Beyonce said it best when she advised love-struck men everywhere to ‘put a ring on it’. But choosing the right engagement ring is no mean task. It’s the most important shopping decision of a man’s life and one that’s sure to put a mighty big dent in your back pocket.
Do you follow the old 3 months’ salary rule when you set your budget? Do you trust your own judgement or take your future wife shopping with you? Here are our tips to help you avoid the bear traps and get the right rock on your lady’s finger…
1. Setting your budget
Before you go into any jewellery stores, make sure you’ve given careful thought to your budget because it’s easy to get carried away once the options are laid out in front of you. Theories on what you should spend on an engagement ring range from 3 weeks’ to 3 months’ salary. You’ll have to decide on a figure that’s right for you, so try asking around if you’ve got mates who have already taken the plunge. But remember your special lady’s opinion is the one that really matters. Even if you hide your credit card receipt, she’ll know what you spent when she sees the ring!!
2. Finding the money
An engagement ring is one of the biggest ticket items you’ll buy, so it’s worth giving some thought to how you’ll fund it. You can do it the old fashioned way and save for it, cutting back on your coffees, golf accessories and trips to the pub to ferret a little away each month.
Despite our best intentions, the above approach is not always practical. So a credit card or personal loan can be a useful solution. Once you have made your purchase keep your eye out for a low or 0% balance transfer offer for 6-9 months. This will help you avoid paying interest on the purchase and give yourself some breathing space to enjoy the moment. Just be aware if you have any outstanding balance from your transfer, your interest rate may increase at the end of the offer period.
If you are considering a credit card, you may wish to review the range of products available through Virgin Money.
3. When size really matters
For some women, size matters (we’re still talking engagement rings). They don’t care about the band, just the rock that’s sitting on it. If your fiancée falls into this category, you need to read up on diamonds. This handy diamond infographic is a great place to start. Learning a bit about diamond clarity will give you a much better idea of what you want and how much you need to spend.
4. How well do you know your future wife?
If you think your soul mate is less of a traditional type, you might be looking for a ring that suits her particular style and personality. If you shy away from picking out clothes or underwear when it comes to birthdays and Christmas, this route is probably not for you. But if you’re confident that you know your other half and can pick out the kind of ring she would choose for herself, you’ll have a great story to tell.
There are lots of ways to personalise your engagement ring. You could go for a less traditional precious metal, such as platinum, white gold or stainless steel. Rather than diamonds, you could go for coloured gem stones, such as emeralds or rubies. Or you could take your lead from royalty and propose with a sapphire ring, like the one Prince William gave Kate Middleton.