An engagement ring is a major purchase — here’s the best way to pay for it

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engagement ring

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  • Buying an engagement ring is exciting, but it takes a lot of research. Paying for the ring is something you’ll need to consider, too.
  • There are a few different ways to pay for a ring, including saving and paying outright or taking out a loan.
  • One of the easiest ways to pay without depleting your cash reserves – and without having to pay interest or loan fees – is to use a credit card with a 0% introductory APR. That way, you can take your time to pay without having to pay interest (until the introductory period is over).
  • There are a few options, but our choice for the best card with a 0% introductory APR is the Chase Freedom Unlimited. After the 15 month 0% introductory period, a variable 16.99-25.74% APR applies.

Buying an engagement ring is a big deal. It’s a thing that takes research, patience, and decisiveness. As Josh Marion, a vice president at Ritani, an online diamond and jewelry retailer pointed out in an interview with Business Insider, buying an engagement ring “is a decision on par with buying a car or a house – you can’t just jump into it.”

Of course, whenever you start thinking about an engagement ring, it’s not long before the cost comes into play.

Whenever you decide you’re ready to propose to that special someone, how much you spend on the ring, whether you’re resetting a diamond that has been in your family for generations or buying a new one, is a personal decision. There’s a ton of advice out there, and plenty of schools of thought, but there are no hard and fast rules; ignore anyone who tells you that you absolutely have to spend three months’ salary, or that you have to spend a certain amount for each year you’ve been together.

However much you decide to spend, though, chances are it’ll be a lot – likely the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought. When I proposed to my (now) wife, that was certainly the case – not counting college and grad school, of course.

One thing that’s for sure, though, is that you shouldn’t spend outside of your means. When you’re ready to pop the question, and in a financial position to do so, there are a few ways to pay for an engagement ring.

The first, and most obvious, is to save up enough money and buy it outright. However, there are reasons you may not want to do this. For instance, you may want to keep a cash cushion in case of emergency, rather than committing to spending it all at once. After all, that’s why people finance things like new appliances or cars.

The next option is to finance the ring with a loan arranged through your jeweler. Using loans to make major purchases and keep cash on hand can be a smart financial move, and in some cases, the loans offered by your jeweler may fit your needs. However, other times they may not have the best terms or interest rates, and you generally won’t get any cash back or rewards on the purchase.

Fortunately, there’s a third option, which is what I went with. Instead of taking out a traditional loan, or financing a ring through a credit card offered by the jeweler, you can open a new credit card that has a 0% introductory APR on purchases for a certain amount of time.

jewelry shopping

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When I bought the ring, I opened a card that had that introductory APR for the first 15 months. That meant that instead of paying cash all at once, I was able to charge the ring to the card, and pay it off over a bit more than a year without having to pay any interest. As a nice cherry on top, I even got a signup bonus for opening the card, and cash back on the ring itself, which I was able to put right toward paying it off.

It was basically free money for buying the ring.

The key is that you make sure you pay off the whole thing before the introductory APR ends and the normal one becomes effective. In my case, I decided to be safe and divided the total cost of the engagement ring by 14. I paid that amount each month, and that way, I was finished paying off the whole thing a month early.

A great feature is that you have extra flexibility if you go this route. If you come into some extra cash, or decide that you want to just finish the payments from savings, you can pay off the balance in full at any time.

While there are a few different cards that offer introductory APRs, the one I would pick now is the Freedom Unlimited card from Chase.

That’s because in addition to offering a long 15-month term on the 0% introductory purchase and balance transfer APR (which goes up to a normal 16.99-25.74% variable APR afterward), it offers 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent, and a sign-up bonus of $150 when you spend at least $500 in the first three months of opening the card.

Put another way, if you were using the card to finance a $3,000 purchase, you’d get $195 total cash back.

Plus, if you have a premium card from Chase, like the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred, you can turn your Freedom Unlimited’s cash back into Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead, and move those points to the premium card. That way, you can do things like transfer the points to frequent flyer partners, which is usually a much more lucrative way to use them than as cash back.

Regardless of which route you choose to go toward paying for the ring, this is an exciting time, but you have a lot of research to do. If you’re not sure where to start, Ritani offers a number of guides on picking out diamonds and settings, as well as how to go about actually buying the ring.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited card from Insider Picks’ partner The Points Guy.