Splitting the cost: Finances for fiancés

Couple considers benefits of sharing cost of engagement ring

Couples split a number of different things in their time together – between groceries, rent or the cost of a date, the norm for couples has been that, when in doubt, just split the cost. But what about the cost of an engagement ring?

Trent Podskalan

Trent Podskalan

Traditionally speaking, the male is supposed to buy the ring and surprise the girl with it. But if couples are already splitting the cost of things such as rent or groceries, then what is the big deal?

The gender roles are beginning to broaden. It’s no longer just stay-at-home moms, there are stay-at home-dads. The woman is not expected to do all the cooking, cleaning and other housework while the man goes to work to bring home money to support the family.

Those stereotypes have faded. It’s out with the old and in with the new.

It’s understandable that a girl would want to be surprised that they’re being asked to marry the one they love and it’s not to say that could no longer happen. Take, for example, the story of Jake and Melanie from “Sweet Home Alabama.”

In the movie, Jake allows Melanie to pick out her own ring while still being taken by surprise by the engagement.

But just because someone decides to split the cost of the ring, does not mean it cannot still be a surprise.

Nowadays, buying an engagement ring is about the man picking out something he thinks the woman would like; however, an added benefit to going dutch on an engagement ring is being able to pick out the ring together.

The website “The Knot” recently asked the question of whether it is a good idea to split the cost of an engagement ring.

“We work together for what we want and need,” said one female respondent, who has been with her fiance for over seven years. “We are a team.”

Couples are a team: they get to know each other, bond and do things together. Shopping for a ring together can truly be a bonding experience within itself.

If the couple is going to get married and have a joint bank account, then what difference does it make to purchase it together? Why should one person hold sole responsibility for the financial burden of a ring? They aren’t cheap by any means.

To start, one person should not bear the full financial responsibility. I myself proposed to my now fiancee Saturday, Nov. 16. Splitting the cost of a ring is something she and I debated about after I shared an article similar the one in “The Knot” with her.

While she had a more traditional standpoint, in which the man picks out the ring and purchases it all himself, times are changing. Being a college student and bearing the cost of a ring can be a pain to the pocketbook when there are other bills such as rent and utilities that need to be paid.

While she and I ultimately decided to not split the cost of the ring, it may have been a beneficial financial decision to do so simply because the ring could then be paid off faster and less interest would have to be paid. Essentially, financing a ring could become more affordable with the financial assistance of another.

Setting a budget of how much should be spent on the ring would be helpful and, even more so, once the woman begins trying on different rings, the couple may want to change their budget depending on what she finds and likes.

Resizing a ring can be costly. Another added benefit of shopping together and splitting the cost is the fact that it will avoid an unnecessary return. The ring size will be correct and the couple won’t have to hassle with trying to get a ring resized, especially being in Marquette where there are no major jewelers (i.e. Jared, Kay’s).

Along with the sizing, it would save on embarrassment that may arise upon proposing. What if the ring is too big? What if it is too small? Yes, girls wear rings all the time, but who is to say they are wearing the right size?

Some wear them a little big or small because there is no point in officially determining their ring size and if a man asks a woman what her ring size is, she may be expecting some sort of jewelry soon then.

That’s why the question must be blatantly asked. There is no way around it. During my two- and-a-half week planning of the proposal day, before I ordered the ring, I had to be blatant about asking her ring size.

I said something along the lines of, “That ring looks a little big on you. Do you think maybe a six-and-three-fourths would fit you better than a seven?” The key thing I said after she smiled and answered: “I’m gonna put that in the back of my mind for future reference.”

That 13-word phrase was essential to use anytime I directly talked about the proposal in front of my fiancée. However, every couple is different. While it was normal for my fiancée and I to be talking about getting engaged one day, that blatant discussion may not be for everyone.

While in the end it all comes down to the couple and what they prefer, one shouldn’t rule out the idea of splitting the cost so quickly.

While it can be easy to get stuck in traditions, and increasingly difficult to break from the norm, time progresses and changes, and couples should keep an open mind about splitting the cost of an engagement ring. Writing off the idea right away, especially with it being such a large financial decision, could be a harsh start to a life together financially.

2 Comments

  • Tryactin
    November 25, 2013 | Permalink |

    “she and I ultimately decided…” We all know what that means! :)

    Blurred gener roles are not always good for society. Man up and buy your woman the symbol she deserves. Tryactin…like a man.

  • Keith Stone
    December 3, 2013 | Permalink |

    Ya and maybe we should all get gender reconstructive surgery so we can all have both penis’s and vaginas…I mean its only fair

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