Ah, middle school, those awkward years where kids start to go through puberty and giggle around those that catch their eye. Many of them would pretend to be engaged to their would-be beau as they flash a massive rock on their finger—a Ring Pop, to be exact. Yes, those sweet rings are colorful and yummy, but as an adult, your jewelry should get a significant upgrade, which often leads to questions on how to finance an engagement ring.
If you want to “pop” the question, it’s wise to consider a less tasty, longer-lasting, and more valuable option. When it comes to paying for that big jewelry purchase, cash is ideal. But, if the candy type is all you can afford, exploring engagement ring financing could be the answer.
As with any major purchase, such as a house or car, couples need to think about how they will foot the bill. Money isn’t the most romantic topic, but couples should chat about the expenditure before the allure of a massive, sparkly diamond—and a smart salesperson at your local jewelry store—overtakes their senses. The cost of an engagement ring isn’t something to be glossed over. Instead, sit down with your partner and have a realistic conversation regarding the following.
You probably want to land somewhere between Ring Pop and Kim K’s multi-million dollar stunner (which unfortunately was stolen, but that’s another story). All comparisons aside, designating a specific price range for your bling will keep you from overextending your budget.
There are ways to get what you crave, such as sacrificing diamond clarity or color in exchange for a higher carat weight. Do a bit of research on what you can afford and what tweaks you are willing to make.
If you’ve been searching online, chances are you’ve found a few head-turners that may be out of your price range. There are ways to get close to what you want without having to break the bank. Pre-loved, lesser priced rings abound in pawn shops, antique stores, and the estate sections of jewelry boutiques.
Think creatively about where to secure your wedding ring. Doing so means that you may get more for your money or end up paying less.
Sure, Kim can afford to repurchase an expensive diamond ring, but it would be a hardship for most of us. Even if it weren’t a burden financially, it would be discouraging to have to spring for a new ring. Insurance won’t replace the emotional toll of a sentimental piece being lost or stolen. But, if you insure your ring, you can file a claim and replace it quickly.
Most homeowners and renters policies include the jewelry inside your dwelling, but often it only compensates up to a specific value. Having an additional plan is reassurance that you can be reimbursed for the full replacement cost.
Let’s face it, weddings are expensive—flowers, attire, venue, food. The list goes on, but the budget may not. Although an engagement ring will last well beyond the big day, going deep into debt right out of the gate may not be wise or necessary.
Before you grab the plastic already tucked into your wallet, think about getting a brand new card. Many credit card companies offer low introductory rates—or zero-APR—and give bonus points for large purchases within the first few months.
However, be aware of when these rates expire before swiping your card. If your current one already has a low rate or you’re saving reward points, weigh the benefits of your existing account before seeking a new one.
Frequently, large jewelry chain stores offer to finance and/or they have their own credit cards. However, be sure to read the fine print before charging those engagement rings. Buy-now-pay-later plans are alluring, yet there may be harsh penalties for missing or delaying payment.
Jewelry stores with easy credit approval often have zero percent interest. Be sure to ask questions about when the rate will go up after the introductory offer. This increase is often described as deferred interest and can accompany no credit check, engagement ring financing. No matter the verbiage, be sure to review the specifications before signing on the dotted line.
Hearing “loan” sounds scary. Honestly, with our ever-present credit cards, we don’t often take out loans unless we’re financing a big purchase, such as a car or business start-up.
Fear aside, analyze securing a bank loan for engagement ring financing. With a personal loan, you’ll be able to make a monthly payment on your chosen wedding ring. Bad credit history may hurt your chances or increase your percentage rate, but having a good relationship with a local bank can prove beneficial.
Still looking for jewelry financing options for your wedding ring? Although this is a bit unconventional, decluttering is a fabulous way to earn extra money. Purging can be quite the motivator, especially if you’re combining households. With selling outlets such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist, couples can earn cash quickly.
Other alternatives are to hold a yard sale or take unwanted items to a pawn shop. You may be surprised about the items lying around your home that could help finance a ring long term. Another alternative is getting a part-time job or stepping up your side hustle to cover the cost.
That said, remember: The “three months’ salary” rule isn’t real wedding etiquette. The amount of money you end up spending on an engagement ring is entirely up to you and differs greatly from couple to couple.
Pro: Credit card points. Most couples who choose to finance an engagement ring do so via credit card. Depending on your credit card—whether it’s a travel card, store credit card, or bank card—this could end up earning you a lot of points and/or benefits. In the case of travel points, it might even help contribute to honeymoon costs.
Con: Interest rates. That said, charging an expensive engagement ring to your credit card can make it seem as though the spending doesn’t exist. If you can’t see it—outside of your bank statement—you may forget about it and be slow to pay it off. Out of sight, out of mind. This is where interest rates will get you. The longer you wait to achieve repayment, the more you’ll end up paying in interest charges—especially where high interest rates are concerned. This is why looking for lenders/borrowers with low interest can be paramount.
Pro: Convenience. The most common reason for financing an engagement ring is time convenience. In short, you might not have all of the money you need right now, but still want to purchase the ring. Perhaps you’re going on a special trip soon or a holiday is coming up where you’d like to propose. In any case, financing allows you to purchase an engagement ring on a timeline that works for you. This may also allow you to take advantage of store sales, promotional periods, and in-store financing deals via retailers.
Con: Credit score. Putting such a large charge on a credit card or taking out a personal loan can have a negative effect on otherwise good credit. Poor credit, in turn, has the potential to drastically affect your personal finances, including other wedding costs. If you charged the ring to a credit card, avoid this by paying more than the minimum amount each month. If you went through an issuer, stick to your payment plan and pay more when you can.
An engagement ring purchase is nothing short of a big deal. From loan amounts, to financing offers, to personal loans, this might not be a conversation or situation you look forward to working through. However, if you take the time to really research and weigh your options, you’re more likely to come out the other side in good financial shape. No matter how you choose to finance an engagement ring, be sure to head into the purchase with a bit of knowledge in hand about your options. Looking at diamond engagement rings is a time to level up, ditch the middle school Ring Pop, and propose with a stunner meant to last as long as your love.
And for those times when your wedding budget seems to be getting the better of you, take advantage of Zola’s in-app budget calculator feature. Simply open the app, tap budget, and update with your wedding budget and spending.