Thanks in advance to any advice/input.
My boyfriend and I have recently had "the marriage talk" - and it's unofficial, but I guess we're "engaged" in a way.
I told him I do not consider us official engaged, "lets tell family and friends" stage until he gets an engagement ring for me and gets on one knee and proposes.
Now we're both sort of engagement ring shopping. In order for him to maintain some bit of manhood and element of surprise, he insists that he'll pick the ring out, but he is looking for input from me on what I like/don't like.
Which leads me to my question -
How much should he spend on an engagement ring? I am conflicted on what sort of rings to suggest because I tend to be frugal right now because I don't "love" jewelry, and I don't want to be over the top on this. However, if I insist on the cheaper side will I regret it 20-30 years from now when we both have more than enough funds? I don't even know what the "average" range for ring shopping is for low-middle incomes. I just don't want to lead him down a path of a too cheap ring, or too expensive. He has said multiple times that he wants me to get something I like - but $1,000 something I like, or $4,000 something I like are different things.
Some basic stats:
Me - 25. $1,800/mo take home. PhD student in Microbiology for 2.5 more years.
~36k in undergrad student loans
~6k in retirement
Expect to make $4-7/mo take home in the future
Him - 30. $4,000/mo take home software engineer.
Home mortgage (owes like ~110k on a $130k home), only debt
~85k in retirement
~25k in emergency savings
Thank you for taking the time to read!
Isn't the conventional wisdom 3x tops of your (well, his) monthly take home pay? OP, a ring is a ring is a ring is a ring. It's just a piece of metal usually with a rock in it, or at least that's how I felt. Since you're the recipient, give him a affordable budget and give him your blessings. That way there's no friction between you two that he blew through the budget or can't afford this or that necessity because of a ring. And if you feel you have a strong preference to the style, then indicate that too. IMO, let him pick it out.
DW (to be at that time) and I were broke college students. I went in the mall with DW on her birthday and $100 in my pocket and I told her we'd splurge on whatever she wanted. She went straight to the jewelry store. My heart sank. She pointed at a ring and said she wanted that one. The one she chose was the cheapest engagement ring in the store at $300. It was stupid to do this, but I did finance all $300 and bought the ring and paid some out of cash for the taxes on it. To DW it was only a ring, but it symbolized an engagement which was priceless. She said she would have felt the same if it were $300 or $30,000. When we left the mall she asked me to get on one knee in the parking lot to make it official.
Today that ring is collecting dust in the jewelry box. We saved up to the wedding and had his and her rings custom carved by a goldsmith and later replaced those with a simple gold band for myself and a platinum and 7-diamond band for her that had been in the family. In other words, you can always upgrade later if you wanted to. What you get now doesn't have to be on your finger 10-20-30 yrs from now.
Thanks for your input. I have discussed this topic extensively with the BF and we'll likely get something 2-4k in price custom made from a jeweler in Seattle. The BF suggested that and I like the idea of having something original - and it would be like a heirloom since none exist in either of our families right now. A custom piece allows us to pick something I could easily wear in a profession where I am constantly wearing latex or nitrile gloves.
Interestingly, this ring will probabaly be similar or more expensive than the actual 20 guest wbut whatever whatever. He wants to get me something I will want to wear all the time. Bling bling! The only piece of fine jewelry I'll ever own.
Edited for a couple typos.
I got my wife an engagement ring following her suggestions for around $1500 at Jared: 14k white gold and a 1/2 carat princess cut diamond. She was insistent that I not spend a ridiculous amount on it, because the money would be better spent on a house instead. The ring looks more expensive than it was, though. When we bring it in for cleaning, the salespeople are always amazed at the quality for the price. I bought it during the depths of the financial crisis before the price of gold exploded, so I got a great deal.
We didn't officially do a ring, although DH had bought me a ring with a beautiful blue stone in it. (I can't remember what it was called - a blue opal?) I wore it some..Not anymore. I do too much with my hands and a ring interfere with gardening, cooking, massage, etc. I love the ring and still have it. I wear it for special occasions.
We didn't do a wedding ring. By then, we already knew money was super tight and neither one of us was set on a ring. And I don't have to worry about loosing a ring or a stone.
Having a ring or not having a ring doesn't change how we feel about each other.
Here's my ring story...I had a diamond cocktail ring from my ex that I took to a jeweler who worked with my husband to create a new ring adding a 3/4 ct pear-shaped diamond. Because I already had the gold and the smaller diamonds, it didn't cost hubby that much (he wouldn't tell me how much, but clearly didn't break his bank).
FF 15 years, I wake up to find the big diamond gone. Missing. Empty prongs. I searched EVERYWHERE. I cried. Never did find that sucker (I'd worked the night before, run all kinds of errands, had no clue when it went missing). Of course, we never insured the thing and I certainly didn't have money lying around at the time, so I went to a local jeweler and had a pear CZ put in its place for $75, setting and all. Even a little larger Cannot tell the difference AT ALL and I love having the larger stone. I know some people are diamond purists, but never again would I spend that kind of money on something that I could lose. Lesson learned.
When I asked my then gf to marry me I just kinda figured out what she liked and bought her a ring. I did not spend a fortune on it and she has never asked how much I spent on it . We are just happy to be together. And she was thrilled that I finally put a ring on it lol.
Ring Size: Are you looking at size or quality?
Watch out on the diamond thing. A big diamond does not mean quality. Also, just because he pays $1000 or $5000; the diamond could have poor quality. I say go for Plantinum over gold or silver along with a quality stone.
Also, Watch the lights in the show case; they make the stone sparkle which can fool the eye.
Besides, I rather have a $1500 ring of quality and if he plans to spend more; I say get a new wardobe in place of that extra money he may spend. Either way, I hear 3 times his income...