Whoever came up with “first comes love, then comes marriage” missed a few steps along the way. Between those initial butterflies and a lifetime together are a lot of things, especially expensive things, one of which being the engagement ring. For most couples, finding a proposal-worthy piece tops the list, and there are affordable wedding rings out there. With a bit of knowledge and creative thinking, you should be able to get your wedding jewelry for a song. Consider some of the below factors when planning to buy rings and also a few cheaper options for rings further down before you commit to buying what is possibly the most important jewelry commitment you’ll be making at that time.
Bargain hunters unite! With a bit of planning, you can scope out jewelry stores for the timing of their annual clearance sales. Often, wedding rings are overstocked or have been there a while. You may get a stunner wedding band or ring for a steal. Another option is to limit yourself to searching the store’s markdown section to find a quality diamond ring at a bargain price. You will probably find a good sale as one wedding season closes and turns to the next and some styles become less fashionable. You might also find a good sale during the holidays and can benefit from that steal, holding on to the ring until the actual big day.
Local, reputable pawn shops often have a plethora of discarded engagement rings. Make someone else’s loss your gain and scour cases for the perfect fit. Another option when shopping for an affordable engagement ring is to head to the estate section of your local jewelry store. There are often one-of-a-kind and vintage rings that you can get for a fraction of the cost of a new piece. Hunt for a cushion cut, marquise, or 925 sterling silver options too.
You can also find an affordable wedding ring at antique shops and via seller sites, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, but be wary. Ensure that the seller has the receipt or paperwork for the ring to ensure that you’re getting what you pay for. Also, see if your family has any remaining pieces in their jewelry stash. Using an heirloom can make proposing that much more special. You can also make a custom piece if you feel the heirloom design is outdated – just make sure you give the jewelry designer enough material to work with and a reference image for the look and feel you are going for as well as the right ring circumference for comfort fit.
Nowadays, the word “custom” can come with a hefty price tag. However, that may not always be the case when hiring a jewelry designer. An artist can work within your price range and offer a variety of options to fit within your budget and engagement ring style. Plus, it’s a huge bonus to be able to get an affordable, one-of-a-kind piece.
Suppose you have an heirloom diamond, or a discarded ring made of precious metal, that’s even better! Alloys can be melted, and gemstones added to create custom engagement rings. Using what you already have can reduce the cost and help you create the perfect ring.
Diamonds are valuable and are best set in metal that’s worthy of them. However, if you have your heart set on an expensive metal, such as platinum, you may want to opt for a different type. Alloys such as tungsten, steel, and titanium will lighten the cost of your ring. A big bonus is that some of the lesser-priced alternative metals are incredibly durable. So, what you lack in value, you gain in longevity.
A simple swap is to forgo the diamond and go with a look alike. Cubic zirconia has come a long way, and only the two of you will know it’s a dupe. Just be upfront with your fiance, as some have been caught trying to pass off a fake. Yikes! You could go with a different gem altogether, use a birthstone, or opt for a colored rock, such as sapphire or emerald.
If you must have a diamond ring, then there are ways to sacrifice in some areas to gain in others. For example, if the size is essential, look at stones that are lesser in quality. Lower-rated diamonds may have slight inclusions or a bit of a yellowish cast. If the diamond’s grade is crucial, then choose a slightly lower diamond carat size to put quality over quantity. Another option is to go for less expensive, lab-grown diamond engagement rings.
Often, solitaire engagement rings are costly. There is also a significant difference between a one-carat diamond and a ring with a total diamond weight of one carat. Choosing a piece with several smaller stones, instead of one large rock can make your bling more affordable.
If your heart is set on a solitaire, go a bit under the weight you want. A .96 carat diamond is often less expensive than a one-carat ring. Even though the difference is only .04 carats, there are weight increments in the jewelry industry that serve as price markers.
A salesperson can often be your ally in choosing a bridal ring, engagement ring set, or diamond wedding bands, and the smaller the chain store, the better. If you head to a pawn shop or local jewelry boutique, sometimes you can ask for a percentage off the price. You may score a better deal, especially if you’re talking to the owner. Politely asking if they could extend a discount can go a long way.
