However, diamonds were largely inaccessible to the masses until De Beers began mining in the late 1800s. The demand for diamonds dropped during the Depression, but De Beers Company fought back by using the movie stars of the time to advertise the diamonds.

Are Diamonds Really a Girl’s Best Friend?

In the 1953 film, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Marilyn Monroe sang:

“The French are glad to die for love.

They delight in fighting duels.

But I prefer a man who lives

And gives expensive jewels.

A kiss on the hand

May be quite continental,

But diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

Diamonds might be considered traditional, but not everyone can afford these rare gems. Some people don’t want to support the industry. There are a lot of other gemstones that can be made into beautiful rings. Here are some of the best alternatives.

Alternative Stones

  • Garnets come in shades of pink and red most commonly, but you can also find them in other colors. Although garnets aren’t as hard as other gems, only a 7.0 on the Mohs scale (a diamond is a 10), you’ll be able to get a bigger gem for a fraction of the cost.
  • Sapphires are most commonly a blue gem, but you can find them in other hues. The best part is that sapphires are generally one-third of the price of diamonds. You can get a larger stone, but make sure it’s well cut.
  • Emeralds come in beautiful shades of green, and although they aren’t one of the more popular gems these days, they can look chic and timeless in a ring setting that will last forever.
  • Pearls are an iconic look, but they do tend to scratch and tarnish easily. You can find very elegant pearls at a good price, but don’t plan on wearing the ring every day to make it last.
  • Opals can reflect the entire rainbow as they move in the light. No two opals look the same, but they are in the middle of the Mohs scale. Opals don’t stand up to daily wear like a diamond might, but they still make a beautiful ring.
  • Onyx is generally black in color, but it can come in a variety of colors for fine jewelry. The black stone pairs with anything you wear and it looks timeless and chic.
  • Sunstones are a very abundant gemstone and come in a variety of shades including peach, red, orange and green. Many are found just south of the border in Oregon.
  • Amethyst is a pretty, purple gem that is durable but less expensive than diamond. The gem is beautifully paired with gold or silver for a classic look.