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    • MSE Nick
    • By MSE Nick 13th Apr 17, 12:25 PM
    • 254Posts
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    MSE Nick
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I buy an engagement gift for my fiance?
    • #1
    • 13th Apr 17, 12:25 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I buy an engagement gift for my fiance? 13th Apr 17 at 12:25 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    My boyfriend recently proposed to me and spent money on a beautiful ring, which I love. He would like me to buy him a wristwatch of equal value as a memento of the engagement, however I've just left my job and we're about to move home so I feel we need every penny for more practical things. Am I being a scrooge?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

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    Last edited by MSE Megan F; 02-05-2017 at 2:48 PM.
Page 1
    • kazt2006
    • By kazt2006 18th Apr 17, 8:59 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    kazt2006
    • #2
    • 18th Apr 17, 8:59 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Apr 17, 8:59 PM
    As buy each other expensive gifts you might as well just give each other the cash. I assume from your post that the choice of engagement ring was his alone and while you love it, consider whether you would have been happy with something half the price or even less?

    You don't say why you have left your job? Is this related to the move? Will you be without income (or.a 2nd income as a couple) for long?
    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 18th Apr 17, 9:29 PM
    • 1,088 Posts
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    lika_86
    • #3
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:29 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:29 PM
    If he wanted something in return (other than your acceptance) then perhaps he should have discussed that with you before you got engaged.

    You might want to consider buying him a nice watch for the wedding (if you can afford it then) but don't feel obliged to now if there are more important things to spend the money on.
    • ceb1995
    • By ceb1995 18th Apr 17, 9:33 PM
    • 140 Posts
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    ceb1995
    • #4
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:33 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:33 PM
    I think if he expected that then that should have been discussed before you got engaged, he should surely understand that since you aren't currently working that that isnt a sensible use of funds. I bought my fiance an engagement gift in return as i want him to having something to wear himself but it's not something he would ever has insisted on.
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    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 18th Apr 17, 9:37 PM
    • 7,474 Posts
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    Primrose
    • #5
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:37 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:37 PM
    It must be a modern day practice for a woman to buy her fianc! an engagement present as I've never heard of it. . With all the expenses of a wedding and a new home ahead of you I would have thought it is better now to hold fire on any more expensive spending unless you can think of an inexpensive gift to mark the occasion which isn't going to break the bank, especially if you're not working at the moment. Just because you're planning to get married this isn't an excuse for financial common sense to fly out of the window.
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 18th Apr 17, 9:39 PM
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    Tigsteroonie
    • #6
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:39 PM
    • #6
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:39 PM
    Is it a modern thing? When I got engaged in the early 90s, I received a ring - and bought my fiance a new amp for his music system!
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    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 18th Apr 17, 9:50 PM
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    Jojo the Tightfisted
    • #7
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:50 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Apr 17, 9:50 PM
    Tell him you'll sell your ring and buy him the watch with the proceeds. After all, it would be an unnecessary expense to have a bit of sparkly stuff adorning your finger when you'll only get another ring in the future - and at least he'll be able to tell the time with his gift...
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    • hesketh7085
    • By hesketh7085 18th Apr 17, 10:46 PM
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    hesketh7085
    • #8
    • 18th Apr 17, 10:46 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Apr 17, 10:46 PM
    I wouldn't say it's a "modern thing". I proposed to my wife when I was 25 in 2014, got her a ring and expected nothing in return - but then I'm quite traditional.

    If you can't afford it, don't have an income, are about to move home and are now planning a wedding, personally I think you'd be daft to buy something for him. I wouldn't say it's a done thing (I've never heard of it), and I'd like to think this was discussed beforehand? If it wasn't, then I think his expectations are unreal, and of course if it was, then it's a bit dodgy to now be umming and ahhing about it.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 18th Apr 17, 10:46 PM
    • 2,998 Posts
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    LilElvis
    • #9
    • 18th Apr 17, 10:46 PM
    • #9
    • 18th Apr 17, 10:46 PM
    Are we talking a Rolex or a Casio?

    If it's a Casio then just buy it for him.

    If it's a Rolex then kiss him goodbye and keep the ring.

    Total tosh either way.
    • POLAR BILL
    • By POLAR BILL 18th Apr 17, 10:55 PM
    • 136 Posts
    • 100 Thanks
    POLAR BILL
    When we got engaged, we went together to buy an engagement ring and wedding ring at the same time. I bought a nice watch for my husband to be at the same time as he doesn't wear rings. That was his wedding watch.They were not of equal value and he didn't need to ask for a gift. It is quite natural to do this.
    • warehouse
    • By warehouse 18th Apr 17, 11:00 PM
    • 2,902 Posts
    • 5,413 Thanks
    warehouse
    If he wants something back then you're marrying the wrong man.
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    • ERICS MUM
    • By ERICS MUM 18th Apr 17, 11:12 PM
    • 3,380 Posts
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    ERICS MUM
    Red flag ! Before you get married or enter into joint finances please please discuss your respective attitudes to money & spending. Don't assume you will gradually sort it out once you are married, with a mortgage, when you are on maternity leave etc etc. People are often quite rigid when it comes to their approach to finances and won't change.

