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Planning to get engaged?

<p>Engagement rings can be pricy, but they are also an important symbol of commitment in a relationship.</p>

Engagement rings can be pricy, but they are also an important symbol of commitment in a relationship. Take your time selecting a ring that reflects your values and your budget. Keep in mind that during lean times, many couples don’t even buy an engagement ring, just their wedding band.

1. Determine your budget before you shop. Avoid massive amounts of debt for a ring and save up. Some diamond experts have recommended that you spend between two and three months’ salary on a ring. But, that’s not the law. Do what’s right for you.

2. Research the types of rings available and the costs associated with your combination of choices: metal (gold, platinum, silver, etc), stone (diamond, sapphire, etc.), and setting. Research how the cut, clarity, colour and carat impacts the price of the ring.

3. Investigate the jeweller and get referrals from trusted friends or family members. For example, do you want a custom-made ring or one that is ready to go? See if the jeweller has an exchange or return policy just in case.

4. Bring a trusted ally who can help you wade through the thousands of choices. Consider shopping with your partner so you can make the decision together.

5. Maximize your budget:

  • Buy a ring that’s just less than the next carat size up. For example, buy a 0.8 rather than a one-carat or a 2.9 rather than a three-carat.

  • Select gold or white gold rather than platinum.

  • Choose a different stone, such as a sapphire rather than a diamond. .

  • Negotiate the price. Ask for a discount, present a competitive offer, and talk with the store manager about getting a deal.

  • Evaluate the long-term costs of cleaning and maintaining the ring. You can sometimes save on these by purchasing a package upfront.

  • See what discounts are available by purchasing online.

6. Plan ahead for the expense by saving in advance. Avoid store credit because the interest rates are hefty.

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