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My Wedding Budget Planner is now available – now you can plan your wedding, engagement and honeymoon down to the penny, and yes, there is a section dedicated to comparing prices on your wedding rings!
Cheap wedding rings aren’t always inexpensive wedding rings
When you’re planning a wedding on a budget, you’ll quickly realise that every little thing adds up. You might want to shave a few pounds off of your purchases here and there, but there are some items where buying too cheap can become false economy.
Read on for my tips on saving money on your wedding rings, based on my own experience.
How to save money on wedding rings
1. Compare high street chains to independent sellers
High street jewellers charge a high markup, so if that’s where you want to buy, be prepared to shop around for the best price. Be sure to compare independent jewellers as well, and write down the prices you’ve found elsewhere to see if they can beat the chain stores.
2. Use gift cards and vouchers
Buy jewellery store gift cards, then use the cards to buy your rings.
High street jewellers’ gift cards are popular presents, but not everyone needs a new piece of jewellery, so you can often find good discounts when these cards are sold on.
3. Consider vintage rings
Buy second-hand… but if you’re squeamish, call it vintage. Face it, there are a lot of reasons why a ring can end up being sold on, and it doesn’t pay to be superstitious about it.
Remember that your rings are for you and your loved one, not for proving your lurv to the world… ask yourself if you’re going to end up breaking your budget just to impress your friends and family. If the answer is yes, then back away from the display case!
4. Trade in old jewellery towards the cost
Independent jewellers will often accept a trade-in of jewellery towards payment for a new item, even if it’s just for scrap value. Those old mismatched earrings and broken necklaces might come in handy after all.
How we learned why you should choose your budget wedding rings carefully
We made the mistake of buying hollow rings from a discount retailer (Warren James).
Before we got married, we lived five hours away from each other (I was in London, he was in Lancashire) and so only had weekend visits to shop together. On top of this, we were both keenly aware of our particular pecuniary challenges – that is to say, driving up and down for months was going to leave us a bit skint, even before having to plan a wedding.
After a few fruitless shopping trips thrown at finding our wedding rings, we were getting fed up.
On my turn to visit Lancashire we went around all of Burnley’s jewellery stores, or so it felt. Reeling from some of the prices, we ended up in Warren James, a chain of stores that has the appearance of being on the brink of closure but miraculously never manages it. We were happy to find a pair of rings that we could afford, and parted with our cash, happy to get one more wedding-related chore out of the way.
It didn’t take very long before we realised we’d made a mistake… Lord Balders had managed to dent his ring only weeks after the wedding whilst climbing, but that was only the first of many.
His ring got a battering at work (window cleaning) and whilst he was doing his favourite things – rock climbing, mountain biking, weightlifting, etc. Despite taking it off most of the time it didn’t seem to help. Eventually it became dinged, dented and scratched all over.
My ring suddenly cracked in two
Mine was doing much better, apart from taking on a reddish tint from time to time. That was until I was using a wall stapler at work, and my ring simply cracked. I couldn’t believe it – just from the pressure of pulling a staple gun handle.
The member of staff we spoke to at Warren James was no help – we were out of our warranty period and besides, they advise customers to take their jewellery off at night before going to bed. Surely a wedding ring should be able to stand up to a night’s sleep?
Steer clear of hollow rings
We ended up taking my cracked ring to an independent jeweller’s in Burnley. They were appalled at the condition of both, and amazed that any mugs would have paid as much as we did for a couple of hollow rings.
Yep, because they were hollow, they couldn’t be fixed, and they definitely weren’t worth what we’d paid. I put my cracked ring towards the price of a solid gold secondhand wedding band, which still looks and feels fantastic despite being worn every day.
Lord Balders’ ring has practically collapsed in on itself, and he’s had to stop wearing it as it’s developed sharp edges. We’ll have to buy him another ring soon.
Buy cheap, buy twice: false economy
We’ll have paid twice for our wedding rings, just because of wanting to save money.
The lesson here is that the cheapest option isn’t always best, and isn’t always cheapest in the long run. Sometimes you’ve got to pay for a higher-quality item that will last – and that’s a lesson we’ll never forget!
What about cheap engagement rings?
All of the advice above rings true for engagement rings as well. I personally don’t have an engagement ring – here’s why:
1. I asked him to marry me.
Going out and buying an engagement ring for myself and not for him after that seemed too bizarre, and both of us work with our hands on a daily basis, so extra jewellery didn’t make sense for us.
2. Jewellery doesn’t equate to the love in a relationship.
I had already had a fairly impressive diamond engagement ring when I was first married, and it didn’t make up for the shenanigans that brought that marriage to a sad end.
3. Both of us are too squeamish about conflict diamonds and the diamond industry’s marketing.
Giving diamond engagement rings is a relatively new tradition created by the De Beers company in the late 1930’s.
Almost everything we think of surrounding diamond rings is down to a fantastic marketing campaign – they aren’t even that rare! The value of diamonds has been inflated by restricting supply, and the resale market for diamonds is dire, so they aren’t a sound investment either.
Really, we couldn’t think of a single good reason to buy a diamond engagement ring.
However, we’re happy in our non-traditional ways and we know that most people feel very differently, so whatever you choose to do, be happy with it, and make sure you get good value for your money!
Over to you…
What are your tips for getting good value on wedding and engagement rings?