    As I say to all 5 of my nieces and nephews (in their 20's), love is not enough to build a happy future together.
    Last edited by ERICS MUM; 18-04-2017 at 11:15 PM.
    • Devonian Rodders
    • By Devonian Rodders 19th Apr 17, 7:02 AM
    • 62 Posts
    • 63 Thanks
    Devonian Rodders
    Although this may be a modern thing, Beggars cannot be choosers, or put another way "you don't give to receive ! Buy what you can afford, WHEN you can.
    • Annaserena
    • By Annaserena 19th Apr 17, 7:05 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    Annaserena
    Big alarm bells ringing here. Take a good look at a man who 'expects' something in return for giving an engagement ring. There should be no automatic expectation and it sounds like he's making it all about him, taking the attention away from you. At this stage in your relationship that's a warning sign and a good time to decide if you should commit to him. If he isn't kind before you marry, trust me he won't get kinder after the wedding day.
    • sew12
    • By sew12 19th Apr 17, 7:52 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    sew12
    In love
    I think it's bad that he asks you. When we got engaged I wanted to give him the moon so surprised him with a gift. If your in love you will want to get him something but the fact that he asked is not good
    • bertiewhite
    • By bertiewhite 19th Apr 17, 8:11 AM
    • 381 Posts
    • 355 Thanks
    bertiewhite
    Must be a modern thing - I've been married twice (1997 & 2013) and both times I bought rings because all I wanted in return was to marry the woman in question.
    • BlaggerMouth
    • By BlaggerMouth 19th Apr 17, 8:22 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    BlaggerMouth
    I don't know how you're going to organise your finances, but if he earns more than you and is going to keep sole control of a portion of his earnings, then it's reasonable that he buys you more expensive gifts than you get for him.

    I also agree with posters who say it would have made sense for him to raise this beforehand. On the other hand, men can feel a lot of pressure to produce the perfect proposal, and since a sparkly ring is expected as part of that it can feel more like an obligation than a gift. You shouldn't normally expect to receive something in return for a gift, but at the same time it seems unfair to always expect men to spend a massive wodge on some bling and get nothing in return. Discussing it beforehand would have allowed the opportunity for you to let each other know what's really important. But perhaps he got the impression from you or from Hollywood that the perfect proposal had to be a surprise, which makes that impossible.

    Engagement rings and expensive watches are equivalent. They're both expensive jewelry with little practical use and surprisingly poor resale value. The difference is cultural: men are expected by society to buy their fianc! a ring. But if you subscribe to gender equality, you should view both the same. So if you're​ concerned about money why not suggest trying for a refund on the ring? It may sound unromantic, but looking at it another way isn't it rather distasteful to expect a diamond as a precondition for marriage to the man you love? Just don't sell it second hand because you probably won't get close to what he paid for it. And if your friends expect to see a ring and you can't be bothered to educate them, get a silicon carbide replacement.

    For those who think this is terribly "modern", expensive diamond engagement rings are a relatively modern phenomenon. The idea began to be pushed by De Beers in the 1930s, and it didn't really take off until after the second world war.
    • NBLondon
    • By NBLondon 19th Apr 17, 8:52 AM
    • 1,291 Posts
    • 6,868 Thanks
    NBLondon
    If the engagement was a surprise; then any man who "expects" a return gift of equivalent value is probably best avoided. If the engagement was discussed beforehand, then perhaps "Let's not buy an expensive ring/presents when we're saving for a house" would have helped.


    I didn't buy m'wife a diamond; I bought a garnet ring (her birthstone) and I didn't expect or ask anything in return. I got a nice watch for my 10th anniversary though...
    One day I'll think of something witty - Apparently I have!
    • meknowalot-51
    • By meknowalot-51 19th Apr 17, 9:10 AM
    • 157 Posts
    • 80 Thanks
    meknowalot-51
    Think hard.
    The straight forward answer to your question is NO.He gives you the ring as a symbol of his love and intention of wanting to be with you as husband and wife.Your response to the question he asks when offering you the ring is YOUR gift to him,unless of course you say no thanks.He wants you to spend a similar amount on him so he can show people his engagement watch........i think it's time for you to perhaps reconsider and wait for him to leave school/uni.Do you think he's going to be good with the finances?
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 19th Apr 17, 9:14 AM
    • 16,623 Posts
    • 41,679 Thanks
    Pollycat
    When I got engaged to my first husband, I bought him a signet ring.

    It was my choice to spend the money.

    If he'd told me he would like me to buy one to the same value as the diamond ring he'd bought me, I'd have seriously reconsidered my choice of partner.

    And that's without taking your financial circumstances into account.
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