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    • MSE Nick
    • By MSE Nick 13th Apr 17, 12:25 PM
    • 254Posts
    • 77Thanks
    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!

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Megan F; 02-05-2017 at 2:48 PM.
Page 3
    • rwj
    • By rwj 19th Apr 17, 3:58 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    rwj
    Traditionally the proposer was supposed to spend a month's salary on the ring. It's only fair in this day and age that you spend something similar in return. Of course if you're not working your month's salary would be...nothing...
    Last edited by rwj; 19-04-2017 at 4:03 PM.
    • Fujiko
    • By Fujiko 19th Apr 17, 4:06 PM
    • 148 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    Fujiko
    Oh dear, who said romance was dead!! My husband-to-be bought me the most expensive ring he could afford at the time. Until I read this dilemma I had never heard of the idea of the woman giving the man an engagement present, still less of him demanding one. If it were me I would give back the ring and think I had had a lucky escape from such a mercenary man! I still have my engagement ring and the gold watch my husband gave me as a wedding present, but I can't remember whether I bought him anything!

    I once read that however wealthy a couple may eventually become and however many other items of jewellery a wife may be given the one she treasures above all others is her perhaps comparatively small and inexpensive engagement ring.
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 19th Apr 17, 4:07 PM
    • 636 Posts
    • 539 Thanks
    happyinflorida
    You what?!!

    I cannot believe that any man would say this and I don't care if it is 2017. If that is the case and that is his argument, then things are going backwards instead of forwards.

    Where's his manners? Where's his love for you and wanting to get you something special for a special occasion, something that is meant to show his love for you and end of, it's an engagement.

    I know some men would like a wedding gift and I did buy mine a Rolex watch, as a special surprise present and I got nothing!! But I knew he was the one and I knew we'd be together in 25 years time, which we have long passed that year!

    But if he'd asked me for a watch costing the same as an engagement ring, I don't think I would have felt he was the one at all.

    Personally I think you need to ask yourself a few questions over this man and maybe postpone moving into a new place with him and think very carefully over marrying him as I don't think he's got a very nice nature or is one to spend the rest of your life with.

    He isn't generous, he wants something back and of equal value.

    Not good, not good at all. This one isn't for keeping. If you were my daughter, I'd be telling you to run like the clappers.
    • deadasadodo
    • By deadasadodo 19th Apr 17, 4:21 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    deadasadodo
    Give the ring back and wait for the right man to come along.
    • Kazykazbar
    • By Kazykazbar 19th Apr 17, 4:33 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Kazykazbar
    Mmmm
    don't forget that the ring no matter what remains his until you marry that is the promise made if you split before your big day would you get the watch back there is a difference no one buys and engagement watch.
    Get him something good for his birthday if he loves you all will be well.
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 19th Apr 17, 4:47 PM
    • 9,167 Posts
    • 11,525 Thanks
    hazyjo
    Most girls keep the engagement ring (or throw it back at them ) if they split up.


    The more I think about it, it sounds like he's worried you'll keep the ring if you split and he wants some sort of back-up insurance of something that cost the same!


    Jx
    2017 wins: Opera tickets; film preview; lipstick; Ideal Home Show tickets + afternoon tea & bottle of Champagne; 2 cases of NKD; notebook; bath rack; books; film Premiere; Broadchurch DVDs; lipbalms; hamper (food/wine/Echo Dot/Jo Malone goodies)
    • ksarah
    • By ksarah 19th Apr 17, 4:50 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ksarah
    Red flag
    If he wants something back then you're marrying the wrong man.
    Originally posted by warehouse

    There's an underlying attitude here of giving and expecting something in return. If he's displaying that attitude at this stage of your relationship then you need to think carefully about whether you're making the right decision in accepting his proposal at all!
    • Mal25
    • By Mal25 19th Apr 17, 6:14 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Mal25
    Weird
    Strange request. Think twice about marrying this guy. Doesn't sound the generous type if he expects an equal value present back.
    • ringo_24601
    • By ringo_24601 19th Apr 17, 6:19 PM
    • 16,780 Posts
    • 27,225 Thanks
    ringo_24601
    I see feminism is alive and well in this thread

    Why shouldn't a girl give an equal engagement gift to the man? Maybe your father could help pay for it.

    Are you less important and able to provide for this relationship? Or.. have you just bought into several decades of stereotypes and marketing?
    • f0xh0les
    • By f0xh0les 19th Apr 17, 7:31 PM
    • 842 Posts
    • 5,969 Thanks
    f0xh0les
    He only gets one after he turns up for the wedding.

    Doesn't sound like it will get that far.
    MFW May£118,340 A£117 S£116 N£115, D£114 J£114 Feb £113,500 M £112,800 A112,250 MAY £111,600 - next goal- £110k) SPC #59 Very Special Agent Womble #15 NST#9 Competition wins..a kids book Free Amazon vouchers £13 YouGov £1.25 (£50 June) Tesco £15.00 Mr Morris £20
    • onlineo
    • By onlineo 19th Apr 17, 7:48 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    onlineo
    Hell no.

    option 1. Dump him, you don't need a husband that makes unreasonable demands.

    option 2. Dump him, you don't need a husband who thinks an expensive watch is a good idea. They play no part in life these days except to say my banker salary is bigger than yours, and no one likes a banker.

    option 3. Talk some sense into him, he can have a wedding ring.
    • Judi
    • By Judi 19th Apr 17, 8:17 PM
    • 14,838 Posts
    • 59,649 Thanks
    Judi
    Or.. have you just bought into several decades of stereotypes and marketing?
    Yes.






    message too short
    'Holy crap on a cracker!'
    • menshevik
    • By menshevik 19th Apr 17, 8:23 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    menshevik
    Danger Ahead
    His attitude is a road to nowhere. Selfishness doesn't come out of the blue. Danger ahead.
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 19th Apr 17, 8:29 PM
    • 1,408 Posts
    • 3,522 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    I see feminism is alive and well in this thread

    Why shouldn't a girl give an equal engagement gift to the man? Maybe your father could help pay for it.

