Should you buy your own engagement ring?

My good friend the other day got engaged (!!) and to congratulate her, I took her out for dinner to chat about what she wanted to do for the wedding, and well.. to see the ring too ๐Ÿ™‚

She showed off a gorgeous ring with a modest diamond set in white gold, which was absolutely stunning.

I of course, being a totally gauche, rude, but very good friend and curious PF blogger, wanted to know the price of everything including what she wanted to spend on the wedding (that is, if she wasn’t going to be offended in telling me).

(She wasn’t offended by the way).

She said she was planning on a $20,000 – $30,000 wedding for a small group of people (150 but preferably less), and that the ring cost $2678.98.

I kind of furrowed my brow at her in surprise, which for me is a feat because I don’t really have any eyebrows to speak of (sparse but large), and I can barely wrinkle my forehead as I was born with built-in Botox and will never wrinkle easily (good genes rock!!!).

Anyway, I expected her to give me a range of what it cost like “Oh he said around $2500”, but she knew the exact number.

Since I found it weird, and because I’m rudely curious like that, I asked her how she knew the exact cost.

Her answer? Because I’m the one that paid for it.


Long story short, she paid for the ring because she earns more – she earns double his salary, and is debt free and he’s paying off the last dregs of his debt.

What I was most interested in talking about today is the growing sentiment among women to buy their own engagement rings.

So what does FB think about women buying their own engagement rings?

Short answer:

I am totally against that. The guy or the askee (sp?) should always do the buying of the engagement ring. The wedding, the wedding band, not so important to me who pays for what.

Long answer:

It’s all marketing anyway, but it’s a symbolic sign of his commitment to her, and to tell you the truth, it has ALWAYS been marketing to begin with, with or without De Beers.

It’s just that diamonds are the only real commercial marketing from De Beers as the actual engagement ring. It could have been any other gem, but they had an extra lode of diamonds on hand…. ๐Ÿ˜›

Let me explain…

See, when you buy a $2000 diamond ring, you can’t re-sell it for $2000 unless it was a one of a kind, special Hope Diamond-esque kind of deal.

They’re going to offer you AROUND $2000 (not $50 of course), but it will never be at what the full retail cost was (Hey! Jewelers need to turn a profit too).

That means if you bought the ring, turned around and tried to resell it for let’s say $1500, he essentially burned $500 within a couple of seconds (assuming there isn’t a buyer’s remorse return policy of 30 days in place).

The fact that anyone buys an engagement ring at all is partly because of De Beers marketing (natch!), but also because he had to hypothetically save the money he earned from 2 weeks, 3 months, whatever, to buy that ring in full with cash, not credit *cough*.

Sociologically speaking, it is a symbol that he is willing to work that time and spend his energy saving for a ring that isn’t going to be worth its original value at resale.

As a PF blogger, I am thinking: So who the hell would buy something that is immediately going to lose value? It isn’t a house, or stocks, or even money in the bank – it’s like a guarantee for a loss! That’s just CRAZINESS!

But I get it.

It’s almost like he’s saying:

Look, the ring is a sign that I will do anything for you and for us.

I am willing to work 3 months like a dog to buy a ring that is not really worth that price of what I paid in the end, just to show you that I am committed so far, that I am willing to (almost) burn the money to show you my devotion.

It also means that in the future, if you or I have a medical emergency, or if we have kids, I am willing to work even harder to make it work because it isn’t an automatic lost financial investment the way the ring was.

..if that makes any sense (I’m not 100% fab at explaining sociological concepts).

But here’s another example that may be easier to understand:

In primitive societies, men didn’t have De Beers in the jungle to fill their minds with pretty polished rocks as being the symbol of their love.

These primitive men would go out, spend a day or two cutting down a HUGE tree, and carving it up into pieces of wood to proudly tote back to their beloved.

To sociologists, this was the same concept as an engagement ring.

The wood itself is of little value – it is all around them in the forest, and when they burn it to cook their food or keep warm, it disappears, which may be just cause for spending all that time cutting it down and carving it up, but it was inconsequential to the meaning behind the gift of wood.

What was really important to the sociologists was the fact that the man spent 2 days cutting down a huge tree by himself, carving it up and carrying all the pieces back to present to her.

The wood had no significance to the woman herself.

It was his sign of commitment to her and their future family, and a symbol of their life together — that he was willing to brave being crushed by a tree to provide the wood to her and their offspring so they could eat and keep warm.

And if you think about it, diamonds and gold are not exactly useful.

I mean, other than as a beautiful piece of jewellery, gold cannot really be used for anything and neither can diamonds (except to cut glass). But it’s not like you can eat it or use it to keep warm at night.

Now with all of that being said, I understand that a ring is just a ring to some people and it’s just tradition, but I think it helps if people understand WHY we have engagement rings and the previous rules surrounding it instead of just thinking ” I want a pretty bauble! “.

Anyway, other ground rules are:

If you break up you must return the ring – it was his deposit, he gets it back to do as he wishes. I know some guys let the girls keep the ring, which is totally up to them, but the girl should woman up and return the ring anyway.

Especially if it was his family heirloom (which is a really romantic engagement ring by the way).

You cannot borrow money either on credit or from others to pay for the ring – if not, the person that gave the money is the one who committed to the woman (and Mastercard may not make the best husband..)

As I’ve said before, the whole point of the ring is that it’s a down payment, but a down payment in CASH, not credit. It’s the blood, sweat and tears that go into saving money for that ring that makes it a deposit.

Who wants a flimsy deposit anyway? If I tried to buy a home or a car without a deposit, but I said “Look, I’ll give you credit to pay for credit“, they’d laugh at me and I’d laugh myself right out the door.

Anyway, there are some options if the guy can’t give you a big ring:

1. You wait longer before you get proposed to with a ring that you want

2. You get a smaller ring (it’s the thought and commitment that counts right?)

3. You pay the difference of the upgrade to the ring that you really want, but he puts down the bulk of the payment

4. No ring at all, just the bands

5. Buy a ring for your right hand instead

If you just want to get married and have that commitment but not care about the ring or anything like that, the guy should at least propose and have put down SOME money on the ring.

Besides, my last reason for doing that is if you buy your own ring, you’re going to fondly look at that ring and think to yourself:

How nice, I paid and bought this for myself so we could get married…

…rather than…

How nice, he really did buy a beautiful ring… WE ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!!

and the resentment of having to have paid for your own engagement ring, wedding & everything else will eventually build up and burst all over the place and ruin the marriage, in my opinion.

Money is the #1 cause of Divorce and if you feel like he isn’t pulling his weight (and vice versa), it does not end prettily.

Just saying.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.