The 299 Engagement Ring Issue

This blog entry come in two parts:

  1. My take regarding the issue.
  2. Losing my engagement + wedding rings.

I think everyone has already seen this viral post about a girl who complained about her boyfriend’s cheap ₱299 engagement ring, and saw a popular influencer comment, “You deserve what you tolerate.”

Here’s my take.

  • The whole “you need to spend 3 months of your salary on the engagement ring” is a socially constructed value that DeBeers came up with. Sure, nothing wrong if you want that, but I personally prefer how the Koreans do it: couple rings. You buy your rings together, you get to pick the style. It’s a joint effort.

  • I read the comments about the guy not giving enough effort etc. Girl, you check that effort THROUGHOUT the relationship, not just the engagement. I’ve seen love bombers spare no effort and money during engagements, but then still ended up annulling the marriage because of so many factors (e.g. love bombing unsustainably). And please. The effort must come from both parties, not just the guy.

    Heck, my husband isn’t the most romantic guy in the world (can’t imagine him planning his own birthday party, let alone an engagement, both our wedding preps he’s like, “here’s my salary, I’ll drive us anywhere, just log the details on Google Calendar/Maps”), but he makes sure the house is safe for me to move into because he knows my ADHD-induced problematic coordination will result in injuries. He builds things for me to use. He’s a polar bear, but will turn off the A/C when he notices that I’m not comfortable. Picks fights with me if I refuse to see a doctor for my pains. Constantly finds activities in which we could bond. I feel his effort through so many other ways. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. My husband is a giver, not a planner. And I’m OK with that because I’m the project manager IRL anyway.
Just putting a screenshot of our civil wedding rings in here to break the wall of text, haha.
  • “Don’t marry if all you can afford is ₱299.” Huh. Poverty is a temporary thing, so the wording should be: “Don’t marry deadbeat people.” The former can be resolved, depending on how much you want to be better at financial literacy. The latter needs MAJOR rehabilitation.

    Husband and I got married with zero savings and a 6-digit credit card debt. That 70k we spent on the civil wedding was mostly paid for with CC. But marriage actually increased our net worth exponentially over the years, because (a) our “engagement proposal” was an actual business proposal sort of activity, where we sat down to discuss our future and the critical paths to get there; (b) combining our income and resources surprisingly halved the bills (combining two separate condo units alone into one house already saved on rent); (c) we didn’t spend lavishly on a wedding; (d) YNAB. Now we’ve been DEBT FREE for years, can pay for huge major purchases with cash, and are no longer afraid of emergencies (will just get mildly annoyed if we have to shell out money because of said emergencies). Do note: we have nothing to lend debtors because all our money have been assigned tasks.

    Ideally, however, it’s best for people to be financially ready (we’re not talking about salary only, because you could be getting 6 digits per month but still have a ton of debt) before you even talk about marriage.

  • Why are you posting so much hate about your boyfriend on the internet? COMMUNICATION, GUYS. Things like this should be BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR BOYFRIEND. Sure anonymously posted. But it’s viral now. You think this didn’t reach the boyfriend?

  • Planning your future doesn’t sound as romantic as getting a surprise proposal, BUT it’s not only practical, it also sets realistic expectations, and can help you avoid tragedy (e.g. getting rejected in a very public space). The way I see this issue is that both of them weren’t on the same plane, they haven’t communicated their needs, wants, and directions in life. Instead of immediately talking about how much you want to spend on a one-day event, lay down the important things first: financial habits, politics, religion, child-rearing, other goals. When you’re sure that you’re headed for the same direction, and have already made plans to build your future together, then you can start talking about the kind of wedding you want. Your marriage is way more important, and needs more maintenance, than your wedding.

Now about my ring story.

We had these many rings (silver and stainless) because I tend to lose things…

I tend to lose small objects (thanks to my ADHD), so I actually bought multiple cheap decoy rings. And at the time we were getting married, we were so budget-obsessed that we only bought a pair of silver rings for the ceremony. I actually even bought an extra silver ring for myself, just in case I’d lose the one we exchanged during the ceremony. Sure enough, I lost mine the next day, so thank goodness I had a spare.

We still had this romantic notion about engagement rings back then so we both had a pair that was bought from some US shops. His was silver with 3 tiny diamonds (to symbolize our wedding month), and mine was silver with my birthstone (natural aquamarine) flanked with his birth stones (lab emeralds). My engagement ring was a bit loose so I had to have it resized. It was ok the first time around, but the second time I had it resized (same company but a different branch), the aquamarine was replaced with a clear colored cheap quality cubic zirconia. I knew what my ring looked like. What they returned to me wasn’t it. I was livid.

The photo below is a shot from our civil wedding in 2017. The only memory I have left of that ring. I can’t even bear to look at what it has become.

My original engagement ring.

After that, I no longer had any sentiment regarding whatever jewelry. I never really liked wearing girly jewelry in the first place. Just that we would later upgrade to 10K gold, when we reached the 10th anniversary of being together (that would be the 5th year of our marriage). Aaaand we actually forgot to use them for our 2023 church wedding (we had used cheap decoy rings because we had gotten so comfortable with wearing them on a dailly basis). We only wear the actual gold rings for special occasions, like the time we first became principal sponsors at the wedding of my former students, also in 2023.

I recently dug up the silver rings we had, and because they had been buried somewhere for a long time, they already oxidized. We’re too lazy to polish them. But they do still look good.

Told my husband that I like keeping them because they signify the financial trials we’ve undergone from when we first got married and years later when we finally had our church wedding. At the end of the day, these are just really trinkets. After losing a wedding ring and ruining my engagement ring, I realize that these are all replaceable. What cannot easily be replaced is the amount of comfort we get from our marriage, and this is something that we must continuously nurture.

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