    Are you less important and able to provide for this relationship? Or.. have you just bought into several decades of stereotypes and marketing?
    Originally posted by ringo_24601
    I don't think anybody would have objected to her buying him a gift, its really the demanding/insisting and the fact that he's telling her how much to spend when she isn't in a great financial position that's the issue.

    Unless she demanded an engagement ring and specified the cost knowing it would be more than he could comfortably afford, in that case then I suppose it might be equal!
    • Hol55
    • By Hol55 19th Apr 17, 8:32 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Hol55
    don't forget that the ring no matter what remains his until you marry that is the promise made .
    Originally posted by Kazykazbar
    This is not necessarily true; the legal situation depends on which jurisdiction you're in. In England and Wales the presumption is that it's an outright gift, so no legal obligation to return it unless the giver can rebut that presumption by proving that it was conditional upon the marriage. In other places (I believe several US states) the presumption is the other way around and it's assumed conditional.

    As to the dilemma in general... it is absolutely not being a "Scrooge" to consider your current finances and if you can really afford to be making large non-essential purchases. I'm all for giving engagement gifts (this is the 21st century, why the hell not!), but this should be something done freely and not as a quid pro quo entitlement with required budget match on the ring. If he was just thinking it'd be a nice idea and is understanding of the lack of funds/poor timing then I wouldn't worry about it - just mentally bank the idea for another time when you do have some spare funds. If he really is stuck on the notion and resentful of you not wanting to spend beyond your means, then that suggests some conflicting views on financial priorities that you should address before the wedding.
    • dysucker
    • By dysucker 19th Apr 17, 9:12 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    dysucker
    I bought my wife's engagement ring, I wanted to give her something​ super special so designed a ring with an artisan jeweller and it cost a fair bit.

    I did not expect anything in return other than hoping she'd say yes, and she did! I then spent more money on a really nice matching wedding ring.

    I think the issue here is, why does he seem so keen to get a watch out of this arrangement? Surely it's up to you whether you give him something in return, and not for him to decide, since I imagine he decided himself alone to ask for your hand, and also to furnish it with an engagement ring of his budget.
    • LesD
    • By LesD 19th Apr 17, 10:26 PM
    • 2,045 Posts
    • 655 Thanks
    LesD
    Is this another cobbled-up MSE moral dilemma? I can't believe anyone getting engaged/married would rather have advice from strangers than discuss it with the future 'other half'. If it's a real question, I fear for the future of the relationship.
    • BlaggerMouth
    • By BlaggerMouth 19th Apr 17, 11:00 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    BlaggerMouth
    Unless she demanded an engagement ring and specified the cost knowing it would be more than he could comfortably afford, in that case then I suppose it might be equal!
    Originally posted by Red-Squirrel
    She didn't need to, society pretty much demanded that already. Forget the watch and get a refund on the ring as well. I know she says she loves the ring, but ultimately it's a very expensive trinket. Both are just tokens, so if money is an issue then better to put your resources towards something meaningful: saving for your life together.

    you don't need a husband who thinks an expensive watch is a good idea. They play no part in life these days except to say my banker salary is bigger than yours
    Originally posted by onlineo
    And this applies equally to expensive diamond rings.

    I'm really shocked by replies along the lines of "he doesn't get a watch in return, he just gets to marry you", as if one month's salary is the going rate for a woman! Call me a romantic but I think marriage is about two people providing companionship, trying to be kind each other, and committing to building a life together. At the very least that should be everybody's intention going in! Sure the theatrics around rings and dresses and honeymoons might be nice if you can afford it and can stomach or dispel the reek of out-of-date gender politics. But if you can't afford all that stuff that's fine, because it's all symbolic and therefore disposable.

    But if you're going to have symbols, then at least think about whether they symbolise things you believe in. For me, the symbol of a woman agreeing to marriage in exchange for a whole month's salary spent on an overpriced sparkly trinket is not something I'd want to subscribe to!

    Incidentally, I do know a couple where the female bought her partner a designer watch when they got engaged, for about the same price as her ring. I don't know who's idea it was but when they explained it they both agreed that "it's only fair".
    • fuzzybee007
    • By fuzzybee007 19th Apr 17, 11:10 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    fuzzybee007
    Think hard
    Agree with the other posts warning against men (or anyone) demanding expensive gifts. Fifty plus years ago I gave my husband to be some gold cuff links as an engagement present but he certainly didn't ask for them. By the way, engagement rings were around well before the 1930s - my grandmother had one in 1900.
    • DaveLanks
    • By DaveLanks 19th Apr 17, 11:17 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    DaveLanks
    No!
    Grow up, get real, show a bit of common are some of the things that came to mind whilst reading about your dilemma.

    Getting married is usually a time when resources never seem to cover requirements. Buy him a Timex and tell him the rest will go towards kitting out the bedroom. If he wants a Rolex, tell him he can sleep with IT on the floor in a different room LOL!

    xx GL & fingers crossed he realises what you're both getting into. D
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