A low credit score shouldn’t keep you from proposing to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

The engagement ring is one of the more significant purchases many people make in their lifetimes. While it’s best to pay cash, sometimes this isn’t an option. So what are your options when you don’t have the money on hand, and your credit score is less than ideal?

1. Re-adjust expectations

Don’t get caught up in the “two months’ salary rule” or the “three-month rule.” These expectations are outdated and don’t work for many people. Be realistic about your financial ability. Starting an engagement off with a ring you can’t afford isn’t smart.

2. Borrow from family or close friends

Consider asking family or a close friend for a loan. This type of loan has the advantage of possibly having a nonexistent or very low-interest rate and doesn’t affect your credit score. The only potential downside is a tension in the relationship if expectations of payments and payback aren’t met. To avoid this, set up an arrangement with terms and payment due dates in the beginning.

3. Finance in-store

Many major jewelry stores offer 0% APR financing. These offers involve signing up for a store credit card. The downside is that high credit utilization on the card could bring down your credit score until you can pay the balance. Another issue to be aware of is the length of the 0% interest rate. If you haven’t paid the full balance by the end of the 0% interest period, you can be charged interest from the date of purchase, defeating the point.

4. Consider vintage or pawned rings

The benefit of a vintage ring is that in addition to significant savings, you’ll end up with a unique ring. If your partner is more traditional, browse local pawn shops for more new diamond rings that will cost you far less than retail.

5. Look into diamond alternatives

Diamonds might be the traditional choice, but they’re not the only option. Consider these alternatives:

  • Lab-grown or human-made diamonds: Usually costing 15-20% less than earth-grown diamonds, these diamonds are chemically the same as natural diamonds.
  • Moissanite: This crystal clear stone is found in meteorites and possesses a greater brilliance than traditional diamonds.
  • Emerald, ruby, etc.: Consider another stone in your partner’s favorite color. These stones cost fractions less than diamonds of the same size.

6. Borrow a personal loan

Not the ideal option but likely still better than putting the ring purchase on a credit card, a personal loan is an easy, quick option to finance an engagement ring. On-time payments will also positively affect your credit. To avoid ending up in a debt cycle, carefully evaluate your finances and how much you can afford to borrow before taking out a personal loan.

Remember, love doesn’t require an expensive engagement ring. If your partner disagrees, you might reconsider spending the rest of your life with this person. Stay within your financial means and enjoy married life!

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