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Diamonds and Debt

In my early twenties I was obsessed with diamonds. My obsession became even worse when Logan and I talked about getting married. I spent hours looking through jewelry catalogs and even made secret trips to the mall trying to find the perfect engagement ring.

Logan ended up buying me a beautiful solitaire diamond engagement ring, but I still lusted after a three stone anniversary diamond set. I had a recently married friend who had a similar set and I got it in my head that I had to have this particular ring. I thought a different wedding set and bigger diamond would make me a whole lot happier. But that wasn’t the case because upgrading the ring caused a lot of tension in our relationship.

We couldn’t afford the ring, so we charged it on our credit card and that’s where the source of contention came in; such a huge purchase increased our debt, kept me in a job I wasn’t happy with, and made Logan feel like he couldn’t afford to buy me the happiness he felt I deserved.

Now, when I look at my wedding set I don’t think about our amazing wedding day and our strong marriage. I think about how caught up in materialism I was at the time.

So how can you avoid the mistakes I’ve made in the past?

1. Ask yourself why.

Buying items you can’t afford will lead you into a hole of debt. And speaking from experience, that’s not a lot of fun.

But the larger question is: why do we feel like we need these things? The tendency to buy more stuff has to do with cultural conditioning. Many Americans don’t think they aren’t affected by advertising, but research has shown that we are deeply affected by advertising. On average, we’re exposed to over 3,000 ads everyday. No wonder we’re constantly shopping for happiness.

So, before you purchase any product, ask yourself why. Why do you want it? Do you really need it? How will the product enhance your life? Is it congruent with your ideals? And will it bring you additional joy and happiness?

2. Will your purchase restrict your freedom?

If you have to charge something on your credit card is it really worth the cost? Think about the interest that will accrue on your credit card and the additional time you’ll have to spend at the office to pay for a particular product.

And what will you have to give up to get your desired product? For instance, the $5,000 we spent on my wedding set was a one-fourth of my income at the time. And that money chould have helped us pay off my student loan debt more quickly or it could have been stashed away in our savings account.

3. Be content with what you have.

“The desire to remember who we are is extremely strong; we feel an insatiable desire to search. And search we do. We look high and low; we look to family and friends, jobs, sex, and drugs, and college degrees; we look for money, prestige, and physical beauty.” ~Darren Main

And this type of searching only works for so long.

Upon reflection, my desire to have the perfect wedding set symbolized my search for happiness. I wasn’t content in the present moment, but always searching for happiness either in the past or the future. Reflecting on the past and thinking about the future isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to remember where you are right now. If you’re constantly living in the future or the past, you won’t find contentment, happiness, and love right now.

What do you think?

Since, I don’t wear my wedding set anymore I want to sell the ring and either donate the money Living Yoga or save the cash. So, what do you think? Should I donate the money or save it?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Yveatte November 1, 2010, 8:48 am

    Great post! I never even got an engagement ring. My husband convinced me that the money would be better spent on more important things or saved. He was right!

    I think you should donate part of it and save part of it.

  • Maria Almaguer November 1, 2010, 8:53 am

    Thanks for a great post; so very true!

    I agree with Yveatte on what you should do with the money from your ring sale.

  • Jack Bennett November 1, 2010, 8:56 am

    Lots of wisdom here. It’s simple, but wisdom often is.

    It takes a lot of courage to look back at a mindset that you once held, and let go of it. Especially a mindset connected to such a significant and symbolic day as a wedding.

    That quote from Darren Main is a valuable reminder. It reminds us that searching for identity in all those external places is fruitless. The hard part is that despite “knowing” this intellectually, I still get caught up in the cycle of craving for “stuff” (both physical and intangible). I need to be constantly reminded of this; I think most of us do.

  • Stacey November 1, 2010, 8:57 am

    This website has changed the way I view the world. Thank you for the incredible gift of an altered worldview. I vote that if you have enough in savings to support yourselves for six months (in case of a terrible emergency) then you should donate it.

  • villena koumis November 1, 2010, 8:59 am

    Tammy, I have always love what you write and this is great! Here are my thoughts I think that since the ring doesn’t remind you of the special moment you and Logan had joined your lives, like Yveatte says you should sell it and donate half and keep the other half.

  • Katie November 1, 2010, 8:59 am

    Do whatever feels right. Giving yourself the money isn’t selfish because you are living by your ideals now and it will help you continue to do so. Donating it will help someone else. Both sound like great options.

    I find the hardest part about buying stuff is assessing what in my life is going on that makes me feel I need it in the first place. I know often I don’t need it, but that doesn’t negate the lure. I have to examine why I feel I need it and then find a way to replace that need with some other than stuff.

    Great post, Tammy. Love what you’re doing here at Rowdy Kittens.

  • xx November 1, 2010, 9:11 am

    you should use the money to take yourself and your husband on a marriage anniversary celebration (special day or special weekend). then follow it up when you get back with some time spent volunteering together with your favourite charity. surprise your husband with it and say thankyou and sorry for the stress that occurred, he will love you even more for it.

    • xx November 1, 2010, 9:13 am

      oh and if it is a large sum of money, then put aside one portion and when you surprise your husband with the trip, tell him about it and ask him what he would like to do with it.

      • Logan November 2, 2010, 9:08 am

        Not many surprises around here. I do read and edit the blog after all. 😉 Thanks for voting!


        • Tez Hill September 14, 2011, 10:25 am

          Now THAT was hilarious! Surprise!!

    • KateR November 4, 2010, 2:21 pm

      I agree! Use the money to do something memorable for the two of you!

  • Diana November 1, 2010, 9:15 am

    This post is just fabulous. You just keep getting clearer and clearer. I am sharing this everywhere.

  • Diana November 1, 2010, 9:17 am

    Oh, what Katie said. Do what makes you feel best. A split down the middle would probably be my solution. Half in the account, half for others.

  • Lisa November 1, 2010, 9:17 am

    Do what you feel is the right thing with your old wedding set. That’s what counts. I liked your assessment about weeding out which purchases are worthy (especially #3). My husband and I have been married for 11 years and still have never bought rings. It just wasn’t that important for either of us.

  • Patrick Perez November 1, 2010, 9:25 am

    One thing to consider specifically regarding diamonds is that until the 1920s, they weren’t the ‘default’ stone in dress jewelry. Colored gemstones were far more popular. It was through the marketing efforts of the DeBeers company that identified an advantage that their product had over other gemstones: Diamonds photograph much better in black and white film. Armed with that knowledge, they proceeded to offer jewelry to Hollywood stars to wear at public events, knowing the fan magazines (improbably even more popular then than now) would show their product in a glamorous light.

    I believe that this information (ahem) illuminates several recurrent themes from the simplicity movement. Have a reason for your ‘wants’, and pay attention to who it is telling you what to want. I dare say fan magazines are not good places to take life-advice.


    • Bethany November 1, 2010, 5:31 pm

      I like blue topaz! 🙂

    • L November 2, 2010, 8:48 am

      A used/secondhand diamond does just fine, since they are very durable. No worries about corruption, and a more reasonable price.

      That said, I don’t think the ring in question in this post will sell for nearly what they paid for it. Diamonds tend to loose value once they are “used.”

  • Melissa Gorzelanczyk November 1, 2010, 9:29 am

    Hi Tammy! This is a really thought-provoking post, and like you, my wedding ring also put us in debt. We don’t have debt anymore, but looking back, the gigantic ring wasn’t really worth it.

    As for the money, I think either of those options sound great. You could also use the money to share an experience with Logan that you might not otherwise afford. Do you two have any wild trips you’d love to go on? I think that would be a really cool way to strengthen your bond, all made possible by diamonds. 😉

    Be well. Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Dawn November 1, 2010, 9:41 am

    Hey Tammy! I am curious as to why you don’t wear your ring anymore. But that is more of a curiousity.

    As per my ring and my husbands ring it’s funny. If you total the cost for my engagement and marraige rings (still not welded together but w/e) plus a diamond heart ring I got myself for V-day last year it is all still less than my class ring! Perhaps having 2 $200 rings for marraige and such is still wasteful but I wear them because they help me remind myself of my love for my husband (or more correctly, remind me of why I want to work harder so I can come home quicker!). But I would have been content even with the ring for V-day which was only 25 even though it is diamond and white gold.

