Marriage proposals come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes going big works. A dancer organised a flash mob in Disneyland for his girlfriend and when she said yes, his proposal became the stuff of viral videos. Then there's the other side of the story.
Remember the dude in Guangzhou last year who bought 99 iPhone 6s to propose to his girlfriend? *AHEM* Ex-girlfriend. Yep. After splurging almost two years' salary, she said no.
Moral of the story? There are times to go big and times where you should just go with what's tried and tested - the traditional engagement ring.
Guys, here are five things to watch out for before you buy her an engagement ring.
1. Decide Your Engagement Ring Budget
Forget the whole idea of buying an engagement ring that costs two months' salary. It's nothing more than a marketing gimmick that only dates back to the 1980s, created by De Beers who, surprise surprise, made millions from the campaign.
Unfortunately, short of having another Great Depression, expect diamond prices to stay high, which means that you should still be expecting to shill out between $3,000 to $6,000.
If your budget's closer to $500, we've got you covered. So budget accordingly, and never feel obliged to pay a premium, especially if it'll put you in debt.
You've heard of the diamond 4Cs, Carat, Colour, Cut and Clarity. Each of these categories determines how much damage the diamond will deal to your wallet. We'll just focus on the first two categories where you can save money without compromising on your diamond.
Carat is the international unit for diamond and gemstone weight, so naturally, the higher the number, the bigger the diamond, the most expensive it'll be.
That being said, don't stinge on size just because of the cost. You want a diamond that is proportionate to her finger and doesn't look too big or too small on her. Usually a carat between 0.3 to 0.5 is appropriate, unless size really matters to her, and you're desperately (over)compensating for something.
Because carat weight has categories, "rounded" carat values, like 0.5 and 0.7, cost much more than one that is 0.48 and 0.68, for example. In some cases, everything else being equal, you could be looking at savings of over $700 for a diamond that is not visibly smaller to the naked eye.
Another of the diamond 4Cs is colour. Since "colour" is caused by impurities in the diamond, a "colourless" diamond is preferred. Unless your future wife is the type who would succeed in clown school, don't buy diamonds that have significantly detectable colours, even to the untrained eye.
That being said, there really isn't much obvious difference to the untrained eye between a diamond graded "D" for "absolutely colourless", and "F" for "almost totally colourless". But there is a $1,500 difference in their prices, simply because the former is rarer than the latter.
Use the money you've saved and get her family another table at the banquet, because she's definitely not going to dump you over "minute hints of colour". (And if she does, you're definitely better off without her!)
4. Getting your Engagement Ring done at the right place
Price is a main concern when choosing a jeweller, but it is the service they provide that often sets them apart. Firstly, there's the local stalwarts like Soo Kee or Lee Hwa, which ride on their decades-old reputation, and charge accordingly.
So if budget is a concern, consider up-and-coming firms like JannPaul and Lovis Diamonds, who are popular because of their eagerness to build their customer base with wallet-friendly prices and a high standard of service.
Plus, you may even be able to get a discount on your ring setting if you buy a diamond from them.
Alternatively, you can find a diamond online via sites like Blue Nile and PriceScope. These sites can help you to save up to 50 per cent on your diamond, but those savings come with a risk, since you won't see the diamond in person till you pay for it.
All the certification and photos in the world won't compare to the experience of holding it before your eyes. In addition, you're still better off finding a local jeweller to set the diamond into the engagement ring, since resizing rings are better done in person.
5. Paying for the Engagement Ring…the right way
Let's be honest here, how often do we spend thousands of dollars in a single purchase? An engagement ring is one of the few times in your life you'll get to spend thousands of dollars in a day.
You'll want to make the most of your purchase by getting as many discounts or rebates as possible, and the best way to do so is charging it to your credit card.
Use our credit card comparison tool to find the best cashback or air-miles credit cards. Just make sure to check that it's within your credit limit!
If, thanks to the engagement ring, you don't have enough cash on hand to pay off your credit card bill in full, don't just pay the minimum sum!
Credit card interest rates are ridiculously high and the last thing you want is to start your life as an engaged couple with ever-increasing credit card debt looming over your head.
Instead, consider taking out a personal loan. If you use our personal loan comparison tool, you find that personal loans have interest rates that are significantly lower than any credit card's.
Plus, since you're going to be making repayment in monthly instalments, there won't be any surprises when you receive your bill.
The best part of taking out a personal loan? Most banks allow you to loan at least two months salary - just enough to afford that engagement ring!
This article first appeared in MoneySmart at http://blog.moneysmart.sg/lifestyle/engagement-ring-5-things-you-need-to-know/
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