It’s the holiday season, which means there are probably a lot of poor bastards out there who are thinking of proposing to their girlfriend. If you are one of those guys, be sure to read this engagement ring guide. As someone who has gone through the process of buying an engagement ring—and now a wedding ring—I can say I have learned a lot.
Today, I’ll focus on what you need to know before and after you buy the ring. A few days from now, I’ll get into the specifics of finding a good ring such as the 4 C’s, how much to spend, and what features to avoid.
BEFORE YOU BUY
Find out What She Likes
This is very important. To a man an engagement ring is just a way to show a commitment to marriage. It is so much more than that to a woman. A girl wants a ring she can show off and use to make her single friends jealous. She wants to be constantly reminded of how awesome her future husband is. This doesn’t mean you need to go way over your budget to make this happen. You just need to find out the type of look she likes.
You need to find out the cut she likes (i.e. round, emerald, princess cut). You’ll need to find out the type of setting and they type of band she wants (i.e. yellow gold, white gold, platinum). I’ll get more into the specifics of that in the second part of this series.
If it’s possible, go shopping with her beforehand, see what she’s into. This will make the process easier when you decide to take the plunge. If you need it to be a surprise there are other ways to find out. Talk to her friends, talk to her mother. Trust me. They’ll know what she likes. Girls talk about this crap to each other.
Good Timing can Save you Money
There are typically a lot of proposals around Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Therefore, most stores will have big sales at these times. You can save yourself potentially thousands of dollars by purchasing the ring at these times. Even if you’re planning on proposing in June, it might be worth it to buy the ring in December and February and just stash it somewhere for a few months.
Shop around; Avoid Major Department Stores
It’s very important to shop around. Take a few days and go to as many stores as you can. The prices can really vary from store-to-store. I recommend doing the entire shopping process in a few days. You don’t want to decide on a ring only to find out the store sold it to someone else. Doing it all in a couple days reduces the chances of this happening.
Avoid shopping at major department stores such as Macys and JCPenny’s for a couple reasons. First off, they are pretty set on the price. You have a better chance of negotiating with a small dealer. Also these stores tend to mark up their prices and then have sales to make you think you are getting a good deal, when really you aren’t.
AFTER YOU BUY
Get it Appraised Immediately
Once you have the ring it is very important to have it appraised as soon as possible. The appraisal will determine if you got a good deal. If you got ripped off, you’ll have time to return it and go somewhere else. There’s nothing you can do if you get it appraised after you give it to her.
Get in Insured Immediately
Also, once it’s appraised, be sure to get it insured immediately. You can add the ring onto your homeowners or renters insurance policy and it really doesn’t cost too much. It’s easily worth the peace of mind. You don’t want to be out several thousand dollars when your fiancé accidentally drops it down the drain when she’s doing dishes.
That’s all the advice I have for you. Check back later in the week when I get into more detail about ring shopping.
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