How we saved 2000 on engagement ring- NavigatingAdulthood

How We Saved Over $2,000 On My Engagement Ring

I know a recent blog post was also wedding/marriage related, but I promise that this blog isn’t going to turn into a wedding blog. I know that engagement rings are a VERY touchy subject, so I just want to throw out a disclaimer that this post is not to brag about my engagement ring or to passive-aggressively complain about my ring or brag about how much money Mr. NavigatingAdulthood makes. I’m happy with my ring, and I just wanted to share some advice on how you can save thousands on your engagement ring.

Conversations We Had Before We Got Engaged

Like I mentioned before, engagement rings are a touchy subject and there’s honestly no right or wrong answer. If your biggest dream in life is to own a 4 carat ring from Tiffany’s, good for you! If you think that spending over $100 on a ring is too much, that’s fine too. Just make sure that you and your significant other are on the same page. Remember that this is a big purchase for your significant other to make, so you should have some conversations about budget, ring style, what you’re looking for, etc.

Personally, here’s what I was looking for:

  • Low setting: I wanted a low setting so the ring wasn’t 3 inches above my finger. I’m kind of clumsy, so I wanted to minimize the likelihood that I could knock out the very expensive rock
  • Halo: Halos make the center stone look bigger and I’m all for getting your money’s worth
  • Not spend a lot of money: It’s going to sit on my finger- I just couldn’t stomach the thought of having a ring that was almost as much as an actual car sit on my finger.
  • Don’t care if it’s a moissanite or a diamond for the center stone: All I really wanted was a clear stone. Personally, I was ok with a lab-made stone like a moissanite because they’re even shinier than diamonds and they’re at a lower cost point too!

What Mr. NavigatingAdulthood was looking for:

  • Making me happy:  His top priority during this whole engagement ring process was making sure that I was happy. If I had my heart set on an expensive ring, I know he would have tried to make it happen. Whether it was putting off the engagement so he could save more, or compromising on a less-expensive option, I’m sure that we would have worked something out.
  • Diamond as the center stone: Mr. NA used to be an astrophysicist, and he was pretty set on getting a diamond. Here is his very geeky reasoning behind why he wanted a diamond:

Formation of diamonds happens at only a very small window of temperature and pressure. Too hot, you get something else. Too much pressure, you get something else else. Diamonds are only formed in two places on Earth: 1) In large meteor impacts, like the one that killed the dinosaurs, but those are TINY, 2) in the upper mantle. The mantle is WAY under ground, so the only way we get THOSE diamonds, is when they’re brought to the surface by magma, through volcanoes. SO, they’re pretty rare on Earth.

Don’t worry, if you’re thinking he’s a huge nerd, it’s totally cool- I think so too. 

Engagement Ring Budget

The Office 3 Years Salary Engagement Ring
Image via Reddit

^This image is from one of my favorite episodes of The Office.

So when we first had conversations around budget, Mr. NavigatingAdulthood thought that he had to spend 3 months salary, which worked out to being between $15,000-$30,000. I’m sure that for some people, that might be a modest number, but for me, that was a little excessive and unnecessary. I mean, I bought my 2014 Toyota Camry for less than $20,000 and that’s a lot bigger than an engagement ring. 

At the time, Mr. NA was trying to pay off his debt and student loans. I was really touched that he wanted to spend so much on a ring, and I’ll be honest, I love me some sparkle. However, at the end of the day, I felt that it was just too much. It was more important to me that Mr. NA be debt free than spoiling me with a sparkly rock.

After a lot of discussion and negotiation, we mutually decided on a budget of $6,000. It was a happy compromise- Mr. NA didn’t feel that it made him look cheap and it wasn’t so expensive that I would have a heart attack every time I looked at it.

Shopping for the engagement ring

I’m going to be honest- growing up in an Asian immigrant household, Costco was a weekly weekend trip. So let’s just say that I was very aware of they sold engagement rings. Add this to the fact that I love a good bargain, and I was pretty much set on a Costco engagement ring. On the other hand, Mr. NA was not sure that he wanted to buy an everlasting token of his love from the same place that we bought $5 rotisserie chickens.

We started off our ring buying at Tiffany’s, where it quickly became clear that their rings are expensive. We went to a few other retailers like Zales and Kay Jewelers, but weren’t super impressed with their selection. Finally, on one of our Costco trips to pick up groceries, Mr. NA caved and we looked at the engagement ring selection.

We were floored by how much more ring we could get for the dollar. The carat sizes were slightly larger and the ring styles were very similar to those at other big retailers.

In the end, Mr. NavigatingAdulthood surprised me with the ring I fell in love with on our first Costco trip for and it was comfortably under our $6,000 budget. When we got it appraised for insurance, it actually appraised for $2,200 more than what he paid for. A similar ring from Tiffany’s cost more than 30% more, with a smaller center diamond!

