At the beginning of each year I set goals as to where we plan to spend our money. Some years it’s a big family vacation, sometimes it’s big projects around the house. Very rarely (OK – never) is the plan to spend a big chunk just on myself.
Last year though, we totally blew our plan so that Mike and I could get new wedding bands. While I say it was a splurge and that we blew our original plan (both true) this large expenditure was not done on a whim. We had been looking (and saving what we could) for years for a new ring for me.
Let me give you some background. Neither one of us wore our original wedding rings. My original ring didn’t fit anymore and I personally didn’t like it very much (I know that some of you will find that horrible – it is what it is). Mike didn’t wear his because of work, the gym, it was outdated, etc. The fact that neither of us wore our rings didn’t bother either one of us because while many people view their rings as a sacred symbol of their love, both of us view our actions within our marriage as more important than a physical symbol. What did bother Mike was that I didn’t have a ring that I loved. He felt that after being married for 23 years I should have a ring that I absolutely loved.
While I’ve wanted a ring for a while (and we’ve looked and looked and looked), I didn’t find one that I absolutely loved, one that spoke to my heart. I’m one of those people that if I don’t love it I’d rather do without. Why spend money on something that’s only “just OK”? The other problem was the budget, the rings I did like were more than we wanted to spend.
On our last cruise (almost two years ago) I found a ring that I really liked, for $40. Of course it was costume jewelry but I decided to buy it anyway. This was the perfect way for me to decide if this was the kind of ring I wanted. After wearing it for a while we decided to start looking at real wedding rings again.
Over the years we’ve looked at hundreds of rings, unfortunately I’m not exaggerating, without finding anything I liked. Since I now knew at least the style that I wanted, shopping for a ring was a little easier. We went to a local jewelry store we hadn’t stopped at before and found the ring that we both fell in love with immediately. Mike actually found the ring first and said “that’s the ring I want you to have”. Slight problem – the price. I have trouble spending money on myself. Yes, I know I’m worth it but since we’re not rolling in the dough it just seems (to me at least) that the prudent thing to do is to spend extra money improving the house, doing something for the family, etc.
Instead of buying the ring then, I decided to keep looking. Maybe I could find the ring cheaper somewhere else. We also decided to amp up our savings since we had an actual dollar amount in mind . After looking at A LOT more stores and various rings without finding one we liked as much we decided to get the one I fell in love with.
So, eight months after we first found the ring (I told you – this was a very emotional decision for me!) we went back and bought it. We used the money from the ring fund as well as some bonus money and our tax refund. Fortunately my negotiating skills paid off since I was able to get quite a bit knocked off the original price which allowed us to buy Mike a new wedding band as well.
While we do still need new windows, I enjoy having a nice piece of jewelry. The best part however, is the joy that Mike gets out of seeing me wear a ring that we both love as well as now having a ring of his own that he enjoys wearing. I truly didn’t understand how important buying these rings was to him and that I was robbing him of some of the job by making such a big deal out of not spending the money. Sometimes we get so wrapped in our desire to be frugal we forget how much it can mean that we accept a gift when it has so much more meaning to the giver.