How do you buy an engagement ring on a budget?
According to the Knot, the average price of an engagement ring is $5900.
But you don’t need to spend all that money on a ring.
Engagement and wedding rings are a symbol of your union – your love and commitment.
They don’t have to break the bank to be meaningful.
Here are 18 tips and hacks on how to save money on an engagement ring.
18 Tips on the Best Ways to Save on an Engagement Ring
1. Set an engagement ring budget
How much should you spend on an engagement ring?
You might have heard the saying that an engagement ring should cost around 3 months pay.
Did you know this originated from a 1930’s De Beers marketing campaign telling men they should be spending 1 month’s salary on an engagement ring?
In the 1980’s, they changed it to 2 month’s salary. Now it’s up to 3 months.
You should certainly spend however much you want on an engagement ring, but…
Don’t feel like you have to base it on what a diamond company (who’s purpose is to make money from you) said 90 years ago.
Do what fits YOUR budget and wants – not DE BEERS’ budget and wants.
If you want to have a ready-for-you wedding budget, here’s my wedding budget spreadsheet.
2. Don’t buy brand names
You are paying a high premium for a brand like Tiffany’s.
When you think about it, this premium is ridiculously high given that there’s no brand name immediately visible on the ring.
You will be the only person who knows that your ring is from a brand name store. Of course, if you tell other people – they’ll know too.
Nobody’s going to care. A diamond engagement ring is a diamond engagement ring.
3. Shop online for a ring
The best price you’ll get on rings is online…
Not mall chains or mom and pop shops, but online where retailers don’t have to pay store rent.
It’s a good idea to go to stores in person to see what kind of rings are available, measure your ring size etc.
If you’re at a store and find yourself drawn to 1 particular ring, you can always try to negotiate. You just never know what’s possible until you ask.
If you’re looking for the best deal, go with an online retailer.
In my research, Blue Nile has an excellent selection of low price, high quality diamonds.
Founded in 1999, Blue Nile offers over 150,000 ethically-sourced diamonds.
They’ve served over 2 million customers.
They have a diamond price-match guarantee, and provide free shipping, returns and a lifetime manufacturer warranty.
In fact, we purchased my engagement and wedding rings from them 8 years ago! The rings still look amazing!
4. Prioritize the C’s of diamonds
The 4 C’s of diamonds are:
- Carat: how heavy a diamond is
- Clarity: how clear and flawless a diamond is
- Color: how colorless a diamond is
- Cut: how a diamond has been cut
Cut is usually considered the most important aspect because it impacts its sparkle and brilliance. This is usually followed by color, carat and clarity.
Clarity is often the least important because the blemishes and imperfections are often microscopic.
The more heavy, clear, colorless, and crafted the diamond is – the more it will cost.
A diamond should really be looked at as a whole.
For my diamond, we prioritized it based on what’s often recommended: cut, color, carat and clarity.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to prioritize the C’s of diamonds. Which element is most important to you.
For example, if carat is more important to you than color, your diamond should reflect this.
5. Get under whole numbers for the C’s
You might think that you have to get a 1 carat diamond, but it is significantly cheaper to get one just under like 0.95 or 0.9 carat.
It looks very similar, but will be hundreds of dollars less!
My center diamond is 0.8 carat and it was over $1000 less than going with a 1 carat diamond with other similar features.
6. Get a halo setting for your engagement ring
When shopping for a ring setting, consider the halo.
A halo is when there is a circle of small diamonds surrounding the center diamond.
It makes the center diamond look larger.
You can go down on the carat weight and look like you have a larger diamond.
I have a 0.8 carat halo engagement ring. It looks like a 1 carat diamond!
7. Get a thin ring band
Another way to make the stone look larger and spend less is to get a thin band.
I have one and it makes the stone look much bigger in comparison.
Tip: If you get a thin band for your engagement ring, you’ll probably want to get a wedding band that’s the same thickness. That way together, they don’t overpower the center diamond.
8. Consider unpopular ring shapes
Round cut diamonds tend to be the most popular and produce the most sparkle, but they’re also the costliest.
If you’re flexible, go with a princess or oval shape and you can get a better deal.
9. Consider your partner’s engagement ring preferences
It’s important to get a gauge on your partner’s expectations.
What kind of ring does your partner want?
If your partner doesn’t care about rings or is budget-minded, she will not appreciate you dropping $1000’s on it.
If your partner wants a certain ring, keep this in mind.
If you can’t afford it now, you can always buy a temporary ring that looks like the real thing until you can afford the one you want like…
10. Consider cheaper alternatives to a diamond
If you want to get a stone that looks very similar to a diamond (to the extent where you need to be a trained jeweler to see the difference), you might want to consider a moissanite ring.
A moissanite ring is:
- Composed of silicon carbide
- Referred to as the stardust or space diamond because it is believed the crystals were brought to earth on a meteor
- Often lab created (natural moissanite is available but incredibly rare) so there’s minimal environmental impact
- Durable for everyday wear
- Has a heightened brilliance as compared to a diamond and gives off a colorful rainbow effect under sunlight
- Can have a yellow or gray color in some lights
Most importantly, it’s WAY LESS EXPENSIVE.
Instead of paying $1000+ for a diamond ring, you could pay less than $1000 (likely under $500) for a very similar looking moissanite ring.
Here’s a moissanite ring on Amazon for less than $200!
These rings are gorgeous! They both come with a certificate of authenticity.
If you want to get a higher quality moissanite ring (because you’re not looking for a temporary ring), Charles & Colvard specializes in selling moissanite rings. They’ve been creating them for more than 20 years.
