How to Buy an Engagement Ring: The Ultimate Shopping Guide

So, you like it and want to put a ring on it. With National Proposal Day approaching on March 20th, it’s time to get creative on ways to propose to your S.O. Not only do you have the pressure of the proposal being magical and everything she’s ever wanted, you have to buy the perfect ring. Only, you have no idea what you’re doing or where to begin.

An engagement ring is likely going to be one of the bigger purchases you make in your life so it’s crucial to do your research. With the average cost of an engagement ring being around a cool $6,000- this process shouldn’t be rushed.

While everyone is different and makes their own path when it comes to getting engaged, here are a few tips and guidelines to get you started.

Set a Budget
First things first, before you walk into a jewelry store, figure out how much you can afford to spend. The general rule of thumb is the one to three months salary rule which can be a useful benchmark. In today’s day and age, most couples have student loans, credit card debt, and other monthly expenses. So, while the three-month rule might work for you, it might not for others.

There are many options available before you opt to dip into your hard earned savings. A low-interest personal loan can offer some competitive interest rates compared to putting the whole thing on credit. That way, with a loan, you’re not spending more than the ring itself. While with a credit card, there’s the temptation of spending above your means. There’s also the option to see if your jeweler offers options to finance. At the end of the day, buy the nicest ring you’re able to afford.

Do your homework
So, you’ve figured out how much you want to spend. Now the fun stuff, picking out a diamond. When selecting a diamond, a good place to start is the 4 c’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat. Cut refers to the angles of the stone. A well-cut diamond will reflect the most light (bling bling!) and give the most sparkle.

Every diamond comes in different colors. D being colorless and Z being a light yellow. Colorless diamonds are the most expensive while opting for a white or light colored diamond could save you some bucks in the end. The color of the diamond depends on your lady’s preferences

Clarity refers to the number of imperfections in the diamond. The more imperfections, the less expensive it is. When searching for your perfect diamond, try to avoid imperfections on the top and middle because this can affect the bling factor.

Lastly, carat refers to the weight of the diamond. The heavier the stone, the more expensive it becomes. As long as you have the right setting and shape, your jeweler can make the stone appear larger than it really is.

Details, Details, Details
And now the fun part. This is where you’re going to zero in on a diamond shape, the different types of settings, and band colors. If your lady is someone who thinks diamonds are overrated or wants something a bit more unconventional, think of heading to her favorite jeweler to research your options. You’d be surprised what a jeweler can do when you have a ring as inspiration- don’t focus so much on a brand name!

Get Creative
This is where stalking your sweetie’s Pinterest board will come in handy. Think back to any time she’s mentioned anything about jewelry or rings she’s liked. If you still have no clue, consult her best friend or mom if they’re able to keep a secret. At the end of the day, you know your girl the best and she’s going to love whatever you get her. Now would also be a good time to pull a grand theft jewelry box for her ring size.