Mar 19 2008

Reader question: Saving money on wedding rings

A question from a reader:

My question is if you could recommend frugal places or tips regarding ring buying. My fiancé and I both want simple white gold or platinum (him only) bands with no diamonds, no engraving. Thanks!

Thanks for the question!

I think my advice will be limited, so I really hope other readers will add their input.

Since you want something simple, I think you’ll easily be able to find something that suits you without costing a fortune.

Before you even set foot into a jewelry store, decide how much money you are comfortable spending on your wedding bands. If it’s $300 (or whatever) total, don’t let yourself exceed that.

Also, don’t forget to factor in sales tax. If you spent $300, that’s $21in sales tax at 7 percent, and $18 at 6 percent, for example.

I would suggest that both of you go to a brick & mortar jewelry store so that you and your fiance can determine your correct ring size. That should save resizing it in the future, hopefully.

And, if your fiance is anything like my husband, his wedding band is the first ring he’s ever worn. It’s a good idea for him (and you) to try on styles you like to see how it looks with your skintone, to make sure the size of the ring compared to the size of your hand looks good, and to make sure it’s comfortable.

At first, Shane was leaning toward a white gold ring, but changed his mind and decided he preferred yellow gold once he saw how it looked on him.

As for me, I’m a white gold-only gal.

Anyways…

Try reputable online retailers
. GLBL guy had fantastic success with buying an engagement-style ring on Amazon.com.

Once you have had a chance to examine some rings up close, you can take your business online, if you prefer.

If you’re dead-set on buying rings in person, at least be sure to shop all of the fine jewelry retailers in your mall (or malls). Expect an extremely high markup on prices.

If you find something that’s absolutely perfect, ask to make a deal (even if it’s within your price range). Most jewelry store workers (I think) work on commission. As such, they probably do have some wiggle room on the price, though most people don’t ask.

You can see if they’ll give you X percent off if you buy both of the rings from him (let the sales clerk first name the percent off–it might be higher than you thought).

If that doesn’t work, ask if it will be going on sale soon. Then, come back when the ring is on sale, if you choose.

If there’s still no deal, and it’s a price higher than you’re willing to pay, try this: "I like this ring, but I’m only willing to spend $X.xx on it. Unless you can meet that price, I’m going to have to shop elsewhere."

If they can’t offer you a better deal, then walk away.

You can always come back if you really can’t find a better deal somewhere else, but chances are they are going to want to make a sale right then.

Avoid warranties or service plans, unless you can talk them into throwing it in for free. You probably won’t need any expensive service on a wedding band, and if you do, the out-of-pocket expense is usually less than the service plan anyway.

A wedding band doesn’t have to cost a lot, and it doesn’t have to be the most flashy thing you’ve ever seen. After all, it’s what the wedding band represents that matters.

Your turn, readers! What advice can you share?


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Posted under Uncategorized | 14 Comments »


14 Responses to “Reader question: Saving money on wedding rings”

  1. Your advice seems pretty sound. One thing to ask the reader is where she’s from. Here in NYC there are a load of jewelry stores in two districts here. That gives a lot of choice and price comparison. I cheated since my great-uncle runs a place here. Still, speak to friends and family and see if anyone knows a good reliable jeweler. A friend of the family would be treated better than a walk-in customer. Also, many places may give a better price if you pay in cash.

  2. A friend used to work in a pawn shop and was always amazed at the great rings they would get and at good prices.

  3. Having plain taste is a good place to start. If you find a jeweler to work with beforehand, consider asking if you can provide a ring to be resized or altered. Then look at pawn shops and such for suitable rings.

    Some people specialize in making new jewelry out of old materials, so it’s worth a shot.

  4. When dh and I were planning our wedding, and talking about ways to save, my grandparents offered me their first set of wedding rings as a gift. She had gotten a more expensive and fancier ring set after several years of marriage to my grandfather, so they gave dh and me their simple matching gold bands. We just paid for the engraving and sizing. We had our grandparents initials, followed by our initials engraved into the bands. I wouldn’t trade mine for the most expensive set in the world.