    His ring is the more extraneous purchase. He didn’t care about getting a ring and I still got him a 400 buck ring that he doesn’t wear because of his job! That could have been put towards paying off my debt instead of getting us into more, lol. Now they are all paid off though.

    I think the purchase I msot regret is my class ring. A 700 buck ring that I don’t ever wear is not right when it could have been put towards paying off my parents house (they purchased the ring) that they are now looking at having to move out of due to debt. I’m not guilty about it, more just wish that I hadn’t have told them that I “needed” it with the diamonds, white gold, and the name across the fake middle stone…

    Good post hun!

    • Tammy November 1, 2010, 10:15 am

      Thanks Dawn. I don’t wear the ring anymore because every time I put it on I think of my old materialistic nature, versus our beautiful wedding day and strong marriage.

      Now I wear a ring that belonged to my grandmother (she was married to my grandpa for 65 years). So every time I put that ring on I think about their love and commitment to each other. 🙂

      • Alex November 1, 2010, 1:31 pm

        I say sell it and take your husband out for a night of fun.
        OR do something together to build a better memory.
        Give some away and keep some for yourself.
        Let me know how much you’re selling the ring for, I just might buy it, if the price is right and it’s a size 7

      • Kathy Parker November 1, 2010, 3:16 pm

        Dear Tami,
        I was going to tell you to buy new rings first, before I read your post about your grandmother’s ring. I wear my mother’s ( and grandmother’s ) rings for the same reason, although Chris and I have Irish bands that we both treasure. I think you should sell the rings and put the money in your small house fund. ( Tumbleweeds , etc ) Moving yourself towards another future goal.

    • Bethany November 1, 2010, 5:33 pm

      I never bought a class ring. I thought they were ugly and didnt know why people wanted them.

    • amy November 2, 2010, 8:51 am

      Ah, I get it now. I was wondering how the specialness of the day symbolized by that ring didn’t easily trump the negative associations with your “materialistic mindset.” Because I can’t imagine giving up a ring associated with my wedding day… but I can appreciate how far away that ring is from summing up the happiness of the day… and can appreciate “wearing Grandma’s ring” since I wear my husband’s grandma’s band and that wasn’t my idea at the time either. My engagement ring came from a store stocked by estate sales whose proceeds go 100% to pet rescue, staffed by volunteer retirees. All of their special pet photos are under glass at the sales counter, and the best thing about that day was the sweet elderly people who helped us pick it out. I wasn’t enthralled by the ring at the time but my fiance was adament that we left with something after he had proposed the night before. For him it was all about what it meant, not the ring (here’s to the people in our lives who have their sights set on the right things and pull us along slowly :). Nothing matched this antique, delicate ring, not in thousands of amazon.com photos, until his mother pulled out his grandma’s tiny diamond band and it was the perfect match. Maybe you can do something in your grandparents’ honor with part of the money, in honor of how they’ve impacted you, or to impact the elderly community in return in some way with donations to a food drive for seniors etc? Since symbolism is a large driver in this story, it would be nice to do something symbolic with the money… the perfect thing will come to you!

  • Linda November 1, 2010, 9:55 am

    I did the same thing, I was obsessed with diamonds too at one time. My ring, beautiful and solitare is something I never would have asked for today. Especially with the controversy about where Diamonds come from and the price hike that is put on it by DeBeers. Memories are so much more important, however I think that you will enjoy the day when you get to pass on your wedding ring to your children. My ring we bought was totally within our price range when we were young in our twenties. I think the diamond industry has us falsely believing that it’s okay to go into debt to buy an engagement ring. Remember the slogan: “What better way to say I love you, than a 3 months’ salary?”

  • Glenda November 1, 2010, 10:19 am

    Great post!
    I’d save, save some of the money and donate the rest.

  • Jane November 1, 2010, 10:54 am

    Hee hee, I do think the ring in the picture is really pretty though!

    I don’t have an opinion on what you should do with the money from the sale, but I did want to echo another commenter’s thanks for an altered world view. My mom took me shopping this weekend to an expensive department store (she really wanted to go) and in the past where I would have bought an expensive wardrobe piece and charged it even though I wasn’t 100% sure I had enough money to cover it, this time I didn’t buy a single thing! I feel great about my decision. Thanks Tammy!

  • sarah November 1, 2010, 11:09 am

    My wedding ring has value in that it’s the ring that was exchanged during the ceremony. It’s the ritual that’s of importance. We tried to spend some money on our rings, because we didn’t plan on “trading up” like some recommended, but we wanted them to be something we’d continue wearing. I did obsess over a beautiful diamond setting for a while, but I knew we couldn’t afford it. We decided not to go into debt for jewelry.

    I have a diamond from my grandmother also (and they just celebrated 65 years) – however, she had it re-set into a pendant. It’s too gaudy for me to wear, and I have no idea what to do with it! Would you believe, though, that she had MULTIPLE diamond rings? She didn’t like the first one her husband gave her, so she’s got oh, three or something. Talk about materialistic… 😉 By the way, she isn’t like that anymore.

  • A November 1, 2010, 11:16 am

    Yveatte and others said what I’d suggest: donate half and save half, or spend that saved half on something you and Logan can enjoy. If you’re lucky, it might bring in more money than you originally spent on it, so you can think of it as a foolish investment that paid off. 🙂

  • Vegangypsie November 1, 2010, 11:16 am

    I did not get an engagement ring at all and my husband and I got matching wedding rings from etsy for $144 a piece. We preferred to spend our money on our honeymoon.

    I would probably save some and give some away. Actually, if it was me, I would buy my in-laws a cruise – the only type of vacation they can really handle since they are both handicapped, and then with whatever was left over give half to charity (I would probably choose farm sanctuary or other animal care org) and save half. Oh, thinking about what I would do with a windfall is much more fun when there is no debt.

  • kelly November 1, 2010, 11:19 am

    Donate it all. Even saving a little of the money for yourself — you will still know where the $ came from and it will not create any safety or happiness. Donating it all will create much happiness.

  • Sarah November 1, 2010, 11:23 am

    Yes, I bet the ring is pretty! It sounds like something I would love, too! Lol. But seriously, I think you should donate the money from the sale of it (if it’s a cause you really care about) because you will feel good about it. And the next time you think about the ring perhaps you will have that good feeling AND enjoy the thought of the beauty of the ring!

  • Jenny Thomas November 1, 2010, 11:24 am

    KEEP IT !!! you love that ring ! You really wanted it..debt will be paid off….an hubby will get over it…..jus maybe don;t do it again….. xxJen
    p.s.tell ur better half it makes you feel incredibly sexy …

  • michelle November 1, 2010, 11:53 am

    We are in a major recession that will not soon be over. Save the money and invest in your own future!!

  • Adrianne November 1, 2010, 11:53 am

    Great reminder for all of us, thanks for psoting! If you sell it split the money half to save and half to donate.

  • Tammy Hawkins November 1, 2010, 12:09 pm

    I’d say save some and spend some on a trip for the two of you. My husband and I are believers in not spending on things, but occasionally knowing when to spend on experiences and making memories. That’s my suggestion! 🙂

  • Frugal Babe November 1, 2010, 12:09 pm

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. My husband and I got engaged 8 years ago, just after we bought our first house. We had a couple thousand dollars left over after the closing, and we went to the jewelry store and spent it all on a ring. The thought of spending two grand on a diamond now makes my head spin, but that was what we were “supposed” to do, so that’s what we did. Luckily, we had the cash available, and wrote a check for the ring. But it was still a lot of money. In 2007, I decided to sell it. My husband was completely supportive (he doesn’t care at all about stuff like that, and his own wedding ring has been lost for ages), and we were able to sell the ring for a little more than half what we paid for it. We put the money into our HSA, and bought a simulated diamond ring instead, which cost us about $200. Oh, how I wish we had done that the first time around! That ring is currently getting fixed (I bashed it when I was lifting weights), and I’m just wearing my plain wedding band that cost us about $40. I think that the simulated diamond might end up being worn just for special occasions, and I’ll just stick with the basic band. My tastes have definitely changed over the last eight years, and I no longer need anything flashy to tell the world that my husband loves me. I know that he does, and that’s plenty.
    Maybe you can donate half the money, and save half? Best of both worlds.

