I lost my wedding band, and I don’t care.

wedding ring

Abstract:

Spending a lot of money on nice wedding and engagement rings might be the right decision for some people, but don’t be fooled.  Spending unnecessarily on expensive wedding rings is a bad financial decision and a really inefficient way to prove your love.  Save up to $8,000 over 10 years by simply buying less-expensive jewelry.

Intro:

I truly did lose my wedding band a few months ago, and no I wasn’t travelling on business or out at the club.  I was swimming in the ocean after playing some beach ultimate and it fell off, unbeknownst to me.

Did I panic and curse? No? I was actually pretty nonplussed… and that’s because I bought my wedding band for $20 on Amazon.com.  It was tungsten carbide and easily replaceable.  This was a point of pride for me leading up to the wedding… getting a good deal on my wedding band, and losing it on the beach made me feel vindicated about a decision that probably raised a few eyebrows or at least some “what can you do” shakes of the head.

Looking back, I just wish I had gone further and not worried so much about getting my bride-to-be fancy wedding and engagement rings either.  Luckily she hasn’t lost hers, but we do actually plan to resell them and buy something that better fits our personalities and perspective on life.  The plan is to resell the old expensive ring and buy an authentic native-made turquoise ring at some later point in our lives, possibly on an upcoming road trip (before you jump to conclusions about it, this was actually my wife’s idea 🙂 ).

I’m not suggesting that expensive diamond rings are bad (not going to touch the blood diamond stuff), just that they aren’t the right fit for us looking back.  In fact, I really enjoy not having a lot of things that I’m worried about losing in life.  I don’t want to have to take insurance out on my jewelry; I’d rather just have less expensive flash.  Same with computers, tv’s etc.  The stuff worth worrying about losing in my life are people, relationships, and experiences, not things (although there’s nothing wrong with say, being a coin collecting fanatic, and houses and cars are good exceptions to this rule). It’s all part of the less is more philosophy for me.

But anyway, we want to sell the ring.  I wish that I hadn’t felt so pressured to buy a specific type of ring as a bachelor, but there actually is some implicit pressure to get a big sparkly diamond.  Some of it is about showing everyone how much you love your soon to be fiancé, which is a dumb way to show it, and some of it is probably just a little bit of trying to fit in and/or keep up with the Joneses.

So today I want to do an ROI looking at how much the average couple would save by buying non-traditional wedding and engagement rings on Amazon.com instead of a place like Blue Nile.

The numbers:

According to the New York Times, the average couple spends about $5,500 on wedding and engagement rings:

  • $4,000 for engagement ring
  • $1,000 for bride’s wedding band
  • $500 for groom’s wedding band
diamond

the expensive sh*t (just kidding, this is actually cubic zirconia)

Looking around on Amazon.com, I get the following prices for alternative or non-traditional wedding jewelry:

silver ring

the cheap sh*t (not exactly the style we’re going for, but, whatever)

So really this ROI compares two one-time expense scenarios and adds in a little growth, essentially $5,500 minus $40, with the savings invested.  Here is what that looks like after 10 years:

  • 10-Year NPV: $8,082
  • 10-Year ROI: 20,205%
  • 10-Year Payback: 0.0 years
roi - cheaper wedding jewelry

click for link to live spreadsheet

chart - cheaper wedding jewelry

It is worth noting that since starting this blog, I have never had an ROI that is this high… over 20,000% return on investment!

Think about all the things you could do with that money as newly or soon-to-be-weds…  I’ve assumed you’ve invested the $5,450 savings, but you could use it to pay for a wedding venue or a honeymoon.  It could be a nice start to a down payment on your first house.

Anyway, like Bonnie Raitt says, give the people something to talk about… buy some cheap costume jewelry instead of a fancy wedding ring and let the love speak for itself 😉

(and yes, that is an allusion to a sort of crappy pop-country song.  not to discount Bonnie Raitt…. her song, I can’t make you love me, is a fantastic composition.  I think she also has some good stuff with John Prine.)

*PS my wife says $20 for an authentic native-made turquoise ring isn’t realistic.  Either way, even at $150, it is still radically cheaper than a traditional engagement ring.

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Comments

  1. The funny part is my wife doesn’t even wear her engagement ring any more ($7k) because it scratches our babies 🙂 So for the last 2-3 years it’s been on her shelf somewhere… I’m interested to see if she puts it back on once they’ve grown, and if not will sneakily shoot this post over to her, haha… and then kill the insurance on it!

  2. marvin mcdude says:

    I really dig your perspective here: “In fact, I really enjoy not having a lot of things that I’m worried about losing in life. I don’t want to have to take insurance out on my jewelry; I’d rather just have less expensive flash. Same with computers, tv’s etc. The stuff worth worrying about losing in my life are people, relationships, and experiences, not things…”

    Went through Blue Nile about 5 years ago and spent about 5K. At the time, though, I felt like a genius because I believe you get pretty good value as compared to what’s offered at retail jewelers.

    • Yeah, I had similar feelings with my Blue Nile purchase, but I was pretty surprised browsing it during article research to see that they now sell tungsten carbide rings for like $300, versus $20 on Amazon. I’m sure those are high-margin items, but makes you wonder how much cushion is built into the diamonds and rings as well.

      Thanks also for the props on the low-(retail)value lifestyle. I haven’t achieved that until recently, but I feel less vulnerable and more satisfied knowing that if somebody robbed my house, it would suck, but I could bounce back pretty quickly. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Having the house burn down, on the other hand, would be devastating still.

      Honestly, I was sort of inspired by my hippie neighbor who leaves the door to his house unlocked all the time and keeps a bunch of eclectic stuff around, but stuff that probably wouldn’t interest too many burglars anyway. It seemed pretty liberating to me, plus I like the idea of being a less active participant, or at least, less compliant participant, in run of the mill consumer culture.

  3. I completely agree with your analysis here. Mr. Frugalwoods has a $50 titanium wedding band, which we’d both be fine with him losing (let’s be honest, he’s likely to at some point). And, we didn’t engrave my engagement ring or wedding band in case we want to sell them in the future. People are appalled when I mention this, so I’m thrilled to hear I’m not the only one considering it! My rings were 85% off at a jewelry store liquidation sale, but still…. wouldn’t be opposed to selling them.

    • Nice! I’m glad we’re not the only “crazy” ones 🙂

      PS. Nice sodastream hack. I’m going to have to link to that on my seltzer post.

      Thanks for the visit.

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