Buying the Engagement Ring Part 1: Justification
Before we got engaged a few weeks ago, my fiancee and I had been dating for almost 4 years. Future plans for us had been discussed many times over the course of our relationship, but our future was somewhat on hold given the career program I was in and the risk for several temporary assignments over the last 2 years.
At the beginning of this year I knew it was time to step up to the plate. Being the "cheap ass" or as I like to classify myself "the more conservative shopper", I had a really tough time with the decision to buy an engagement ring.
I went through a range of emotions in my thought process in deciding to make the purchase. I read stories of people spending as little as $300 to well over $10,000 on engagement rings. I went browsing with my girlfriend many times and cringe at each store visit because her eyes grew wider and wider, her expectations seemed to be getting bigger and bigger.
I realized this wasn't a purchase to be a "cheap ass" on and I wanted to do it right. However, I had this nagging voice in my head that kept reminding me of what this new commitment would bring on - a spouse whose expenses would now be shared, raising a family, a bigger house, family vacations, etc, etc. I toiled with this decision, I wanted to do it right, but I wanted to make sure we weren't going to be paying for this brief moment the rest of our lives.
Along the way I also had to justify to myself why I was going to spend this kind of money on a small piece of jewelry. I browsed through forums that had all kind of thoughts from the extremely practical "spend just a little (<$750) and if she loved you then she will be happy with anything because she knows you are thinking of your future together" to the opposite extreme "its best to get a much bigger [diamond] so you don't have to upgrade later in life".
In the end, one message resonated the best for me. I needed to look at this purchase as a sign of my commitment to our relationship. The sacrifice I endure by making a purchase that I can't justify is a way to show my fiancee that I am willing sacrifice as a sign of my commitment to her.
After receiving input about what my girlfriend liked, I ultimately decided my price range was $5,000 to $6,000. While it sickened my practical side at times to think of what practical things this money could provide - a beautiful international vacation, part of a down payment on a family home, a sizable retirement contribution, or a emergency fund for the future, I knew that this could buy a beautiful ring that my fiancee would treasure and would always be a symbol of my commitment to her.
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