There are three key questions almost all my clients have in mind – Will she love it? How much should I spend? and How do I get the best value for my money?
The How Much? question is the one I am invariably asked first. When you don’t know much about what you are buying, working out what it’s sensible to spend is tricky – particularly when we’re talking engagement rings, which most chaps have never bought before.
An engagement ring is loaded with so much emotional significance – an expression of love and commitment, a symbol of how much you understand her, to be worn and treasured for a lifetime, an heirloom for future generations – that it is important to be logical about the less romantic question of cost.
Everyone has a budget, and there is every reason to be very clear and straightforward about that fact.
WHAT IS YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
So, just how much should you spend? The simple answer is: ‘Only spend what you are comfortable with’.
What you spend on your ring has to fit with your values as well as your bank balance. It is something which will last forever, so it is probably worth going for quality over quantity, or at least recognising that you can’t get a silk purse of a ring, for a sow’s ear of cash. Before you go looking, decide how much you want to spend and write it down. Do not allow this figure to creep up, no matter how persuasive the salesperson, or how beautiful the ring unless you are one hundred percent happy about that decision – take 24 hours to reconsider, or set your budget in stone and get the best you can within that limit.
MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION
There is a potent myth around that you should spend one or even two months’ salary on The Ring. This idea is entirely a construct of De Beers’ ad campaigns from the 1930′s onwards. It started out as one month, then was raised to 2 months and in Japan it even became 3 months! This is clearly nonsense - not least because one months’ salary for one man will be very different from that of another.
It is so easy to get sucked into an upward spiral of expense. Sales people in fine jewellery are specially trained in the very subtle art (some say the Black Arts) of getting you to part with a large amount of cash before you even know what you have done. It is easy to be persuaded that in order to get ‘the right ring’ you have to spend more. If you do spend outside your comfort zone, you could end up resenting the purchase rather than basking in the pleasure of her delight, in debt for longer than you wanted or cutting down on other important priorities.
A TYPICAL CLIENT STORY
‘Mark knew his budget and he knew what was expected, but he couldn’t make the two match. He and his girlfriend had a large mortgage and a new baby, so he was clear about how much he wanted to spend. But, being a romantic chap, he also wanted her to have the ring of her dreams. He didn’t know how he could adjust the spec to get a perfect solution to his dilemma. So he ended up going round in circles, trapped between a rock and a hard place - exceed his budget or not get the ring he knew she really wanted.’
There is almost always a solution to the problem of competing priorities, but most shops are only interested in selling you what they have in stock, not in making sure you get exactly what you want, or need, at a price you are happy with.
PAYING FOR IT
This is likely to be a significant expense on anyone’s scale. We are used to paying for larger items on credit card but if you can’t pay it off immediately it’s a very expensive way to finance your purchase. Banks typically charge 16-25 per cent interest pa and you may find a retailer will charge you 2-3 per cent to pay by card, just to cover their costs of offering the service. Some retailers offer their customers financing arrangements, even zero per cent, but credit financing is expensive. That 'deal' will already have been factored in to the price of your ring.
If you are thinking of using credit in whatever form, you need to know how much interest you will pay because that is part of the cost of your ring. If you have a budget of £3000 and you will be charged £500 interest while you pay it off, you only have £2500 left to spend on that ring. And if you are saving for a wedding, a home or a family how will the repayments impact on those plans?
MY THREE KEY TIPS ABOUT SPEND
1. Set your budget realistically so that you are completely comfortable with what you are planning to spend.
2. Find a designer who will help you create your perfect ring and advise where you can most easily make adjustments to get the best value for your money. There are always ways to make it work better.
3. Spend the time you devote to your research also to save, so you can pay upfront as much of the cost as possible.
And check out Why a Bespoke Ring is Better Value than your standard High Street offering.
THE NEXT STEP
Getting the right advice is the key to success. Commissioning a bespoke ring may seem daunting at first, and it may take you out of your comfort zone, but with the right advice, you too can get it right – and she will love it that you did!
Find out more about How to Commission a Bespoke Ring
HELP IF YOU NEED IT
There is a lot of information to digest, more than you would expect, but then it IS one of the biggest single life purchases.
So, if you would like some help translating your ideas into a ring she'll love, you can start the ball rolling with an initial call to me at our Walton on Thames Studio on 01932 918189 or get in touch HERE to arrange a no-obligation chat.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.