So, today is National Proposal Day! Yes, love is in the air! Yay! I asked Terence, our resident (and recently engaged) Frugalisto of the “Real Men Use Coupons” post, to share some tips for ring shopping from a “Frugalisto” perspective.

A series of diamond rings. (Anne C. Marley)

So when Natalie asked me what I had cooking, I didn’t have to look far or dig too deep. See, I got engaged New Year’s night to the love of my life. It was joyous event, and it would not have been possible without one key component: The Ring.

The whole process of securing said ring wasn’t stressful; however, I underestimated everything that goes into shopping for it. I know my fiancée liked the ring after the numerous “OH MY GOD, baby!!!” comments she shared after I got on one knee.

Ring shopping is one of the most complex decisions most dudes will make. We normally have a good grasp on the other big-ticket items we want. That ring, though? Like prepping for the GRE. I decided to share some lessons learned while ring shopping. Know what she wants in general. You can get your feelings hurt buying a gold band and then she prefers white gold or platinum.

1) Create a listing of stores and find out what types of rings and sales they have. Most of your regular places have rings for all budget ranges. It helps also if you purchase during big shopping times, i.e. holidays. I missed a sale because of procrastination and it added to the cost.

2) Once you commit to a ring that you feel is perfect, see what financing options you have. Some places have layaway programs that help you. If that’s not a possibility, once you’ve made up your mind that you want to propose, begin to save up. You don’t want to dip into funds allocated for other things, such as Wing Tuesday at Buffalo Wild Wings.

3) Talk yourself into “added value.” You will need to make sure you have the insurance and service options for your ring (sounds like a car, doesn’t it?). By negotiating these fees, you put yourself in a position to not have to worry about them later. This may include wedding bands. Don’t go in debt over the ring. That pressure to impress is serious. You know what you can spend. The theme of this blog is making wise decisions.

4) The most important piece of wisdom I obtained through the experience is that you can’t just up and buy a ring. Preparation for the investment is key. I had to go without Cole Haan shoes that I wanted. I could not “ball out” at the K&G suit sale. It took sacrifice and budgeting to make this into a reality. Of course, there were things that I should’ve handled better, but that’s why I love sharing what I’ve experienced.

For those of you wondering, yes, I did rest on my laurels. I held out as long as possible for a Groupon or Living Social deal. Remember that additional money I had to pay because of a missed sale? Well, I recouped that cost back. My fiancée entered a contest at a bridal show (which she won), and we received a certificate for free wedding bands.

But please believe, my eyes are wide open now that wedding planning has started. I am excited and look forward to sharing this journey toward oneness, as it unfolds.

Peace and Simply Raspberry Lemonade,

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