  • eema November 1, 2010, 12:22 pm

    thoughtful post, this is really getting to the nitty-gritty of living with less. would you have even asked your question years ago? so nice to have options, rather than have tos.

  • Amanda Bretz November 1, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Tammy, I wish more women would understand that the diamond doesn’t make the marriage, it’s the people in it and their love and commitment for one another!
    I say donate all the money to your charity, it will make you feel at peace with the money that you once spent on the ring.

  • sophanne November 1, 2010, 12:34 pm

    Last week my husband gave me an early birthday present of diamond stud earrings. It was such a difficult gift to accept- he could afford it, he purchased it with his “allowance” from our budget and it was a very spontaneous and thoughtful gesture- and yet since reading and thinking about minimalism and less, it felt very wasteful to me. Anyone in my immediate circle of friends would call me crazy to share that thought. He was so proud of his perceived thoughtfulness. I think that is what I will love about them. I have made him promise that we talk about that kind of spending in the future to try to make sure he doesn’t do it again. We are so conditioned by the world around us- why wouldn’t he think I would love them- I wanted and got the three diamond band 7 years ago. And I have changed so much.

  • Shonda November 1, 2010, 12:36 pm

    Great post!

    I feel that you should donate half and save half.

  • Anna November 1, 2010, 12:43 pm

    It’s interesting to read everyone’s responses. I never wanted an engagement ring, though my husband and I had rings made for us which weren’t too cheap. We had an amazing wedding that I will always think of as one of the most beautiful days I have experienced. We didn’t go into debt for it, but we spent all the money we could save that year (which wasn’t even a really expensive wedding considering how much we both got paid). We could have spent the money on something else (it is kind of crazy to have one big big party like that) but it turned out exactly as we had hoped — sharing delicious food, great music and a beautiful day with the people we loved. As so many of you note, its important to remember that relationships, experiences and joy are much more important than things.

    As for donating or keeping the money I think a little of both sounds good, but I’m sure you will figure out what is right for you.

  • Esme November 1, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Do you even realize diamonds are dug up in the poorest and most dangerous conditions in South Africa, mostly used to fund the wars there and then end up on you finger as a symbol of love? I would never want that. Another good reason to not want to buy them.

    • Tammy November 1, 2010, 1:01 pm

      @Esme – a very good point. At the time, I didn’t know about the diamond wars in Africa. It’s no excuse, but I hope people can learn from my experience. Before you buy anything, it’s important to do your research.

    • wrong November 2, 2010, 3:17 am

      esme please be careful when making comments like that. yes you are correct that some diamonds are sourced from locations like you describe, infact there is more of this activity associated with illegal gold mining than diamonds (however it is very difficult to track the source of gold in comparison to diamonds).

      Please realise that the diamond industry has changed significantly in recently years and Conflict Free Diamonds are available, these are not associated with the activities you are talking about, and they actually provide jobs and significant economic benefits to developing countries which have very few alternative sources of growth. please don’t deny these communities that opportunity, they need our help. (i personally don’t like diamonds nor gold, but that is an aesthetics thing).

      • but a good idea November 3, 2010, 5:48 am

        esme i had another think about your comments … if Tammy and Logan do decide to donate part of the sales from the ring, the issue you brought up might prompt some of their ideas about what charities they look in to. maybe they would like to contribute to some of the many educational charities, to sponsor a community or to contribute to a Kiva loan in one of these diamond-producing african countries. i am sure if you did some research on countries impacted negatively by bad diamond trade that would help choose a location (they are not all in southern africa) and then make a search for genuine charities in those areas …

        what a lovely way to go full circle … and you could even promote the issue further by telling the buyer of the ring about what you were doing, they might want to do something similar …

        • and more ... November 3, 2010, 5:57 am

          you know, that would make a really great ethical business model … the symbolism of the ring (circle) representing both the symbol of the return of benefits back to the original communities where the diamonds came from, the circle of recycling of the diamond ring to other people, the circle of eternity which the ring represents in marriage and the circle of the eternity of the diamond (the hardest substance on earth) …

          so who wants to start up an ethical diamond resale business where the profits from the sale are sent back to african communities … surely this would be appealing to people who want to sell their rings and also to people who want to buy rings but are unable to afford the Conflict Free Diamonds …

          don’t you just love it when you get the spark of a new idea … maybe someone is already doing this, but if there isn’t i think someone should!!

  • K00kyKelly November 1, 2010, 12:58 pm

    Spend part of it biking across Europe and donate the rest! Materialism trasformed into the freedom to travel. 🙂

  • MJK November 1, 2010, 1:03 pm

    I think is an awesome post. My DBF and I have been talking about marriage, but haven’t really talked too much about rings in particular. Years ago I had it in my head that I wanted a fance diamond ring with this and that and stones SO big…. But now, honestly, I can’t even stomach the thought. It’d be pretty to look at initially, but to me it doesn’t matter how large the stone is, or if it is a diamond or not. What matters to me is that someone else wants to be commited to me for the rest of our lives. How they want to express it is up to them and I will appreciate whatever they do for me.

    As far as what to do with your ring… I think you may as well sell it and try to get something out of it. If you aren’t going to ever wear it again, there is really no reason to keep it. And the proceeds from your sale… Personally, I’d keep some and donate the rest. I’m sure you could use some of that money for a nice little vacation which you will remember and treasure and what you donate can help a number of other people have experiences they will remember!

  • Jan November 1, 2010, 1:04 pm

    My 2 cents.
    If you will sale it.
    Use a part to do something spatial with your husband.

  • Mollie November 1, 2010, 1:20 pm

    I think engagement rings are such a ruse! They make the guy feel like he has to show how much he loves the woman monetarily, which is just a bad start. My husband really wanted to get me a ring and I said NO WAY. It struck me as a huge waste of money. The hardest part of that was when we announced we were engaged and everyone wanted to SEE the ring. Everything about weddings had become such a SHOW.

    Anyway, I think you should save the money for a while. If after time, you feel like donating it then do that. I think all decisions about money should be made slowly. Even with a donation, there is no need to be impulsive about it.

  • Aaron November 1, 2010, 1:20 pm

    Do not donate any of it!!! If it was a source of contention in your relationship, then your husband may not appreciate you giving it away. All the proceeds should go towards doing something special with him and letting him know how much he means to you.

    • Logan November 1, 2010, 1:37 pm

      Hi Aaron,

      I would have no problem knowing that the ring went to a great cause. 🙂

  • Lis November 1, 2010, 1:24 pm

    If your wedding ring was bought as an investment in your future together, I say you can still make that come true by selling it and saving the money. I’m usually all for donating, but I would say this should be for you two.

    I got married really young and aside from not being able to afford it, I also just never agreed that I was supposed to measure his love for me based on how much money he blew on an overpriced rock. Besides, I lose everything anyway, so we spent $20 total on both our rings (mine was $12, his $8) made by a good friend’s mom. I did lose it, and a few after in these past 11 years, but my favorite ring that I haven’t lost (yet) is a simple coconut band we bought while living in Costa Rica for a few months. Eventually we splurged a couple hundred on rings that looked more like wedding rings, without a diamond still, but I’ll sometimes switch it for my coconut ring. Even spending the couple hundred wasn’t necessary, but a few things are a little easier with a more universally understood symbol of being married (in other words, it helps avoid the awkwardness of trying to figure out when you should bring up you’re married to the guy who seems real friendly).

  • James Gordon November 1, 2010, 1:25 pm

    If you need the money, save it. If not, donate it.

  • Natasja November 1, 2010, 1:32 pm

    Nice post!

