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Should she buy her engagement ring?

They live together, and she covers most of the expenses.

By Karen Datko Oct 10, 2009 1:41AM

Lots of once-routine spending decisions are undergoing scrutiny these days. Should one of them be who pays for the engagement ring?


"Miss M" posed that question at M is for Money. She knows what she wants in a ring, but her intended, "Mr. M," can't afford it. "If this ring is so important to me, then why don't I buy it for myself? Why should I burden Mr. M's finances with something he can't afford?" she wrote

Here may be the crux of the matter: "If I wait till he can afford a ring, I may be waiting forever," she added. They've been together for six years.


More about her situation: She makes a very good salary. Mr. M is a Hollywood production designer who earns great money when he's working. However, a lot of the time he's not. She covers the majority of the household expenses.


So what's a woman in love to do? Her situation raises some interesting questions, including:

  • Does it matter how much an engagement ring costs? She admitted she's a slave to advertisers on this point, but she's made up her mind (and assured her readers that the ring she desires is quite modest). "I feel like I've waited too long to settle for something that doesn't make me happy," she said.
  • Can she and Mr. M be comfortable with the decision if she buys the ring? He's not crazy about it, she reported, and, truth be told, she really isn't either. "Part of me still longs for a more traditional life. Am I modern and liberated or still shackled to roles more suited to the Middle Ages?" she wrote. "Some days, I don't know."

As you can imagine, readers' thoughts covered the gamut. For example:

  • "Frugal Dreamer" said: "I don't think that there should be ‘rules' on how a couple goes about getting engaged. Every relationship is different, and I think it's completely up to you and Mr. M."
  • Others said a ring is a sign of a man's commitment and thus he should pay for it himself.
  • Here's one thought that occurred to us as well: Blogger "444" said, "I don't want to butt in, but I sense some issues involving resentment over his income and financial contributions, and I hope that does not cloud the whole marriage."
  • And finally, this from "Stacking Pennies": "You seem totally comfortable with being the breadwinner (true?), so if his underemployment is something you think you can live with, don't let the ring be the hurdle."
Published March 2, 2009
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