Is there a tiny (or not so tiny) voice in your head whispering in your ear about the cost of engagement rings these days?

Do you have a practical side that does not want to be making payments on your ring for years to come? Or are you a little on the broke side? If so, whichever voice it is you hear, there are ring options that won’t eat into your nest egg and that still meet all your engagement rings.

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Inexpensive engagement ring using cubic zirconia from

Whether you prefer the simple elegance of a streamlined ring or the fancy bling bling of diamonds, affordable options are out there. All you have to do is determine your style.

What are your options? It all depends on what you’re looking for, and sometimes what you already have.

If, for example, you have a family ring available, nothing beats the sentimental value of the heirloom piece. You can use it as is, or you can add to it for a minimal cost. There may also be the option of redesigning the existing ring.

Whatever the situation, this can be a great option that is not only affordable, but a wonderful representation and continuation of your family traditions.

Some brides prefer a simple look that does not incorporate a bunch of rocks, and sometimes no rocks at all. There’s nothing wrong with this! Your engagement ring should say something about who you are, and if who you are is a rock climber rather than rock wearer, you may want and need something more basic.

Or perhaps you think that your relationship isn’t based on the size of a diamond. Whatever the reason, using a simple band can be a fabulous choice, and there are many options out there for this very design. Just don’t let a jeweler try to talk you into something that’s not right for you (and this goes for everyone, regardless of design style).

What if you want some more flash? Do you have more options? Absolutely!

You have a few choices to consider.

One option is to use an alternative rock. If you love the look of a diamond, but can’t or don’t want to pay the price, consider using a cubic zirconia or moissanite. Both gems are difficult to distinguish from the real thing (even jewelers need special equipment) and are much more affordable. Will they last as long as a diamond?

Perhaps not, but they are very durable, and if you shop around, you can find a quality gem. For all the bling without the sting, have a fabulous range of affordable engagement rings made with cubic zirconias. And the best part is some of them cost no more than a meal at a family restaurant.

Another option is to consider a different gem from a diamond, such as an emerald, ruby, or sapphire. Yes, many of these gems are expensive as well, but you can look into different options by talking with your jeweler. Many of these stones are available in “home grown” (okay, laboratory grown) varieties that are still brilliant, but less costly.

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One other way to cut costs is to examine the type of metal used for the band and setting. Silver will be less expensive, but also less durable. However, it is still a great option. Platinum, on the other end of the spectrum, is silver-colored but the most expensive metal. Various golds (both white and yellow) fall in between.

The last option is to browse one of the online jewelry auction sites. Of course, the biggest and best is eBay,where you can often find amazing bargains on inexpensive engagement rings. Of course, you need to beware of scams that are commonly created by unethical businesses. You can read more about such practices here:

Quite often the auctions start with a reserve price as little as $1 on rings worth many thousands of dollars, so the chances of picking up a great deal are pretty good. Give eBay a go, if only to check out the amazing prices you’ll find. If you haven’t visited eBay before, simply register your details, do a search for “engagement rings” and start bidding.

Do you have to settle for something less than you expected?

Not necessarily.

Remember, your ring is a symbol of your relationship, and wearing a three-carat diamond does not mean that your relationship is more solid. Also, keep in mind that you can always upgrade over the years.

In many ways, your ring is like a house. Very few couples start out in the home of their dreams – they gradually move up from one home to another. You can do the same thing with your ring: If you start with a cubic zirconia, replace it in a few years with a diamond. Or celebrate your ten-year anniversary with a new ring. The important factor is your relationship and the love you share with your spouse.