    When my hubby and I got married in my early twenties we decided to keep it low profile. Because we would only like to have our closest friends and relatives around us, not a huge party. We married for free -which is possible in the Netherlands on a Monday morning- with 10 dollar wedding rings. The ceremony was purely symbolic to us.

    I think you could save most of the money, buy you and your hubby a romantic dinner and donate part of it to Living Yoga. Good luck making a decision, I’m sure it will be well spend.

  • Brittany November 1, 2010, 1:47 pm

    In your shoes, I’d either save it for the six month rainy day account, or spend it on a vacation with my husband. I would LOVE to go on a random trip with my husband, but that would wipe out our savings. So no trip for us!

    As much as I’d love to go on a trip, I can’t imagine parting with my engagement ring. Though it is a relatively large solitaire, it was paid for in cash and not to the detriment of any other financial goals (I guess we could have put it toward a ‘new’ car if I really think about it, but cars are one of the worst ways to spend money, so I don’t regret that at all), and being debt-free, my then-fiance and I chose to prioritize something I would wear everyday for (hopefully) the rest of my life. (I do deeply regret paying $900 for my wedding dress knowing it was for just one day, however.) There is so much sentimentality and symbolism in it for me: that it’s the ring he carefully researched and chose for me, the ring he proposed with, the ring I wore on our wedding day. It is just an object, but it’s the most valuable object I own–and I don’t just mean literally 🙂

  • Rebecca November 1, 2010, 1:48 pm

    I don’t wear my engagement ring much anymore, but it has more to do with my personal issues with the Quaker testimony of Simplicity than with anything else. I think you should let Logan decide what to do with the money from the sale of your ring.

  • Jessica November 1, 2010, 2:35 pm

    Great post Tammy- I love that you are encouraging readers to carefully weigh the costs of any purchase. Unfortunately, weddings and life in general all seem to be a show, so it’s up to us as individuals to decide if the traditions should be accepted, rejected, or changed.

    My husband and I decided on a cz ring for my engagement ring, and I only wear it on special occassions now. A friend o ours is an artist and taught us how to make rings usi silver claythat when firesld, reveals the shiny metal. We had so much fun doing it, it was less expensive, and we also got to customize our rings. We both have paw prints on our rings – we are huge animal advocates, and our wedding raised money for groups we volunteer with. We also had our pit bull in our wedding (dressed in wedding dress and veil!), so the rings remind of our shared passion.

    I would recommend using some of the money for a relationship building activity (a trip or something local), and then donating the rest to a good cause unless you need it. Best of luck deciding! Let us know what you decide!

  • Meg November 1, 2010, 2:51 pm

    Steve & I met online and when we got married we ordered our wedding bands online, too ;D We’re cheap!

    Yeah, I’d sell the wedding set, especially since it loaded with bad Karma. You should both then decide how to make it right. I have no idea how much the set cost, but get the impression it was serious moolah.

    One thing to consider is if the money could be used by the two of you to be able to do more good in the world? For some people it would be establishing a scholarship, or putting up seed money for an educational foundation, or to invest in a “green” energy company. Anyway, something along those lines. But sell the darn thing and do something profound with the cash, something that will last longer than a posh vacation. After all, “diamonds are forever.” ;D

  • Marsha Nahser November 1, 2010, 2:52 pm

    I have really enjoyed reading these posts and was inspired by so many wonderful ideas. But I think that initially I would bank the money and take some time deciding exactly what I want to do with it. You and your husband may wish to divide it up between several charities or you may have a friend who has fallen onto hard times. Life has taught me that when I have extra cash, I will run across someone who needs it more than I do. Then again, maybe you and your husband should use it for a second honeymoon. Surely something to think about, but if you donate it right off the bat, you might wish you had waited a little bit.
    Good Luck and thanks for your many insights…you’re wonderful!

  • Trish November 1, 2010, 3:04 pm

    I really hate the advertising that directs people that the proper thing to do is to spend 3 months salary on a ring. Young people in love are so susceptible to a suggestion like that. We repurposed a ring that had been left to my husband by a wealthy great uncle who never married – it had one big stone and 2 smaller ones. The ring was made into an engagement ring and matching band, and the 2 smaller diamonds into earrings. I no longer wear my set either, and I plan to give it to one of my husbands nieces to keep it in the family.

    I think you should of course decide what to do with your money based on your economic situation, goals and comfort level. I always love having plenty of money for the unexpected expenses that crop up. I also have some young friends who are not as privileged as some, and enjoy helping them out directly when I can.

  • CC November 1, 2010, 3:27 pm

    I loved reading this and the great ideas & comments! we just did matching bands (and picked out a special pattern we both liked, so they are unique) and I got a watch instead of a diamond ring as it’s something I use and enjoy every day — I’m not much of a expensive jewelry type of person and 18 years later, have never regretted that choice.
    I’m in the 50/50 camp – save part of it, give part of it away — either or both will make you feel better and help negate the memory of the first ring.

  • Michelle November 1, 2010, 3:40 pm

    Great post! The entire wedding process has become a consumer nightmare. There are several wedding magazines and TV shows dedicated to what you need to buy and have to make your “special day” so very unique. Except it’s all the same experience that everyone else is being sold! It’s difficult to go your own way because everyone expects you to have the cookie cutter wedding that they have all been trained to expect and purchase.

  • Patrick James November 1, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Great post! I know a lot of people who search for happiness through material things. Mind you they have a lot of nice things like designer clothes, nifty electronics and fancy cars. But never have I seen people more miserable. When it comes to material things, the only person you’re making happy is the person you’re handing your money off to. Anyway, on to your question, I think going either way would be a noble decision. Donating to a cause that you believe in is always good and self-less, but saving the money to remain self-sustaining is also good as it may help you help others should it come to that. If that makes sense

  • Heather November 1, 2010, 4:23 pm

    Put a vote in the save half and donate half column from me too!
    While I think diamonds are beautiful to look at, and I love my engagement ring, (mostly just because I love my husband and the story behind the purchase and proposal!) I doubt I’ll ever purchase any others. This really hit me in Tiffany’s in the Singapore airport. I was looking at all of the sparklers, and my husband came up, and said, “would you rather have one of those, or another overseas vacation?” Hmm… good point, I can’t imagine ever choosing possessions over experiences!

  • Jim Wilkins November 1, 2010, 4:29 pm

    I think you should keep the diamond, it will do wonders for reminding you of where you were and where you are now, and the lessons learned along the way. It meant a lot to you back then, and the sacrifices you made for it. Besides, it will make a great story and example to tell your children and grandchildren about.

  • Sheila Poettgen November 1, 2010, 4:41 pm

    Wearing your grandmother’s ring and the thought of love and commitment it renders is fabulous! How could diamonds ever beat that priceless and precious “gem”? I’m not married but am committed to my partner and wear his grandmother’s ring too. She knew I always loved it and days before she passed away she gave it to me, and told Kai & I to be good to each other. I love how she passed a simple token along with her loving advice. Like you, I think of my love for her and Kai when I put it on each morning. 🙂

    If I were in your shoes, I would probably donate a large part, if not all, of it to Global Witness (www.globalwitness.org), an NGO that works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide. I didn’t know about diamonds years ago either, but now that I do I think it’s really important to spread the word and try to inform folks so that we can start breaking the cycle of human rights violations. I hate that our country is still manufacturing consumer desire and marketing mined materials as “must have” for marital bliss. We could do so much better.

    Maybe keep a little of it to splurge on a special occassion to celebrate your & Logan’s hard work and continual movement toward your shared dreams. You both probably deserve a little reward for all you’ve accomplished!

    BUT, that’s just me — follow YOUR heart on this one. Whatever you & Logan decide, it will be just right for both of you. 🙂

  • Gail November 1, 2010, 5:15 pm

    Hmm I am thinking there needs to be a conversation with Logan first. Is the donation to the Yoga organization his idea, is saving his idea? What if he doesn’t want you to sell the set? What if you get next to nothing for the set? What if the set represents the struggle to pay it off and he sees it as an accomplishment you did together. If you both decide to sell, I think saving something is great and perhaps putting it towards a mutual goal or adventure you both want. I think a donation is always a good idea. Discuss together what kind of percentages X% is a donation, X% will be saved for Y. If you have discussed it with Logan what does he think?

