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wedding cake with bride and groom

The road to your wedding — the planning, the researching, and the saving— can be a long one. Many modern couples take months, or even years, to plan their weddings.

And while it used to be tradition that a bride’s family would foot the bill, it’s become increasingly common for both families to pitch in. Many couples now pay for the whole event themselves, without any familial help (or with the help of crowdfunding campaigns for weddings).

One of the first, and biggest, single expenses of a wedding may be the engagement ring. We have some tips for choosing and paying for the right engagement ring for you, your partner, and both your budgets.

The first step is to choose a ring that fits your budget as well as your partner’s finger.

3 tips for the perfect affordable engagement ring

  • Set, and stick with, a comfortable budget. In the 1930’s, De Beers ran ads advising people to spend a month’s salary on an engagement ring. Today, the average amount spent on an engagement ring has increased to more than $6,000. This means some couples are spending much less than the old “one months’ salary” rule of thumb—and others are spending more. Spend what you’re comfortable with and you’re more likely to start the joining of your finances off on the right foot.
  • Learn your partner’s ring preference: Try to learn your betrothed’s likes and dislikes when it comes to engagement rings — the stone, the cut, the setting. If you want to keep it a surprise, employ a little help from friends or family. This will help you determine the style and size you want, and determine whether or not it fits into your budget.
  • Find ways to buy quality, but trim costs: When you purchase from the jewelry store, you’re not only purchasing the stone, you typically get the stone, setting, and band. One alternative that could save you some money is to purchase the diamond separately and to get it set by a jeweler. There are several reliable companies that sell certified, loose diamonds. You will still have to buy a band and have the diamond set, but the amount you save from buying the diamond separately could be meaningful. Or opt for an heirloom ring or estate sale find.

Now that you’ve set the budget and found the ring, it’s time to figure out how to pay for the ring without increasing your financial stress.

Financing the engagement ring

If you haven’t saved for the engagement ring in addition to the wedding, or you prefer not to dip into the wedding day coffers just yet, engagement ring financing may be a smart move. Many jewelers offer financing options — sometimes with low or 0% APR introductory rates.

You need to consider whether it makes sense to accumulate an additional line of credit (and monthly bill), especially one that may jump to a high APR after the intro rate expires.  

If you are already considering a loan to cover the wedding itself, calculating the cost of the engagement ring (and wedding rings too) into the total amount you’d like to borrow may be a smarter financial move.

Here are just a few of the benefits of using a personal loan for your engagement ring purchase

A personal loan for an engagement ring may offer greater flexibility than some of the in-store financing options offered by your jeweler. For instance, you may customize your loan amount and repayment term in order to get a set regular monthly payment that fits your budget.

An established lender may offer competitive interest rates with flexible loan repayment terms. This can save you money in interest over time compared to the jeweler’s financing package. Those jeweler’s promotional introductory interest rates often end up meaning the ring costs you a lot more in interest if you don’t pay it off in time. With a personal loan you’ll always know what your monthly payment will be.

You work with a loan professional rather than a jewelry salesperson. A loan specialist will be focused on getting you a loan you can afford, not on their commission.

Choosing an engagement ring can be stressful, as can figuring out how to pay for it, but with a little planning you can get the ring your intended will love and start a smarter, safer financial future together.

Want to know more about how Discover Personal Loans can help with your engagement ring, and your wedding?Personal Loans for Weddings