It’s engagement season. It’s annoying.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for about three years, and people keep asking when we’re getting engaged. It’s not their business. Nor is the fact that I have literally no interest in engagement rings. But since everyone wants to ask anyway, there are a few reasons for this: One, my weight fluctuates, meaning my engagement ring will only sometimes fit depending on my salt intake. Two, I hardly wear regular rings to begin with. Three, I’m accident prone and lose things all the time. Four, and mainly, diamonds aren’t a sound financial investment—especially for someone like me who doesn’t necessarily buy into the hype that the best use of three month’s salary is on a price-inflated rock. (More on why diamonds are bullshit here.)
That said, with engagement season coming up, what’s a girl like me who has no use for overpriced shiny things to do? Here are a few clever alternatives to seal the deal with your man that don’t involve mines or monopolies.
1. Take a vacation together. There are so many studies that show spending your money on experiences rather than material goods will make you happier in the long run. What will you remember more fondly in 20 years: Ring shopping or cliff-diving in Belize? Sipping espresso in Milan? Getting your first pair of adult-sized Mickey Mouse ears?
2. Adopt a pet. Listen, a man can leave you and your ring tomorrow. A dog or cat? That’s at least a decade of commitment, love, memories, and coziness. And poop, but nothing is perfect.
3. Put a down payment on property. When you’re house-hunting, you’ll realize that your partner’s three months salary would probably come in handy when you’re putting a down payment on a house more than when you’re showing off a sparkler to your shallow pals. Plus, buying a home together is a big commitment. You can divorce whenever you want, but breaking a lease or a mortgage? That’s hard.
4. Buy a better car. A reliable ride will serve much more purpose (and get you to and from many more memories and emergencies) than a diamond will.
5. Up your health insurance plans. Your body will thank you when you get into a fender bender in your new car and get sacked with a huge hospital bill for cuts and bruises. Take it from a woman with experience with air bags exploding.
6. Hire a a lawyer and draft up a prenup. Listen, is it romantic? Not really. But is it smart? You bet your bottom dollar.
7. Spring for big ticket appliances. The convenience of having your own washer and dryer can’t be expressed in words, but rather in hours you’d save otherwise hanging out at a laundromat watching your underwear spin. Not in the market for those? How about replacing your musty refrigerator? Investing in a dishwasher that’ll surely come in handy when you have a party (or just have a partner like mine who somehow uses 42 plates, cups, and utensils with every meal)?
8. Renovate your home. Finally get that new water heater, bathroom tile, stove, or floors you want. You’ll use them much longer than you’ll count Instagram likes on pictures of your left hand.
9. Upgrade your furniture. Lose the particle board and spring for real wood. You’ll end up saving money in the end, because you’d have to replace cheap particle board a few times, while genuine wood will last forever if you take good care of it.
10. Go back to school. Get your master’s, learn to code, or just take a painting class together. Knowledge is invaluable, and the experience will help you both earn more money later.