  5. If you’re in the market for a ring with a diamond(s), then I highly recommend Shane Co. if it’s in your area. Their salespeople don’t work on commission, and they were eager to work within our budget. They sell the diamond separately from the band, so I think overall it’s cheaper. They also have free maintenance for life. My mom has 8 small diamonds on her wedding band, and recently she lost one of them and they replaced it for free, even though it had been 25 years since she bought the ring there. :-) I would avoid jewelry stores in malls – when we were ring and wedding band shopping, we found those types of stores consistently higher, and the people were more pushy and less helpful.

  6. I would recommend going with white gold for both of you rather than platinum–particularly for a man. Both my rings are platinum and I’ve always wished they were white gold! Platinum costs way more (it did at least when I got mine) AND it gets dinged and worn down so easily. My engagement ring had to be repaired after I wore it for only two or three years! It wore all the way through on the back. My diamond is still beautiful but the rings look dull. Since men tend to do more work with their hands, the ring could get beaten up rather quickly. Plus, you are talking about a pretty large hunk of platinum for a chunky masculine ring.

  7. Since you’re looking for something similar, I strongly suggest you shop somewhere other than a jewelry store.
    Amazon has tons of choices. My brother and his wife bought their wedding bands at Walmart. I bought an engagement ring on EBay a few years ago…didn’t end up marrying my then-fiance, but have never regretted the purchase. Looks like you should be able to get a plain wedding band for $50-100 each. Good luck, and congratulations!

  8. I just wanted to toss in my two cents on this one! My fiance and I bought our rings from an online wholesaler. The site we went with was http://www.iweddingband.com, but there are many sites like this on the Internet … just look for the online Better Business Bureau logo to confirm that the site is a reputable business. I also researched the companies by Googling their names to find out what other buyers’ experiences were.

    The rings we wanted were about $200-$250 in stores, but we paid half that for the white gold bands we bought AND they engraved them for free. I really recommend going this route if you want something simple. We really just wanted plain bands, and we saw no reason to pay more for them.

    My only suggestion if you go this route is to shop around in a brick and mortar store a little first not only to figure out what you want and see it on your hand, but also to have them size your ring fingers. Knowing your size before you order online will save you the money and trouble of having them resized later. Good luck!

  9. P.S. Shipping was free, too … and stupid fast! They arrived about a week and a half after we ordered them!

  10. Whoops … super, not stupid. :)

  11. If looking for something plain, try Wal-Mart or one of the warehouse stores. Both MIL and SIL have wedding rings from those stores and you’d never know – they look beautiful.

  12. If you know anyone who travels it could be a big help. My Mom used to travel to Dubai on business and she got my engagement ring and our wedding rings there.

    My engagement ring cost US$700 and was valued for $5000 back in the states. Our wedding rings were $300 between us and were valued at $800 each.

    We gave her pictures of what we wanted and they were able to custom make them for us. It’s definitely worth looking at. Anywhere in the Middle East, some places in the Caribbean and Belgium are all good places to get fine jewellery at a low cost.

  13. My husband has purchased several rings from eweddingbands.com – he gets great deals and an excellent selection.

    Also, considering a wedding ring is something you will wear everyday, get a ring that you really, really like, even if it costs a little more. I splurged a little on mine, but I’m glad I did since I do use it everyday.

  14. Not to disagree with you Kacie, but i am a little. i would recommend getting the warranty. i was painting with my husband a couple months ago, and i was closing a ladder and it closed on my wedding ring. Snapped it right in half. (i’m glad the ring was there to save my finger!) Anyway, i just brought it in, and because i had the warranty, they fixed it for free and i had it back in a week. Anyway, it was extremely useful already. Not sure how much my husband paid for the warranty, but man, i’m so glad we had it instead of having to pay however many hundreds of dollars it would have been to repair it.
    My mom also lost a diamond out of her engagement ring a couple years ago, took it back to the place that had taken over the store where my dad bought it for her 35 years ago, and they replaced it and it looks like new.
    Bad things can happen, and it’s not like it’s a piece of electronics that will only last 2 years. You will hopefully wear it your whole lifetime, so having a bit of insurance on it is good.
    The only other thing that might be better than having the warranty on it is fixing the ring into your home insurance. i think you can do that.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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