Shopping for an engagement ring is exciting, but it's also pretty weird. Unless you and your partner are already sharing finances and comfortable discussing money, your engagement ring might be the first time you think about budget—and it can be a huge chunk of change to consider. We asked our experts for a few tips to help you get the conversation started.
Money is one of the hardest things to talk about, whether you've been married for years or are just considering getting engaged. So while we'll try to make it easier, know that it's going to be awkward no matter what.
Once you start talking about getting engaged, you and your partner should discuss how involved you'll both be in the engagement ring selection process. Some couples shop together, others brainstorm ideas and then one buys a ring in secret, and a few are completely surprised when that little box opens. The type of couple you are will determine the type of conversation you end up having.
Your partner may not want to reveal just how much he or she will be spending on your engagement ring, and that's perfectly fine. However, if you'll be looking at rings to give them an idea of what you want, ask them for a ballpark figure so you can talk to a jeweler about your options, whether it's looking at rings in a different carat weight or considering accents like side-stones, halos, or pavéed bands. Each detail, from the quality of the center stone to the type of metal it's set in, will impact how much the ring costs, and you don't want to fall in love with something only to find out it's double what your partner can afford.
If your partner doesn't know how much he or she wants to spend, do some research together. Visit a few different jewelry stores to see what rings can cost with and without a name brand attached, and have a jeweler walk you through the four C's (carat, clarity, cut, and color) to understand how a little give and take can impact your overall price. Look at alternative stones in addition to diamonds, too. You'll walk away with the knowledge that will help you set a budget and expectations.
Make sure you keep the financial health of your relationship in mind, too. While an engagement ring can often cost thousands of dollars, different stones or styles can be much more affordable. There's no need to go into debt or take out a loan just for an engagement ring, especially if the payment plans offered by the jeweler are strict or have unfavorable terms. Because wouldn't you rather have a smaller or non-traditional ring and still be able to put money toward a down payment or pay off your student loans? As you're discussing the budget for an engagement ring, keep all of your financial responsibilities in mind to make a choice that is a good fit for the two of you.