Desktop and Tablet header image Mobile header image

helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

When you’re shopping for an engagement ring, besides getting your soon-to-be fiancé a ring she’ll love forever, your primary objective should be to get the most bang for your buck. Why? Because ring selection is only the first of many huge price tags to consider. There’s still buying a house, furniture, and cars…and let’s not forget the grand total of your combined debts (including student loans). These are the facts of life and marriage we must prepare for.

Before you drop 3 months or more of your net salary on a ring based on standards you’ve been told you need to meet, you should know know a few things. Wedding etiquette is outdated and based on caste systems most modern families just don’t fit. If you’re not one of the Joneses, many of these so-called rules aren’t intended for you. Did you know that the 3 month salary rule comes from a series of marketing campaigns created by De Beers in an effort to stimulate the sale of diamonds? I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want sellers telling me what I need. As buyers we have a great deal of power and it's up to us to educate ourselves.

When you go out to shop for engagement rings, buy what you find beautiful; buy what makes her happy; most importantly, buy what you can afford. Do not feel compelled to spend 3 months of your net salary on a ring because someone told you that you were supposed to. Jewelers spend a lot of money on marketing and they make tons of money because they can count on a few things:

  • Your belief in the “tradition” that the groom must spend at least 3 months of his salary
  • That the excitement of the bride in waiting over sparkling diamonds with high price tags will outweigh reason in your purchase
  • That you’ll be lured in by their offers of free wedding websites, free cleanings, and trade-ins toward upgrades (valued at your purchase price)

When you’re educated about the market, you’ll see through all of these things.

Before I go on, ladies—I have not turned my back on the girl-code by telling your man these things. The truth is you can have the ring of your dreams for a fraction of what most jewelers charge. How, you ask?—diamond wholesalers. Diamond wholesalers offer engagement rings for as low as 1/3 of the retail price, and perhaps even lower than that.

When Sherrod and I were pre-engaged, I fell in love with a round solitaire diamond ring from a reputable jeweler; it was a nice size and shone so bright. I wanted it badly BUT it carried a $14K price tag.

Sherrod wasn’t having it. Buying a home and being debt free (before and after the wedding) was our agreed upon goal so I didn’t press the issue. Besides, I’d recently seen a reality television show where a featured couple bought a huge diamond ring from a wholesaler for about $7K. Not wanting to sacrifice the amazing vision of the ring etched in my heart (lol), I suggested that we give diamond wholesalers a try. I’m so glad I did. We went to Union Diamond and there were several diamonds fitting the specs of the rock I’d been fawning over for SO much less than the one I'd first set my sights on. Sherrod was pleased; I was ecstatic—we both got what we wanted!

Since our very pleasant experience shopping with Union Diamond, I’ve convinced even the most uppity of my friends that are in the market to try it and they have with success. Why pay more to have someone’s name on your jewelry box when you can have a bigger rock (and a much better investment)? No one’s going to see your jewelry box and the value of your retail-priced ring is more likely to be the same as an equivalent wholesale ring, even if you did spend more money on it.

If diamonds are your preference, I strongly suggest looking at wholesalers as an option. The value is so great, I can’t think of a reason to shop elsewhere.

I explained why you don’t need to pay 3 months of your salary on an engagement ring. And now that you know about diamond wholesalers, the ring your lady love wants just may be closer within reach than you previously thought. If you’re still tempted to forgo diamond wholesalers because retailers are baiting you with freebies, I want you to consider a few things:

  • Most wedding websites are FREE anyway
  • You can actually clean your ring with products you already have at home. I’ve been using these tips and have been very happy with the results. I don’t clean it every week, but it looks like new after each cleaning.
  • Are you concerned about coverage for your ring should one of your prongs come lose and the diamond falls out? Well, that’s what insurance is for. If you don’t take out a policy on the ring alone, consider adding it to your renters’ or homeowners’ insurance instead.
  • The trade-in policies touted by jewelers can be quite complicated, forcing you to pay more for an upgrade than it’s worth without you ever realizing it. Not going too deep into all the ways that can happen, if you start out paying 2-3 times the wholesale price in a retail for one ring, you're in effect spending what (wholesale) amounts to buying a starter ring and an upgrade at the same time?

Whatever you decide, be smart. You and your lady will have a whole lot of life to live together.  Be good to her and start smart my friend…start smart.

Saving on Engagement Rings
Meme generated via Picasa 3; original image from


Recommended Resource:

Shop to get the best price on the engagement ring of your dreams!

Share this post:

About Bianca

I’m Bianca, a Washingtonian transplant from Chicago’s Southside. During the day, I work for the people; after hours, I moonlight as an artist and avid DIYer. On May 10, 2014, I’ll wed my love of 4 years in Atlanta, GA and add a few letters to my list of achievements…M – R – S.

Connect with Bianca
  • Ashleigh

    Some good advice for those looking for diamond rings. Another great way to save is to look at alternative stones like sapphire, topaz, pearl, or even uncut diamond.

    If you’re the type of bride who doesn’t worry about having a diamond, also consider rings with Cubic Zirconia. My engagement ring was a budget-friendly $55, and most people think it’s a diamond anyway.

    • Paul Evans

      You can also look at one of those no-credit-check, 90 days same as cash websites like for great engagement rings without having to break the bank.

  • Dana

    Great advice! It defiantly pays to shop around and skip the big box/mall jewelry stores. While my engagement ring came from a big box store, we shopped around looking for wedding bands until our friends suggested Direct Jewelry Outlet in Falls Church, VA (outside of Washington DC). It was a smaller family owned shop, and they were wonderful to work with! They made a custom ring for me, for a fraction of what other stores were charging (They have an onsite goldsmith-so everything is done inside of their shop). I was so impressed while we were there – they started pulling diamonds out of earrings just to see what they would look like next to my engagement ring while we were visiting the store! When we found a ring design Nick liked somewhere else, we emailed them the photo and they were able to find the manufacture and exact style for us. Plus, they were a fraction of the price from the store we had found that ring in! Besides our first visit, we did everything else online or over the phone (we’re out of state)

  • Great post, Bianca! It’s ridiculous that young couples just starting out feel they need to spend so much on an engagement ring just because of a marketing campaing!!

  • Pingback: UPDATE: Bianca’s Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget | The Budget Savvy Bride()

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!