And here’s my engagement ring- I have tiny fingers [my ring size is 3.75]

How we saved 2000 on engagement ring- NavigatingAdulthood

Still don’t believe the magic of Costco? Take a look at Ring A and Ring B, which are similar to my actual engagement ring, and pick which one is from Tiffany’s and which one is from Costco.

The Real Test

Engagement ring shopping on a budget | I wanted to share some advice on how you can save thousands on your engagement ring by shopping at Costco. We saved over $2,000 dollars!

Ring A is from Tiffany’s: The price starts at $6,900 for a 0.5 carat center diamond.

Ring B is from Costco: The price is $3,700 and you get a slightly larger center diamond [0.75 carats].

Isn’t it insane how the two rings look so similar but the price point is so vastly different?


There are so many options when it comes to engagement rings- my biggest advice is sit down and have an honest conversation about what the two of you are looking for. I promise that this DOES NOT detract away from a super-romantic proposal [if that’s what you’re looking for]. If you don’t want a ring because you don’t wear much jewelry, you should discuss it. If you want a 4 carat Tiffany engagement ring [or a ring that looks similar], you should talk about it. If you’re looking for a diamond engagement ring, I hope I’ve convinced you that Costco is a great place to look!

One of my favorite personal finance bloggers Frugal Asian Finance also wrote about how she saved money on her engagement ring by shopping at Costco. It’s a great read!

Did you guess correctly? What are your thoughts on engagement rings? Are you on Team Diamond like Mr. NA? 


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  1. That ring is major. And I’m so glad you guys compromised and the Mr. DID NOT spend the 3 month’s salary! As you know, my husband was pretty chill so he was basically going to do whatever I wanted. At first he was willing to spend more but I brought the budget down to what I thought was reasonable.

    Also, love The Office reference. Jim Halpert is pretty much the cutest guy ever.
    The Luxe Strategist recently posted…I Don’t Have an Engagement Ring and I’m Not a LoserMy Profile

    1. I’m so glad that we were able to talk about the ring budget- I would have been very uncomfortable with a ring that expensive! I would be so scared of ruining it that I would likely never wear it out of the apartment, haha. And I love The Office- that episode is seriously one of my favorites, especially with the “soup snakes” reference. Thanks for reading!

  2. I remember when my wife and I felt like bosses when we saved $1K by buying her engagement ring in Hong Kong. Of course, when it came to our actual wedding, we spent $30K. If we could do it all over again, we would totally just get married at City Hall.

  3. Nice ring at a great price. Nice!
    I’d have to say that I’m super lucky in that regard. Mrs. RB40 does not like jewelry and I got her a little ring. We just graduated then so a cheap ring was just fine. We really did not have any money. It’s been over 20 years since I gave her that ring. It is sitting in the safe with our wedding rings because we don’t like wearing them. 🙂

  4. I’ve only had 2 friends get married, but I think both told their now hubbies they needed to spend at least 10k on a ring, which I always thought was way too much for a piece of jewelry, but they did figure out how to get the most bang for their buck when they bought it! I just find it crazy in general that 10k is probably at the LOW end!!

    It was so amazing you found a great deal at Costo! LOL I’m pretty sure my mom asked my dad to buy her jewelry from Costco too! Seriously my parents had an obsession with that place 😛
    Jing recently posted…Obvious Finance Facts We Take For GrantedMy Profile

    1. Hi Jing! To be fair, I feel like many DINK couples, particularly where both people earn relatively high salaries, spend around or at least 10k on a ring. [Mind you, my frame of reference is other software engineer couples since Mr. NA is also a software engineer]. And you’re right- I still can’t grasp how a 2 carat diamond can range from 7k to 20k. Madness I tell you.

      I might have a slight addiction to Costco- like there was a point in time were 30% of my closet consisted of Costco finds, haha. And to be fair, they DO have great jewelry! Yay for savings!!
      Ying NavigatingAdulthood recently posted…How We Saved Over $2,000 On My Engagement RingMy Profile

  5. I’ve been looking into moissanite too because I honestly can’t tell the difference between that and a diamond, plus they are a lot less expensive! I’m all for saving money on the ring and being able to save up for a house or the wedding 🙂

    1. Hi Kristen, thanks for reading! And I’m 100% with you- I think it’s all about what you value. For me, buying a house sooner is something I value more over a super expensive ring. Confession: I might occasionally look at moissanite rings online- they’re just so stunning!

  6. I loved this write up!!!! You’re ring size is tiny – I’m a fat 4.25 with my sausage fingers! :O

    I didn’t know that tibit about the creation of diamonds. That’s not geeky at all! I learned something new that’s super interesting. I’m still team lab made all the way though. Like you mentioned they’re at a lower price point and they shine brighter.

