1/9/18

Who Needs Engagement Ring Advice? The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Perfect Ring.



Ladies, look away. We drew you in here with the picture of a diamond for page views, but now we need you to stop reading. Smart Money Seed is about to drop some TOP SECRET tips for buying the perfect engagement ring. Warning: if you keep reading, you're going to find our how your special someone was able to find the perfect ring.

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Now that the women are gone let's have some real talk, guy to guy. How about that College Football Playoff final the other night? No one likes the SEC and even fewer people like Alabama, but at least it was a heck of a game. Don't worry, the Buckeyes will be back next year!

Okay, okay... All joking and football aside, buying an engagement is one of the biggest purchases you're ever going to make. Maybe it's not the most money you're ever going to spend (or at least I hope its not), but how many other things that you buy are you going to spend the rest of your life with? An engagement ring signifies your love and commitment to the most important person in your life, so you'll want to take some time to pick out the perfect ring. This isn't a case of beer or a loaf of bread that you can just go pick up at the grocery store. If you haven't already come to the realization, the first step in buying a killer ring is understanding that it takes time.

How Much Should I Spend?

There is no doubt about it; this is the question I wrestled with the most when I first started to think about getting engaged. 

Do I need to spend two month's salary? What about three month's salary? Should I just ask Google how much people typically spend?

Yes, these are all questions I asked myself. To be honest, most of the "rules" about how much you should spend on an engagement ring are bogus and were probably made up by the ring companies that want you to feel pressured into buying something more expensive. Don't fall for the two or three month salary crap, and don't worry about what the average person spends on a ring. You need to spend what feels right to you. I know, easier said than done. Here are some tips to help get you in the right ballpark:
  • Don't take out a loan or use credit to buy a ring (unless you're paying off your credit card in full at the end of each month); in other words, don't use debt to finance a ring. This a step that can lead to the bad habit of buying stuff you can't afford. This is not the way you want to start the next chapter of your life!
  • Ignore the pressures of the internet - there are so many myths out there to try to get you to spend more.
  • Think about personal expenses that you can forego to save up some extra cash. Maybe you can wait to buy a new set of golf clubs, a country club membership, or a fishing boat. This may sound crazy, but if you save on a few of these things now, maybe your soon-to-be wife will let you spend more time hitting the links or fishing once you're married!
  • Try not to borrow from your family, even if they want to help. This is admittedly my personal opinion, but if you borrow a bunch of money from your family to buy a ring, you're going to lose out on the great sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with buying your own engagement ring. Whether you can afford $500 or $15,000, knowing that you paid for the ring that she'll wear for the rest of her life brings a great sense of achievement.

The bottom line: spend what you can afford. No more, no less.

Picking and Purchasing the Rock

Hit the Books - Diamond 101

Cut, color, clarity, caret, polish, symmetry... the list goes on and on. I'm not a geologist, but diamonds have to be the most complex rocks to learn about. I'm not going to pretend to be a diamond expert and tell you how to choose the right color or clarity, but I will tell you that you better plan on spending as much time researching diamonds as you would a new set of irons. If you're not already familiar with diamonds, do some research and get familiar.

Know Her Preference

Don't go into this purchase blind. An engagement ring is something she has probably been dreaming of since she was a little girl and by now she probably has a few preferences. Don't be afraid to talk to her about what she likes and doesn't like, but the key is timing. Find a time to bring it up when it won't feel forced or awkward, such as when another friend gets engaged or at a wedding. For a more covert operation, consider stalking her Pinterest account and other social media. Chances are she's left a few clues along the way.

Get it Certified

Want to sleep easy at night knowing you're not getting fooled into buying some knock-off diamond? Make sure it is certified. Most jewelers provide a certification from a 3rd party that inspects and grades the diamond to validate and ensure its authenticity. Here are a few of the most well-known agencies that certify diamonds:

  • Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
  • American Gemological Society (AGS)
  • European Gemological Laboratory (EGL)

Try Shopping Online and In Stores

I highly recommend to try shopping both online and in stores for the right ring. Both experiences are vastly different, and its hard to tell which you will like better until you try. Shopping online gives you a great deal of comfort since you don't have any time constraints and have no pressure of interacting with any high pressure sales tactics. On the other hand, shopping in stores allows you to see some of rings in person and you can readily talk to an expert.

Whether you decide to purchase your ring online or in stores, be sure to shop around and check out the prices of similar rings from different jewelers.

I ended up purchasing my (Rosie's) ring online through James Allen. I looked at a handful of online retailers as well as some local jewelers in Columbus, but I couldn't find anyone that could compete with James Allen's prices. I never thought I'd end up using an online retailer, but it was a great experience! They also have an awesome online interface that allows you to see how thousands of diamonds look with different settings.

Don't Forget Her Ring Size

Knowing her ring size is one of the easiest steps to forget, but it's one of the most important to remember! You want to make sure that ring fits on her finger and doesn't fall off. The easiest option is to just ask her, but again, be selective with your timing to keep it from blowing your cover. If you want to stick to a stealthy plan, borrow a ring she wears on her ring finger and take it to a jeweler to get it sized. You could also try phoning a friend to see if her mom, sister, or friend knows the answer. Don't worry, most rings can be resized if you get the wrong size, but getting the right size will save you some time and stress.

We might have dated for 7 years, but I was still able to surprise her!


Relax, you've already made the most important decision.

Don't let the decision of buying a ring get the best of you. Sure, it's an important decision, but you've already made a much more important decision. You've met someone that you've decided to spend the rest of your life with - don't lose sight of that. If she cares for you as deeply as you care for her, she'll love any ring you choose. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Embrace this new chapter of your life and enjoy every step of the process. 

"I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you've actually left them." Andy Bernard (The Office)



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