For a young adult male between the age of 25 and 40, buying an engagement ring likely will be one of the biggest purchases he will have made. In fact, couples are spending spending upwards of S$8,000 on their engagement rings, according to a survey conducted by XO Group. But, will a branded diamond ring really make her happier than a similar or better ring from a jeweller? Here, we discuss some ways to make decisions around this big purchase to get the best value for your dollars.
Find a Style She Likes
First, you can go visit a few brand stores with your significant other to find a ring that she likes. Given the importance of individual preference when it comes to engagement rings, now it's very common for couples to shop for engagement rings together. In fact, survey shows that 70% of women were involved in the shopping process and had some involvement in the purchase. Engagement rings are a very emotional heirloom for women, and it's better to find something she likes than to risk splurging and "surprising" her negatively by presenting something she's not crazy about.
Openly Discuss Your Budget with Your Partner
You might have heard that what you spend on an engagement ring should cost 1 month's salary to 3 month's salary. But, this doesn't have to be true. Plus, it's a very wide range that doesn't really help men decide what level of spending is truly appropriate for this special occasion. Instead of struggling with this question by yourself, you should actually discuss your budget more openly with your prospective partner. In fact, survey indicates that women prefer to spend less on engagement rings than men. Open discussion could help you to reach a decision that both people can be happy about, emotionally and financially.
Find a Quality Rock That Satisfies the 4 C's
Last but not least, when it comes to diamonds, bigger isn't always better. Diamond shopping has a rule called "the 4 C's" that refer to color, clarity, cut and carat, which you can easily learn more about with a couple Google searches. Essentially, these qualities can influence a rock's price such that one rock could cost 2-3x more than another of the same carat. Not only that, women first prioritize cut and shape of the stone, then ring style and setting and then the quality of the stone. Therefore, it's not wise to go for the maximum carat your budget can buy. Instead, you can find out what carat she wants and try to shop around to find the best cut, color and clarity within your budget.
Earn Miles to Pay for Your Honeymoon
Getting married is one of the most expensive things we'll ever do. Therefore, it is also one of the "best" opportunities for us to earn credit card rewards. Buying an engagement ring is no exception to this. In fact, by using a credit card for miles, you could earn enough rewards to partially pay for your honeymoon. For example, a card like Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card, you could earn about 11,200 miles on your S$8,000 ring purchase. Given that most one-way economy class tickets cost 7,500 to 25,000 miles to redeem (Saver Awards), this is a rather significant amount that could help you afford an even better honeymoon. (See: 7 ways to make your honeymoon extra special) In fact, if you earn miles on all your wedding expenditures, you could probably earn 50,000 miles or more, which could even pay for two people's round-trip air tickets in some cases.
A version of this article originally appeared on Value Penguin Singapore. Additional reporting: Michelle Lee