    “the same place that we bought $5 rotisserie chickens.”
    I literally laughed out loud at this. Man Costco has everything! Hahaha 😂
    Lily @ The Frugal Gene recently posted…Thrifty Amazon Haul – Car-Free & Gettin’ My Frugal On {Volume #001}My Profile

    1. LOL, Lily, you do not have fat sausage fingers! Size 6 is actually the average ring size so you’re well below that. Moissanites still have a special place in my frugal heart- so much sparkle for less $$!

      And yes, for the longest time, Mr. NA couldn’t get over the stigma of Costco, but I’m glad he came around! Costco literally sells everything from diapers to coffins…truly taking care of you for a lifetime.

    1. It’s so crazy to think about the price when you’re looking at the rings because the stones are so small for the price you’re paying! [Well, in comparison to other much larger things you can buy for that price, haha]

  7. This are great tips! I ended up inheriting my engagement ring from my gran, but before we knew that my husband and I went and looked at rings and it was fun, but I think it really stressed him out lol. And 3.75 is a TINY finger size! Holy crap!

      1. Hi Lance, thanks for reading! I’m with you- I know that there are many factors that go into a diamond. But my highly untrained eye can’t tell the difference between two diamonds that are very different in price. Ultimately, I think that as long as both people are happy and the sentiment is there, that’s what’s really important.

  8. Great post! For my engagement ring and wedding bands, my husband and I used a family jeweler local to town. I actually nannied for them since their son was 6 months old. My husband was able to design a custom engagement ring and paid only what it cost to get the materials to make. It appraised for almost double and it was a great decision. Budget was important, but I also knew what I wanted and knew that I would not want another “new” ring in 5-10 years.

    xo, L
    Leanna Carson recently posted…10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About MeMy Profile

  9. We never discussed price. I still have no clue how much my ring costs & I kind of like it that way! But, we did go ring shopping twice. He felt it was important to know a few types I liked and a few I absolutely hated. Also, what you think you like might not look good on you! It is definitely a personal choice with what you should talk about. But, I don’t recommend leaving it all to the man!! 🙂
    Kait recently posted…Why You Should Actively Practice Self Care While On Vacation & 7 Tips to Use on Your Next Trip!My Profile

    1. Haha, I kind of know what you mean- sometimes I feel bad that he spent that much on a rock.

      For us, we were both aggressively trying to pay down debt at the time and we were trying to avoid getting heavily back into debt, so we made the decision to discuss anything and everything finance-related.

      Thanks for reading!

  10. I actually don’t have an engagement ring. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry so even if I had one, I would probably never wear it. I got married when I was 22 and while our financial situation is extremely different now, I look at my $20 wedding band and just think, “we started with very little and we’ve grown a beautiful life together.” Like you said, having an expensive ring might be a goal for some people but it’s not even something I think about it. I love how you found an amazing deal, though! People need to know they have options and not that they *have* to have a certain thing.

    1. That’s such a sweet story- it’s beautiful that your ring symbolizes the journey that you and your significant other have gone through.

      I got Mr. NavigatingAdulthood a plain gold wedding band and he wears his $25 silicone ring 99% of the time, haha. I feel like the “You don’t wear any jewelry- will you actually wear this wedding band I’m buying you?” conversation would have been good to have.

      And totally agree- I think that people definitely need to know that they have options when it comes to engagement rings. There’s SO many options out there and people shouldn’t pay X amount for something just because they feel like they “have” to have it.
      Ying NavigatingAdulthood recently posted…How We Saved Over $2,000 On My Engagement RingMy Profile

  11. I think what’s most important is that you love the ring and feel comfortable with the price you pay for it. I don’t really understand who decided the 3 months salary thing. Like don’t you have to eat for 3 months?! hahah. Your ring is seriously gorgeous and I love that it’s something that you felt was the best choice financially and practically.
    Samantha @ The Life You Love Blog recently posted…7 Positive Affirmations for BloggersMy Profile

  12. I was so excited when I saw this post! Costco rings rock! lol I got mine from Costco too as you might already know 😉

    It’s great that you’re so practical and didn’t want to break the bank with an expensive ring. Your ring is absolutely gorgeous! <3

  13. Your ring looks beautiful! Here in Europe engagement rings aren’t really a thing. Yes, the girls do usually get one, but usually we wouldn’t spend more than 500-1000€ (at least here in Austria). I do think it is a very beautiful way of asking someone if they want to marry him/her though!
    I love reading wedding related posts from other countries – so interesting and fun to read!
    I’m wishing you only the best for your upcoming wedding!
    Love from Austria, Theresa
    Theresa recently posted…The Cutest Straw Hats and Bags for Every BudgetMy Profile

  14. Omg, your ring is goooorgeous, and I totally love your tips!! it’s so sweet that he was set on getting you a diamond <3

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