11 Tips for Buying A Diamond Engagement Ring on a Budget

Author Lynelle Schmidt
Date Jun 26, 2014

11 Tips for Buying A Diamond Engagement Ring on a Budget

Engagement rings do not have to drain your entire bank account! You can still buy a beautiful engagement ring on a budget as long as you know what you want and do your homework ahead of time.

With over 135 years in the industry, we've learned a thing or two about maximizing a ring budget. Here are some of our most helpful tips and tricks for buying an engagement ring if you are concerned about the cost:

1. Determine your budget ahead of time (and actually stick to it)

This is often the hardest part for most people, and many have heard the common misconception that the engagement ring needs to be one or two month's salary. This concept is very outdated. Whether you want to spend under $2,000, under $5,000 or over $10,000, anyone can find an engagement ring these days that is within their budget. It's important not to get wrapped up in the idea that the engagement ring needs to meet a certain budget related to your salary. Choose a budget that works for you and will still allow you to get a great ring for her.

2. Do your homework

"Gold or platinum? Modern or traditional? Flashy or understated?" When you first walk into a store, you may immediately feel overwhelmed by all of the choices you will have to make if you don't come in having done some research. There are many resources available online so that you can come in feeling prepared to answer any question the store associate may ask you. It's very easy to get caught up in the moment if you come into the store with no clue what you are looking for.

But what if you really don't know what she wants? One good way to at least get an idea of what she may want is to look at the jewelry she wears on an everyday basis. Is it silver? Gold? Plain or decorated? There are many clues you can probably pick up on if you just study her current jewelry collection.

3. Know what you want in the diamond

You can still buy a great diamond on a budget, you just need to know where you are willing to compromise. For instance, you may be able to buy a diamond with high color and cut but with slightly lower clarity that will still has a beautiful shine. Make sure to look at the diamond through the jeweler's loupe (kind of like a magnifying glass), but for the most part you will not be able to see many flaws even at this magnification. Make sure you know what you are willing to sacrifice in order to save money and still have a diamond that fits your standards.

A diamond's cut is one of the most important elements of a great diamond and should be highly considered when looking for places to splurge vs save money on the ring. Here's a free guide to understand why a diamond's cut is so important.

4. Replace the center diamond with a gemstone

One major way to save money on a diamond ring is to make a less expensive gemstone the center of the ring accompanied by smaller diamonds on the side. Some examples of less expensive gemstones are sapphire, topaz, and tourmaline. This option will lead to a very unique ring that still has the sparkle of the smaller diamonds.

5. Ask for diamonds that weigh slightly less than the most popular sizes

When it comes to buying the engagement ring, every little bit helps to save money sometimes when you are on a budget. Sometimes you can ask for slightly less than the next carat diamond, which can be such a small difference that can really add up to some big money savings for you. For instance, if you are looking to buy a 1 carat diamond, try asking for one that is 0.8 or 0.9 carats to compare prices and appearance. You may still love it with the smaller stone and can stay on budget in the process.

6. Add a halo around the center diamond

Almost every woman wants a large diamond that lights up a room, but with a tight budget, those things come at a price. One trick is to consider a diamond halo engagement ring. This ring style uses a center diamond that is surrounded by smaller diamonds that circle that center diamond to give a larger appearance. It's one of our favorite ways to get a big diamond look on a tighter budget. With less money spent on a single solitaire diamond, you can maximize your budget and increase the surface area on the top of the ring.

7. Choose a white gold band over platinum

There are many reasons why having a platinum band is a great investment in the long term. But if budget is really one of your top concerns, a white gold band could save you money in the short term. White gold also looks very similar to platinum, so you could accomplish a very modern look for less.

There are a few drawbacks to buying a white gold band, however. For instance, white gold engagement rings would need to be redipped in rhodium every 2-3 years to maintain the luster. If this is a long term cost you are willing to incur, this may be a good way to cut some initial costs in the buying process.

8. Make sure the jeweler has a warranty policy

This is important to find out before purchasing the engagement ring, because it could save you a lot of money in the long run. If the jeweler has a return, exchange, or warranty policy, then you could avoid having to pay extra costs after purchasing the ring. Life happens, and the ring may become damaged at some point in the future. Without a warranty, those expenses would be completely out of pocket. These types of policies are also great indications that the jeweler you are shopping with is a quality jeweler that cares about its customers. Some stores may offer cheaper product and know that their rings are not high quality, so they may not offer great warranty or return programs.

9. Consider bringing your girlfriend with you

It is very easy to get swept up in the ring-buying experience. At this point, you are so in love with your significant other, and you want to give them the world when it comes to the engagement ring (because it's supposed to be a symbol of your enduring love, right?).

Sometimes these overwhelming emotions can lead to purchase decisions that far exceed your pre-established budget. It's easy to start spending more money once you see the rings in person. To help combat this when you are on a strict budget, consider bringing your girlfriend along with you to look at rings. That way, you know exactly what she wants, and you won't end up buying something that is more extravagant than what she is looking for.

10. Look into financing options

There are ways to avoid having to pay for the engagement ring entirely upfront that will help if you are on a budget. You may want to consider looking into different financing options that could help you make payments over 6 or 12 months, and some even have no interest. To learn more, read this article on financing options.

11. Buy a pre-owned engagement ring

A great way to save money when purchasing an engagement ring is to buy a pre-owned, or estate, engagement ring. There are some incredible rings out there that can be bought for much cheaper than the original price. And, often times these pieces can be one-of-a-kind and have their own background story. Buying a pre-owned engagement ring can be like buying a small piece of history that you will gift the person that you love. It's also a great option for a girlfriend that loves vintage inspired jewelry.

Feel ready to start looking at engagement rings in person? We're here to help! Make an appointment with an engagement ring specialist or visit any of our New England locations to browse our extensive collection.

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