If you subscribe to their emails, you can closely monitor their discounts.
There are other diamond alternatives like cubic zirconia, which is:
- Composed of zirconium oxide
- Less durable and scratch resistant than a moissanite ring, but still wearable everyday
- Has a more superficial sparkle
- Almost always flawless in color and clarity, but this can cause it to look artificial
It’s also much cheaper than a moissanite ring.
Here’s a cubic zirconia ring that’s less than $20!
Between the 2, I like the moissanite rings better because it looks and feels closer to a diamond.
It ultimately depends on your budget and priorities.
Even if you can afford a diamond ring, you might not feel comfortable shelling out $1000’s for it.
You can always make the choice to purchase a moissanite ring and put that money towards something that’s more aligned with your goals.
11. Consider other gemstones for your ring
A gemstone with a splash of color can set your ring apart!
12. Know the ring return and exchange policy
Especially if you’re not proposing right away, you’ll want to know your window to return or exchange the item.
My husband proposed with a ring I liked, but just didn’t love. We returned it and got the one I have now.
You should be aware that if you engrave or get a highly customized ring, you might not be able to return it.
Check the return policy in detail so you know what your options are.
13. Get your ring insured
One option you have is to get your ring insured.
If you have an expensive ring, it’s worth checking with your insurance provider to see if it makes sense to add coverage for the ring to your policy.
14. Maintain the diamond
Depending on where you purchase, there might be a warranty on your ring.
Make sure you read the warranty terms.
Some warranties specify that you have to bring in the ring for inspection or maintenance every year. If you don’t do this, the warranty could be voided.
15. Get antique ring jewelry
You can get antique jewelry at estate sales, pawn shops, and online marketplaces like Etsy for a great price.
What’s fun about antique jewelry is that it often has a story behind it and offers unique settings that are not available on the market today.
The only thing is that you have to be cautious and get a certificate of appraisal to confirm that what you’re getting is what you’re paying for.
16. Buy a used ring
Alternatively, you can just go on the hunt for a used ring. People get divorced all the time or they get a ring upgrade.
I’ve seen great prices on used rings on Facebook Marketplace, Facebook buy and sell groups, Kijiji and Craigslist.
Like antique jewelry, you want to be careful and ask for a certificate of appraisal. If the buyer doesn’t have one and you love the ring, you might want to consider getting the ring appraised yourself.
17. Ask your relatives for rings
Often there will already be diamonds in the family like a grandmother’s engagement ring.
If the ring style isn’t ideal, you can ask a local jeweler to just take the diamond and reset it to a more modern style. It’ll cost a fraction of the price of a new ring.
If the ring is on a yellow gold band, which used to be popular, you can ask the jeweler to coat the ring in rhodium, which simulates white gold.
18. Get just the ring band
You don’t need to be traditional and get the large gemstone on the ring.
I have a co-worker that just got the diamond eternity band as her engagement ring. Her wedding ring was a metal band. It was gorgeous!
I’ve also heard some people just get an eternity symbol metal band. I love that idea too!
Recap of How to Get Good Deals on Engagement Rings
- Set a ring budget
- Don’t buy brand names
- Shop online for a ring
- Prioritize the C’s of diamonds
- Get under whole numbers for the C’s
- Get a ring halo setting
- Get a thin ring band
- Consider unpopular ring shapes
- Consider what your partner’s ring preferences are
- Consider something similar to a diamond
- Consider other gemstones for your ring
- Know the ring return and exchange policy
- Get your ring insured
- Maintain the diamond
- Get antique ring jewelry
- Buy a used ring
- Ask your relatives for rings
- Get just the ring band
Final Thoughts on How to Buy an Engagement Ring on a Budget
At the end of the day, your ring is your own. A more expensive ring doesn’t make it any better.
What matters is what it symbolizes – your engagement. Your relationship.
Congratulations on your engagement!
If you’re looking for more money saving tips, here’s how to plan a wedding on a small budget.
If you’re planning a beach wedding, here are tips on how to have a beach wedding on a budget.
Resources for Saving Money
Looking for other ideas to save money?
Here are my favorite money saving resources:
Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is great because you can get up to 40% back for shopping online at over 2500 stores – many of which you would normally shop at like Amazon, eBay, Macy’s, Kohl’s etc. It’s FREE to sign up.
Blue Nile is also on Ebates!
For U.S. residents, Rakuten will give you a welcome bonus of $10 after making your first online purchase of $25 or more. For Canadians, it’s a $5 welcome bonus for signing up. You can read more about how to use Rakuten here!
If you spend hours meal planning every week only to stress out some days and eat out, you might be interested in the $5 meal plan. For $5/month, they send you a weekly meal plan where every meal will cost approximately $2/person! They save you time and money so that you can focus on doing things you enjoy like hanging with your kid!
They offer a 14 day FREE trial (approximately 40 recipes) – regular or gluten-free – that you can cancel at any time with no questions asked.
This membership has 2 great benefits: free 2 day shipping and free access to movies, TV shows, music and books. You no longer have to worry about last minute items. You can cancel your other movie, music and book subscription services. You can also get 20% off diapers and baby food when you have more than 5 subscriptions.
Get the Amazon 30 day FREE trial here. You can cancel at anytime. No questions asked.
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- Honey Review: How to get the Best Prices Available
- Ebates Review: How to Make and Save Money Fast
- Best Money Saving Tips to Save You $1000’s
- 18 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money Every Day
- 11 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries
- How to Shop for Clothes on a Budget
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