  • Catherine Chandler November 1, 2010, 5:24 pm

    Great post, and thank you for sharing your experiences and insights! I am so lucky to be a metalsmith and have a bunch of fantastic friends. I recently became engaged (yay!) and neither of us have any family heirlooms to be passed down, but we were able to use a bunch of old gold settings for the band, and my friend who made the ring was able to get a beautiful diamond (recycled from a 1920’s ring!) for 1/3 of what the seller would normally charge. Sweet! So, I now have a gorgeous, handmade ring, with a very small footprint and price tag. We still had to put some money into it, but it’s a fraction of what a normal ring would cost, and was all cash.

    As far as the sale of your ring, I personally would do half and half donation and saving, but honestly, that is up to you to decide what is right for your life.

  • Christine November 1, 2010, 5:45 pm

    This article is so true!
    I got an engagement bike instead of a diamond ring – far more useful, since I didn’t have a car at the time. 19 years later, I still have the bike.
    I love diamonds, but I can’t justify owning them. A few years ago, I bought myself a cz eternity ring to satisfy my desire for ‘shiny’. It’s beautiful and guilt-free!

  • Rob November 1, 2010, 6:24 pm

    Save the money. It’s *your* money, after all. One day there’ll be a trip you really want, an experience you really want, or a tiny house you want to build.

    Giving it to charity is just a waste.

  • Colleen November 1, 2010, 6:24 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog, and felt moved to respond to this post. I was married young (hubby chose a smaller, very sweet engagement ring to surprise me with). We had 3 kids and struggled financially. I went to school while the kids were little, and acquired a skill that afforded us a better living. Three years later, my husband died suddenly of cancer at age 35. I’m happy for those tokens of love–that modest diamond, a bracelet and a couple other rings–and will be passing them to our kids sometime. Money hasn’t always been abundant since my dh died. So. My thoughts are to sell the ring if it really doesn’t set well with you. It was given to you in love, and the love has grown deeper. Since you asked, I would encourage you to donate some to a charity you both decide upon, then save the rest and invest it in something that will honor your relationship, when the time is right. Like your tiny little home, or the trip of a lifetime. And be grateful for every day you have together… You’ll figure it out.

    • Logan November 2, 2010, 9:17 am

      Hi Colleen,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your morale is very moving and we try to live by a similar sentiment everyday. Life is too precious to be worried about the little things and symbol are very powerful in our lives. One reason we minimize our possessions is so we recognize the emotional bonding that occurs with objects. Thanks for your vote of confidence in us! 🙂


  • CoCoYoYo November 1, 2010, 7:04 pm

    As much as I love the look of a diamond ring I don’t ever see myself wearing one. I think that I would prefer simple matching bands… Don’t rush your decision about the wedding set. Allow yourself time to think it through. If you do decide to sell keep half for you and Logan, if only to donate at a later date.

  • Vanessa November 1, 2010, 7:06 pm

    It’s amazing to look back and realize how unconscious I lived as well. The second you start seriously asking “why” (to yourself and others) immediate change starts to happen. I think it’s great that you decided to share this story with us. As for the money, I agree with Katie. Whatever feels right. You can’t lose 🙂

  • Heather November 1, 2010, 7:17 pm

    Amazing, honest, gut wrenching post. Thank you.

    I vote for donating. All of it. Give it away.

  • Rob November 1, 2010, 7:25 pm

    I’m fascinated by the various people suggesting you give the money away.

    Are you not saving your money to buy/build a small house on your land? You already own the ring(s) and with the exception that you need to turn them into cash before they are usable for anything else they are a resource you can use now towards a goal you have now. You see no benefit from giving the money away. If you use the money wisely *now* you can will it and a lot more to some useful charity when you die – or give it to *your* descendants if you decide to have children.

  • Perry A. Powers November 1, 2010, 7:31 pm

    “The Greatest Wealth is to Live Content with Little”


  • Jen November 1, 2010, 9:02 pm

    I always look forward to your posts each week, I email them to my husband so he can read them too. As far as your question I would say make it an even split. That way your doing someting good for someone else as well as yourself. We can’t help others until we take care of ourselves. The only thing that concerns me is have you and your husband discussed this? It’s none of my buisness I only ask because my husband would be devestated if I sold my rings. To him it’s a symbol of the beginning of “us”. We both had our wedding rings tattoo’d on but even still our rings are one of our 100 items we hang onto. It’s a different decision for everyone and if your memories aren’t the most pleasant with your rings I can undertand. I’m sure whatever you do will be the best thing for you 🙂

  • Brenda November 1, 2010, 10:34 pm

    Wow Tammy,

    You have quite a decision to make. I love the options that include your husband and any activity that will strengthen your marriage. Whatever you decide to do I trust that you will be fiscally responsible and that you will make it a memorable event.

    I myself have never had an affinity towards diamonds or any jewelry that causes debt. I think your idea to get rid of your ring is super awesome. What a great realization and positive example you are setting. Rings don’t make marriages, we do! Have fun with your decision and let us know what you decide.


  • Daria November 2, 2010, 1:27 am

    Hi Tammy,

    Purchased material wedding symbols should never have the outcome of creating bad feelings about them. And since the ring came to symbolize a financial burden on your marriage, that both your spouse and you have felt, I agree that selling it will work to alliviate the symbol which it now represents. The sale of the ring now presents a new opportunity to re-invest the money in a direction that can represent your more mature values. And I think, we can help guide you in a direction of possibilities, but ultimately, it should come down to what both you and your husband feel is right.

    Having said that, my own feelings, if I were in your shoes, I would probably search for a way to fill the void that the ring represents, in a direction that supports the marriage much as the ring was supposed to do (but failed): Something from the heart, something that both you and your husband create: renewed vows you both write (maybe have a professional calligrapher write, and frame it, or put in a family book); poetry; maybe a journal you both write in (ie: what I’m grateful for); maybe you both sit for a professional photographer for a family photograph and hang that photo as a showing of your commitment; a special plant you both take time to cultivate, or art you create for one each other, the possibilities are limitless! But a symbol you can both see or read (with minimal cost), and of which you can both return to in the future to reinforce your values of commitment.

    Best Wishes,

    • Logan November 2, 2010, 9:02 am

      Hi Daria, 🙂

      Great ideas! Thanks for the input!


  • The Everyday Minimalist November 2, 2010, 4:50 am

    This is so true, Tammy!

    We can get so caught up in our things and our lives that we forget what we’re living for

  • Tracy November 2, 2010, 8:02 am

    My vote is to donate half of the $ and save half of the $.

  • Arron November 2, 2010, 8:25 am

    I think you should sell the ring, take the money and use some of it to share an experience with Logan and split the rest between your neices and/or nephews for their college fund, or you could donate it to a charity you both care about.

  • Naomi November 2, 2010, 8:27 am

    I may be the only person who feels this way, Tammy, but I’m reluctant to encourage you to sell it. It’s not because it brings up negative memories — that I understand completely — but because I’m not sure you’ll get anything close to what you originally paid for it. Because you put it on a card, the ring cost you even more than what you and Logan paid for it. And you *have* paid for it, both literally and figuratively … financial lessons can be really painful, but you’ve also grown tremendously in the process.

    My inclination would be to turn the ring into something else, like a pair of simple diamond earrings, or or keep it to give to someone you guys love when the time is right. Your ring could even be a future heirloom, regardless of how you feel about it. That might be a more positive way to think about it.

    If you do sell it, I think you should invest the proceeds in something that will benefit you and Logan. Your tiny house fund, savings, retirement, whatever. You’re free to donate the money, but not doing so wouldn’t be selfish. I agree with Katie about that.

    Advertisers and popular culture put so much pressure (both direct and subliminal) on couples to spend, spend, spend themselves into debt for all things wedding-related, starting with the engagement ring. And even though I know better, I felt that pressure, too. One example: A co-worker got engaged several months after I did. Her fiance gave her a ring studded with big diamonds — I think it cost more than my entire wedding did. I love the small, simple solitaire my fiance got me, and I’m so glad he didn’t go into debt to buy it, but I felt so self-conscious the next time we had a staff meeting that I hid my hand under the conference room table.

