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.
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.
According to the New York Times, the average couple spends about $5,500 on wedding and engagement rings:
Looking around on Amazon.com, I get the following prices for alternative or non-traditional wedding jewelry:
- $20 for groom band (titanium / tungsten carbide / stainless steel)
- $20 for turquoise ring
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:
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.