Popping Tags With Diane

How To Avoid Overspending When Shopping For Jewelry

Jewelry makes such a great gift. It intuitively shows that you care, and you can customize pieces in so many different ways to make sure they fit your loved one's preferences. One issue, however, is that it is very easy to overspend on jewelry. You may intend on sticking to a budget of $500, for example, but then get drawn in by a ring that costs $700. Sometimes, you can afford to splurge — but if you really need to stick to a budget and avoid overspending, here are some strategies to help ensure you do so.

Look at lower-end metals first.

A decade or two ago, if you bought a piece of jewelry made from anything other than gold or silver, that meant it was basically junk. Cheaper jewelry was often made from nickel, which was soft and not very friendly to the skin. That has changed. Jewelry makers are now creating some really cool pieces out of metals like stainless steel and titanium. The best thing about these materials is that even though they look very nice, they come at a much lower price point. So if you need to keep your costs down, looking at some steel and titanium jewelry before you move into the gold section is wise.

Choose something that looks custom, but is not.

You might be tempted to customize a piece to meet your loved one's unique preferences. For example, maybe you'll see a ring you really like with a blue jewel, but your loved one prefers red or it's their birthstone. You could ask the jeweler to custom make the ring, but with a red jewel instead. The resulting ring will surely be nice, but you'll pay more just because it is customized. Before paying more for customization, look a little more for something that will meet your loved one's preferences straight off the rack. For example, if you keep searching, you might find another gorgeous ring that comes with a red stone already.

Look especially for pieces that have that little something extra that will speak to your loved one. For instance, maybe they love sailing and knotting the ropes that hold their sails. A necklace with a rope knot looks like you had it custom-designed with this love for sailing in mind when really, you just chose it judiciously.

Let the salesperson know your budget.

A salesperson won't always ask your budget when they start helping you shop for jewelry. If they don't ask, tell them anyway. This way, they shouldn't show you anything you cannot afford, so you won't be tempted to splurge for something that's outside of your budget. If your salesperson does start showing you items you can't afford, point this out and ask to see lower-priced items.

Bring cash.

This strategy works well whether you're shopping for jewelry or groceries. You can't spend more than you have if you do not bring a credit card. Bring only the amount of cash you can afford to actually spend. If you are buying a more expensive piece of jewelry and do not want to carry that amount of cash on you, then here's an alternative: put the amount you can spend, and no more, in a certain bank account with a debit card. Then, only bring that debit card into the jewelry store. You won't overspend because you won't want to overdraft your account.

These days, there are plenty of beautiful, yet affordable pieces of jewelry. You should have no trouble finding a piece you love without breaking the bank as long as you follow the tips above.