    Was my response rational? Of course not. Am I human? Of course … and so are you.

    • Logan November 2, 2010, 9:26 am

      Hi Naomi! 🙂

      Thanks so much for your comment! You bring up some great points. I think we are leaning towards the half and half vote. That way we could create good things from such a little object. 🙂

  • Brendan November 2, 2010, 8:41 am

    Sarah Haskins in her “Target Women” series has a hilarious and related video on jewely:

  • Tricia November 2, 2010, 9:49 am

    Tammy, this is an awesome post! My husband has been a ‘bigger is better’ kind of guy…. regardless of the cost. I have always leaned more towards a simpler is better. We have been married 13 yrs this year and had our fair share compromises. Unfortunately, we are also still feeling the effects of his insistance to buy bigger/better even when we didn’t have the cash. Hopefully that will be completely behind us in a few years. Thanks to life in general (and this latest recession) he is starting to see things in a different light!

    Thanks again Tammy for this wonder post and to all of the others who commented… it is wonderful to know that I am not to only one out there who felt that the true meaning in the heart shines through much brighter than the brilliance of any material item.

  • Clara November 2, 2010, 10:09 am

    I would say you should save the money — and put it towards creating the future that you and Logan desire. He originally purchased it for you to make you happy; you should put the money towards your true happiness together, such as the tiny house you dream about or an awesome vacation!

    I have a lovely wedding set that my husband picked out for me – he is big on gifts. He wanted to “upgrade” my ring on our 5-year-anniversary, but I told him I didn’t need a new ring. I love my set because he picked it out for me, and it’s simple and beautiful. He insists he wants to upgrade my ring one day… but I keep insisting I love the ring I have, and it’s special because it is what he gave me on our wedding day!

  • Kori Golightly November 2, 2010, 10:10 am

    I love this post, especially the part about searching. I’ve been doing a lot of searching lately, but only now am I conscious of it and the reasons behind it. Thank you.

    PS I agree with Yveatte about what to do with the ring money.

  • puerhan November 2, 2010, 10:15 am

    Great lessons! I’d vote for save half, donate half. 🙂

  • Rich November 2, 2010, 10:19 am

    Have you read “The Power of Now”? Talks alot about living in the present versus in the unattainable future or past…

  • Leigh Purtill November 2, 2010, 11:29 am

    Tammy, I vote for a little of both. 🙂 I think donating some of it is a wonderfully generous idea but I think you should also save some for yourself and your husband (to celebrate an important anniversary, perhaps?). I love that you wear your grandmother’s ring – sentimental jewelry is always the best. When I was married, my husband and I had a very tiny civil ceremony in the backyard of a small Italian restaurant where he had proposed. I wore my 90 year old grandmother’s wedding dress (she attended!) and my mother’s shoes. New is not always better.

  • Naomi November 2, 2010, 12:18 pm

    @Logan: *Thumbs up.*

    @Brendan: That video is hilarious. I’m sending the link to my sister.

  • Marlena November 2, 2010, 12:40 pm

    I would do both – donate some and save a bunch of it. I can relate to this story. When we got married we had to pay for 90% of it and our rings totaled $230 – both of them. Once I got pregnant the metal interacted strangely and I needed to wear a new ring. I started wearing a $15 silver ring my mom got me as a gift, and honestly, I kind of like it better. I still fantasize about the spectacular art deco ring I could wear, but before that I want to pay off all of our debt, maximize our savings, re-do the basement and take another international trip. Maybe after that’s all done. Maybe.

  • DJ November 2, 2010, 1:24 pm

    I’d recommend saving the money, unless you already have a substantial savings.

    You just never know when you might have an unexpected illness or some other unforeseen need for a savings account. A hospital stay can really add up, even with insurance.

  • Rob November 2, 2010, 2:00 pm

    Wow… That’s a lot of commenting..

    Is the topic so “hot” because it involves wedding rings, I wonder, or would people be equally interested if it involved an expensive decorative pot. Or an expensive car. Or anything else that isn’t wired into our weird concept of marriage as something “special”? Perhaps the idea of expensive rings is tied to the idea that if a lot of money is spent on the marrying process then there’s perhaps a chance the marriage won’t fail?

    • Tammy November 2, 2010, 2:12 pm

      @Rob – a very interesting point indeed! I think it’s that later…Pop culture tells us if a lot of money is spent on a wedding, it will last longer and be happier. I don’t know if that true or not. But your questions are good ones. 🙂

      Thank you all for the suggestions and thoughtful comments! I had no idea people would be so interested in this topic. 🙂

  • Amy November 2, 2010, 2:06 pm

    If I were in your shoes, I would save or invest the money from the sale of the ring. Like DJ said, an unforseen need may arise.

    Down the road, if you find you do not need the money and still have adequate savings, then you could donate it.

    Also, if you have ever though about having children, it could be the start of their college fund.

    Love your blog!

  • Katy November 2, 2010, 2:06 pm

    I love this post. So honest. My sister and I keep discussing it. I’m single, she’s married and we’re both fans of diamonds. To the point where I bought myself a right hand ring last year. Your post reminded me of a story of a friend’s grandmother who got a carpet as her engagement ring because she was a nurse and could’t wear rings. I thought it was the most romantic gesture and the carpet was beautiful, and was used everyday by everyone in the house. When I was 12 and first heard the story I thought it sounded too practical but now I’m thinking my own right hand ring would be better spent on a used bike.
    Thanks for your honesty.

  • rob November 2, 2010, 2:16 pm

    @Tammy: Hopefully the longevity of *your* marriage will be epic. Despite the rings.

    @Katy: In my circle of male friends, a right-hand ring means “divorced but unwilling to part with the engagement ring”. Unlike a bike, of course.

  • Sarah Rachel November 2, 2010, 2:26 pm

    Wow, what a resonate post. My mother did not have diamonds, and so when the time came for my boyfriend to buy my engagement ring, I didn’t necessarily think of the classic diamond solitaire.

    I had a favorite art gallery in Alabama that also sold jewelry. When my boyfriend visited me in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he slyly suggested going to the gallery. There we found a moonstone set in sterling silver and simple band handmade by a local artist. We purchased the set for about $120. With the bag in hand, Stephen, now my husband, proposed to me right there in the street while church bells chimed.

    The moonstone has a reflective quality–its deep charcoal stone shows my mirror image when I peer at it too closely. I kind of like that–the ability to still see myself in my marriage.

    My engagement and wedding rings are an oddity; most folks don’t know they’re wedding rings unless they ask. But I can look down and see the beautiful August day I got engaged, and my reflection. The rings are a bit like me–different, quirky, ruggedly handsome.

    Diamonds may be forever, but I’d like to think, so is my marriage.

  • Rachel J November 2, 2010, 5:05 pm

    This is an excellent post. Forwarding to a bunch of friends and reposting myself.
    Add to your list the ongoing cost of insurance. We pay over $600 a year for ring insurance, have been married three years next week so that is $1800. Eeek!

  • Jeanie November 2, 2010, 6:50 pm

    I’m new here, and slowly dipping further and further into your life & experiences…love what you’re doing, Mr. & Mrs. Minimalist Revolution Starter of the Year. 😉 Your honesty is wonderful to see.

    I’ve worn a “placeholder” silver Celtic ring to stop the empty feeling for 7 years now. 🙂 You know, where you twiddle your fingers around the ring finger to “find” the ring that’s no longer there?

    I’ve joked with the boyfriend that we should go camping in Arkansas and dig me up a diamond for a ring! At least it’s blood free, “earned” and a funny story, eh?

  • Courtney Carver November 2, 2010, 7:45 pm

    I am not a jewelry person but do love my engagement/wedding ring. That being said, the ring I remember when I think about my wedding is not my own. The ring I remember came in a little box that my husband gave to my daughter after he proposed to me. It was his Swedish Grandmother’s ring and he had “I love you”inscribed on the inside of the ring in Swedish.

