So you’re about to tie the knot! Marriage is an exciting next step for any couple and one that makes buying the perfect diamond ring necessary. After all, the ring will be one of your most important decisions, maybe even as important as the marriage itself. Diamond rings are meant to be worn and kept close for generations so you need to really think this through before embarking on a shopping expedition.

Before you head out to buy a diamond ring, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. One of the most important is the finance portion of it. This is one of the most stressful factors when you want to spring for a diamond ring, which is why we have the perfect list for you. Here are some factors you may want to consider when you’re trying to finance a shiny new diamond ring.

#1: The Budget

 Ah, nothing kills romance faster than an allusion to the budget. The B-word is a scary one, especially if you’re a college student or a young man who’s about to get his very first expensive diamond ring. While you may have thought that love is priceless, rest assured that there are people out there who can definitely put a price on it. Jewelers are a prime example of this. So before you rush off to buy your sweetheart a glinting diamond ring, figure out how much money you have for the purchase.

#2: Your Income

The wonderful follow up to a dry discussion about a budget. But this one is tied to it and is just as important. You need to make sure you have enough income coming in every month or regularly enough in order to finance the ring. Your budget can allow you to make some kind of downpayment but it’s your income that will determine how well you can actually keep the payments going.

 #3: Your Fiance’s Choice

 You may already know this, and for your sake, I hope you do, but your future spouse’s choice is very important here. A diamond ring is a long term, investment and one that will be with you for a long time. There won’t be a point to the whole exercise if your fiance ends up hating the thing. Make sure you show them the ring you’re planning on getting. In the world of expensive jewelry, there is no such thing as spontaneity. If you surprise them and they hate the ring, it can set you back thousands of dollars. So be careful and ask first.

#4: Know Your C’s

 When you buy diamonds, you need a lesson in basics. These are the 4 C’s of any diamond ring. They stand for Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat and they are very significant. These 4 factors help to determine the quality of the diamond. You should learn how the C’s work together to make a gorgeous diamond. This is important because the ring you buy doesn’t have to be a top-rated one. The naked eye can’t pick up minute flaws in a diamond and this can make all the difference when it comes to pricing.

#5: Gold VS. Platinum

This has to do with the setting of the diamond within the ring. You should pick whether you want a gold or platinum setting. Keep in mind that platinum is denser than gold which makes it heavier and sometimes more expensive. However, platinum is most often used in delicate or intricate settings whereas gold can be made for chunkier and thicker designs. Platinum dulls with age and gold just gets brighter. These are all options to think about when you’re going to splurge on the perfect diamond ring.

The Bottomline

 A word of advice: try to avoid spending too much on a diamond ring. Spend enough so that you don’t come off as cheap, but try not to take out massive loans or get into debt to pay for it. Your spouse will be happy with the best that you can offer so make sure you do just that. Don’t overdraft or overspend because this will only hurt you down the road.

 Speaking of overspending, getting married is already a pretty expensive prospect. Don’t add to your oncoming expense with another mountain of bills. Your sweetheart will love you for asking and making the effort, rather than going all out to buy a ridiculously expensive diamond ring. Err on the side of caution and spend a moderate amount that you know you can pay off in the future.