When dealing with a large chain, pick your clerk’s brain about affordable wedding rings. Ask them if any specials are coming up or if any rings may be marked down soon. It’s a win for everyone, as you help them clear out their stock.
Many couples enjoy shopping online so that they can compare prices and styles without being put on the spot. The added pressure of a salesperson can clutter the mind. Of course, the caveat with purchasing online is that you aren’t seeing the rings in person. Each natural diamond will vary in color and imperfections, so be aware of industry standards. Also, do your homework about the return policy, warranty, and payment options that a site offers.
A car salesperson would probably faint if you told them you wanted to buy three cars at once, but don’t expect the same reaction from your jeweler. There may be added benefits to purchasing three-piece wedding ring sets, as buying pieces for both partners at once can help obtain a discount. Some bands are explicitly sold as an engagement and wedding ring set, which is often more economical.
“Cash is king” reigns true. Many stores offer a discount for using banknotes, and you will avoid interest and fees by doing so. Although, if you need to finance your wedding ring, be aware of your options. Don’t just pop out a high-interest credit card and hope for the best.
Jewelry shops often offer to finance, but another option is to get a new credit card with a low introductory rate or zero-APR. Although neither of these will make your engagement ring more affordable, it will reduce your total cost.
If you met the perfect person while going through grad school, opt for a modest or simple wedding ring now or even promise rings or eternity band, and then upgrade later to some fine jewelry. Chances are that you’ll be able to splurge once you are making money, instead of while you’re racking up student loans.
Checkout a placeholder gold ring, gold wedding band, or sterling silver rings to wear on a different finger eventually. It could also be passed down to future generations as a keepsake after it’s replaced. Another option is to sell the original ring, if it’s not sentimental, to help you afford another piece down the road.
No matter your stage in life, affordable wedding rings are within reach. Getting more for your money not only feels good, but it can make the time between love and marriage a bit easier on your pocketbook.
Understandably, not everyone has a grand budget to work with when it comes to rings so we’ve listed a few styles here that can broadly address that issue. Consider these options first before jumping for a ring that might be too expensive to afford at this time. There is always the opportunity to upgrade, exchange, or resell at a later day for a new ring. Check with your jewelry maker as well so you know what future options are available to you via the same store.
Since vintage rings are used and don’t carry the same markup as newer jewelry does, this is one of the cheap wedding rings options to consider when budgeting for jewelry costs. That said, you can possibly find plenty of designs that align with the look and feel you are going for toward your big day. These will possibly cost you much lesser than a brand new designed or custom piece and you could come away from shopping for a ring benefitting from a pretty good deal.
As cluster rings don’t have one large centerpiece diamond or gemstone but rather several stones that are smaller and less expensive, this is also a reason why they are among favored cheap wedding ring options. Wearing ring clusters is quite fashionable and could give the illusion of one broad and fancy ring or clearly denote a set of rings worn individually. Depending on your style, you can choose a few different types of gold bands as well.
These are classic, elegant, and budget-friendly choices. As there are no diamonds or gemstones taking pride of place in a solitaire band, this is a great cheap wedding ring option as well for those on a very rigid budget and not much leeway to spend on rings. Consider this a first stop when looking for rings before exploring other options. They never go out of style and can be a versatile piece that is worn with other outfits as well.
If you are not very specific about going for the expensive mainstream gemstones that are always in demand and therefore sold at a premium price, you can still have a beautiful gemstone dotted ring at a much lesser price point. Research ahead to see which types and colors would best suit not just your outfit but also your skin tone and can be worn for long periods of time. That way you’ll have a few options in mind when you go shopping.
Instead of one large attention-seeking diamond, consider several smaller diamond accents for a cheaper ring overall. This will also give you some leeway to play with the type of gold used – choose from rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold or even opt for a sterling silver bridal set. A princess cut might also be a good option to consider when on budget as the irregular shape makes them look larger to the naked eye than a regular round shape which is the most common and favored but also quite expensive.
While this compilation is in no way exhaustive, it does provide a broad summary of the ring options you can consider for wedding rings if you are working on a lean budget. You may want to begin shopping around for designs ahead of time so you can truly review all the choices you have before finalizing on that one special ring.