    He gave her the box and when she opened it, there was a note at the top of the box that said, “Will you be my daughter?” That moment was as important as our wedding and made me understand how great our marriage would be.

    • HS November 4, 2010, 11:17 am

      That is a beautiful memory! What a great “catch” both you and your daughter got.

  • Nina Yau November 3, 2010, 6:14 am

    Way to go, Tammy. I’m not a fan of jewelry AT ALL, that’s why I don’t own a single ring, earring set, necklace, bracelet, watch, etc. But I can see how lusting after the prettiest diamond set is a big challenge for many women.

    I have many female friends, when getting engaged or getting married, who talk about this ring and that ring, when I think to myself, “Will that REALLY make you happy? Truly?” Asking yourself this question before ANY purchase, really, can be a great realization that what we need to be happy, we already have — our health, family, close friends, life experiences. Stuff just gets in the way of all this.

  • Von November 3, 2010, 8:04 am

    Your post reminds me of the foolish, insecure, DeBeers brainwashed, 20-something I was. I remembered wanting an engagement ring more expensive (all for the wrong reasons, of course) than what my husband (fiancee 23 years ago) felt comfortable buying. We did compromise on something in between. These days, I only wear a very simple, inexpensive and plain wedding band because I realized I don’t like to wear jewelry. The said diamond ring is somewhere in the back of a drawer in my bathroom. These days I’m happy, confident in who I am, wiser, and no longer in on the rat race. Every time I see a DeBeers ad, it makes me gag.

  • joanne wright November 4, 2010, 1:16 am

    I very rarely wear my wedding band (and hardly ever my engagement) but my hubby always wears his so when we go out together I look like the ‘other woman’ 🙂 – quite exciting really!

  • Dmarie November 4, 2010, 7:11 am

    Yeah, ditch the ring if there are bad feelings attached to it, and give the $$ to whatever makes your heart sing again. After watching the movie “Blood Diamond,” I lost all desire for diamonds. Knowing people are literally dying for diamonds sure removes their luster. I gave my diamond to my daughter, who was close to becoming officially engaged. Her boyfriend paid to have the stone set in a new, lovely mounting. I now wear my grandmother’s engagement ring inherited by my dad & gifted to me. When Grandad bought it at auction a few years after they married, the ring was 75 years old. That makes my ring 150+ years old, so I’m hoping the diamond is clean, as in no-blood-spilled.

  • HS November 4, 2010, 11:13 am

    This was a very interesting post for me to read…especially at this time in my life. I have been minimizing and I am currently working through David Damron’s Project M-31. But even before starting this project, I weeded out my jewelry box. As I was doing so, I kept looking at my engagement ring and wondering if I would be happier without it. I too wear an inherited simple diamond band from my grandmother and I kind of think I like the look of it by itself on my hand. Sure, my engagement ring has sentimental value and we didn’t go broke in purchasing it. But it’s not simple and that’s where I want to be in all things lately. I know I would never be able to get out of it what we did pay (have you looked into that yourself? Jewelry is one of the biggest mark-ups out there)…unless I lose it and get the insured value (hmmm, trip to Paris anyone?). This is definitely one I will have to think about. I could pass it on to my belle-fille (step-daughter) some day too.

  • Rona November 4, 2010, 5:55 pm

    I was thrilled that we spent so much on my husband’s wedding band. It came in handy when we fell on hard times. We sold it and pay bills.
    I would save the money.

  • jess November 5, 2010, 7:38 am

    Save 1/3 in the bank (or invest it). Donate 1/3 to a charity of your choice. And spend 1/3 on something fun for the two of you, like a weekend trip or some couples cooking classes or some good bottles of wine – whatever you two like to do! 🙂

  • Diane November 5, 2010, 9:45 am

    We consistently donate 10% of our monetary increase across the board and then put away anything extra for a rainy day! It’s been raining alot lately these past 2 years and we’re grateful to have lived so thoughtfully! Thanks for this great post.

  • Angella November 7, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Save it and put it towards the little ones college fund.

  • Tami (Teacher Goes Back to School) November 10, 2010, 4:53 pm

    i got married 10 years ago and still wear the $20 white gold simple band that we purchased a few days before we eloped and traveled to europe (where we stayed with friends on our “honeymoon” and had a blast).

    i know if i’d gotten married in my early 20s i would have gotten something much fancier because i was still living the more-is-better life. i gave that nonsense up by my late 20s.

    i am glad to know i’m not the only person that doesn’t think more-is-better when it comes to weddings and the rings – although sometimes it feels like it. even perfectly reasonable women seem to lose their marbles when it comes to weddings (and baby stuff…)

    i’m not going to weigh in on the what you should do with your money or ring, but i am looking forward to hearing what you decide to do.

    thanks for writing so eloquently on living simply.

  • Berit, Sweden November 13, 2010, 2:45 am

    Hi Tammy!

    I got married 10 years ago, and the wedding ring, with diamonds, was too expensive and not even what I really wanted. After gaining some weight I happily stopped wearing both rings. They didn’t mean that much to me anyway.

    Two years ago I unfortunately got divorced. The rings were just laying around in my bathroom. I considered getting rid of them, but realised that I definitely want to keep them. I have two beautiful boys and maybe sometime in the future I might get grandchildren, and a possibility to pass on the rings.

    I have a necklace made from my grandmother’s wedding ring. It’s simply been shaped to a heart and the inscription is still there. I don’t have a lot of stuff, and not much of value. But the heartshaped wedding ring is something I really value. It reminds me of my grandmother who was a really special woman.

    It’s the same thing with photographs from the wedding. My children have one mom and one dad. Even though we’re no longer married we are my children’s history. These kind of “life events” may not always end up the way we want, but they’re still milestones and can be cherished one way or another.

    I hope you consider keeping the ring for a while. Maybe let it stay in a safe at the bank if you want it out of sight. Even though the ring doesn’t mean anything to you at this time it’s still a part of your history.

    If you truly know what you want to do with the money from selling the ring and you are deep-down-sure that’s the way to go, then go ahead and sell it. But until you are really content with that decision my vote goes for keeping the ring.

  • Bernice November 13, 2010, 11:10 pm

    Keep the ring. Move it to your right hand and wear it with joy as a enduring reminder of the priceless life lessons you have learned because of it. Don’t trivialize this evolution by selling the ring. Jewelry isn’t worth much on the secondary market. I agree the family ring on your left hand is more romantic. Let the lesson ring be a reminder for you of your new priorities and thoughtfulness. Save up now and take your hubby on some memorable getaways. Use the lesson ring as a reminder to be a kind and loving mate every day moving forward.

  • Becky November 15, 2010, 9:59 am

    I would keep the ring set, you have already bought it, it’s a representation of a thought and a dream, and sometimes you need to keep the dream alongside your reality and enjoy them both. It will be a reminder too not to go out on a limb financially when it’s not a best idea, but enjoy the one extravagance and the reminder of love. It’s just a representation, but it’s way cheaper than the cheapest economy car, which will be toast in a few years(car, not ring)the ring lasts a lifetime, just have fun with it;)

  • Michelle November 16, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Great article. I love this blog. It was my introduction to minimalism. I like the idea and wanted to look into it . Where are you selling your ring?

  • Naomi November 18, 2010, 2:34 pm

    So many interesting comments on this post, people.

    I was thinking more about it on my way to work this morning, after reading this post and some related ones on some of my other favorite blogs (like A Practical Wedding, Miss Minimalist and Be More With Less). And I’ve changed my mind … I think you should sell it. It’s long paid for, and if seeing it dredges up unhappy memories, there’s no reason to keep it. I’ve kept my share of things that made me feel like that, and I’ve never, ever regretted getting rid of them. So sell it, and spend the money on whatever makes both of you happy. A 50/50 split sounds perfect. Whatever you decide to do will be the right decision.


