The Engagement Ring: Seven ways to save

Ring shopping doesn't have to mean closing your eyes and opening your wallet. If you want to start your life together on a strong financial foundation, follow these tips to keep your gift from gutting your checking account.

Set a budget.
The jewelry industry has done a great job of setting two months’ salary as the standard budget for ring shoppers.

Skip the mall.
Hunt for a specialist jeweler in your city. Their lower overhead saves you money, and a good jeweler will earn your business for life by offering you better deals.

Hit the estate sales.
A ring with a history might cost half of what a newly minted ring will set you back. Your bride will love to share her ring’s story will all her friends.

Honor family traditions.
There could be a ring waiting for your wife that you don’t even know about. Let your future in-laws know that, before you go ring shopping, you want to make sure there’s not already a family heirloom that they’d want your bride to have.

Find the best cut.
Jewelers understand that a good cut can make even a lower quality diamond dazzle a bride. Go with your gut and choose a less expensive stone with a great cut over a rock with a good pedigree and no pizzazz.

Pay for the ring, not the name.
Local artisans can custom design rings that your bride picks out in major magazines for a fraction of the cost. Instead of paying top dollar for an assembly line piece, you can own a unique creation that holds its value.

Invest in quality.
Remember that a ring’s true cost includes constant maintenance. Gold rings need extra care, and might have to be replaced sooner. A platinum ring may cost more, but will save you money in repair bills over the long haul.

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