    • Logan November 18, 2010, 11:39 pm

      Thanks Naomi, 🙂

      Your story really stuck with us also. Although we will never be able to completely get rid of status symbols I think the big diamond ring really stuck out to both of us as something that we just are not anymore. I think the time has come to let it go and perhaps someone else can have great memories with it instead. 🙂

  • Claudia November 21, 2010, 2:45 pm

    I would save it. Who knows when you might need it . Or maybe you and your husband can spend it on a combined gift that you both can enjoy . Such as a dream vacation. Or some type of experience were you could look back on a memory together instead of an item.

  • Older and wiser January 5, 2011, 4:08 am

    When we got married we had no money and I certainly didn’t get an engagement ring. After so many years, my husband took me to jewelry store to get a 1 carat diamond setting. I then took a diamond my mother gave me – when I was a teenager – and put that stone on the band. I believe the stone she gave me is a .58 stone and it looks great on the ring I’m wearing now. I think I got all that done 18 years into our marriage. I believe we spent about $800 for the setting. We got a fantastic deal – seriously! Of course, he paid cash. Now, for our 25th wedding anniversary I’m going to sell the .58 diamond my mom gave me and use that to get a 1.5 diamond for the center. We will pay for it in cash. Upgrading, over the years, is not a bad idea! Hey, I couldn’t even upgrade when we first started because I had nothing to upgrade to!
    But, for most people, If you can afford it, and you want it great. If you can’t afford it, and you want it, wait until you can afford it. I guess I was much happier getting a home and paying that off before I wanted to invest in a huge diamond wedding ring. So if you can’t do it right away, save up a little at a time. Sometimes family members have diamonds they don’t wear anymore. When my grandmother passed away, I received her huge diamond ring. I would never break up all the diamonds in there to take out the center stone. But since I can now afford a big rock on my own now, I’m going to get what I wanted when we first got married. It may have taken some time, but now we can afford it and still live very comfortably. I hope that makes sense to everyone out there. My home is almost paid off. I’m only 44. I started out with nothing. I must admit, having nothing isn’t so great either, but you can work towards your goals a little at a time. In my case, it was worth the wait! 🙂

  • chris January 18, 2011, 12:44 pm

    I just discovered you blog and I really like it.

    I think another thing to keep in mind is we all have possessions that don’t fit our current selves. I could get all smug about how I have a $50 gold band that we bought 11 years ago when DH and I married, but we have other items that are not consistent with who we are now.

    The biggest (both in size and expense) is our 2002 Chevy Avalanche. I have never enjoyed driving it (but enjoy riding it still) but it doesn’t reflect who either DH or I are now. However, since it still gets us from point A to point B and we are not in a situation to be completely car free and it paid for and well maintained it stays for now.

  • Kathy February 28, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Just found your blog today from my partner. We’re trying to simplify, though the presence of teenage son from a materialist world (not ours) has made it more difficult. Anyway, I love the story about your ring and really think that it reflects on many things that are wrong with our world today. We’re planning our wedding and I’m confronted by the waste of it all quite a bit.

    I would think that unless you are where you need to be financially (and I gather from the comments that you aren’t quite there), that you ought to keep the money from the ring. I wouldn’t throw it away from yourself completely – it is still 1) your wedding ring and 2) a reflection of who you are – even if you aren’t that person anymore, that person has shaped who you are today and you should embrace it, not pretend it doesn’t exist. I think it would make that money more meaningful to invest it (savings, whatever) and make the money that caused you heartache work for you and now help you realize your dreams. It still has value (the ring or the money) and you should embrace it.

    If you truly feel you should give some of it away, how about taking whatever the credit card interest rate was and donate the percentage?

  • Sally February 28, 2011, 7:44 pm

    I like having my rings, though I was never a girl who was into jewelry for value as much as a look-if it’s pretty and cheap, I don’t care:). I am not terribly materialistic, nor do I usually crave very expensive things, but I figure a splurge here or there balances the fact I often buy clothes at thrift shops or deep discount stores;) I also get things for special deals(1 ct. total ring I bought myself to replace a broken wedding ring I got for 1/3 price $500) I figure I spend that much on groceries in not a huge amount of time with four people, and I can look at it every day and enjoy the beauty-zirconias don’t shine for long, diamonds do. On the other hand, I LOVE my $9 wool thrift shop coat and enjoy it just as much(and the $7 nylon coat too and my $10 jeans). The ring is something that will last many years though, and the coat not as many. So price per wearing is a consideration. I wear my rings all the time, so the cost per wearing will be pennies and every time I look at it, it’s a pleasure because it’s pretty. For a piece of lasting wearable art, it’s not expensive;) I got a (1) diamond Bulova watch on clearance for $79 bucks too. I love it and wear it constantly-price per wearing…probably a few cents and it’s waterproof and very comfortable.

  • wise March 7, 2011, 8:21 am

    I got exquisite diamond jewelry, and I’m not in debt over it. If someone gives you nice jewelry wear it. If you don’t like it sell it. If you need to go into debt over it, then don’t do it. It’s your approach toward finances that counts. You can very easily go to a pawn shop or Craigslist to get a diamond ring for less money. Or you could buy a small diamond where they have a trade-up policy and keep on trading up. I’d just avoid debt in general. I think the only safe debt would be a mortgage, if you get a good deal. Other than that, don’t go into debt!

  • Leila March 9, 2011, 12:49 am

    When my husband and I got “engaged” (AKA mutually decided to get married), I used my great-grandmother’s engagement ring. While it had a lot of sentimental value at first, it ended up being a bit of a source of contention because my husband had never actually proposed, much to my deep dismay. After six years of feeling a little bitter every time I looked at the ring, I finally just stopped wearing it. I sent my husband the link to a ring I found on Etsy that I loved (handmade faceted moonstone) and asked that he get it for me for Christmas. I kept checking the listing and it never sold out. I was so disappointed that I had even ASKED for the damn ring and he STILL didn’t get it for me! On Christmas, I opened the package from him and there was the ring! He knew I’d be checking the listing, so he asked the seller to create a new listing that he could purchase. =)

    That ring was probably $75 shipped, but means more to me than any other piece of jewelry I own. Add to it the two slim silver bands that I wear with it (one for each kid) and I’m one happy lady. =)

  • Erika March 22, 2011, 11:58 pm

    Really great post! So true, all we really ever need is the present moment, and it is impossible to live happily if we live in something that was or something we imagine will be…
    Donating the money for a good cause is really nice, but if you think you are more in need to save it, there absolutely nothing wrong with that either. I think that if you are hesitating you should wait a while longer before you decide, the right opportunity will find you and you might help someone or some people out in a way, just when they think hope is gone…Believe me…
    Was very nice to “meet you”, first time around on your site, and I loved it!

  • ahmet koray April 20, 2011, 7:09 am

    i’ve just read the blog and i must confess that i admired your new way of thought. but selling the wed-rings is really the best decision? i am aware that selling them fits with your minimalist way of life, but don’t they still symbolize the holly marrige that you and Logan have? or am i just stuck with my consumer oriented mind? loves from ankara, turkey.

  • Annette April 29, 2011, 6:00 am

    I like this post too! been reading thru your posts 🙂
    I would donate some and save the rest.

    Rings symbolise your hopes and aspirations, probably more than they do about celebrating the present time, so it’s very mindful to be aware and live in the present and appreciate what you have now.

  • Veronica July 6, 2011, 12:51 pm

    I just got engaged and I’m very happy with my heirloom wedding ring. It belonged to his grandmother 🙂 My love talks about getting me another ring, but I think that money could be put to better use (a trip, savings, what have you). I always thought I wanted to pick out my “perfect” ring, but having one with a family history is what makes it truly ideal.

  • wedding marketing August 11, 2011, 12:57 am

    Love this post- so true that a diamon is not a necessity to a happy marriage. Agree with the others- if you have saved up enough for an emergency fund, then donate at least part of it.

  • Beth August 15, 2011, 10:58 am

    We went shopping for an engagement ring and ended up buying a freezer at Sam’s Club. I know how romantic, I’m grateful for it every time I get food out of it to feed our 3 kids.

  • hassan November 14, 2011, 8:17 am

    Great post and great work. I would keep coming back !