The average cost of a brand new engagement ring is $4,000. That is quite a bit of money that could be spent on a new house, a honeymoon, your wedding, or even student loans. Before popping the question, ask yourself if the status symbol is worth the price. If you and your bride agree that it’s not, here are some affordable alternatives to dropping the big bucks on a big ring.

Check out used engagement rings

You can find people selling jewelry just about anywhere – Craigslist, Facebook, auction sites, garage sales, high end pawn shops. Remember, one person’s trash could be your bride’s treasure. When an engagement doesn’t work out, women don’t always want to hold onto something that reminds them of their lost love or broken dreams. Many choose to sell their custom made rings, and they often go for a pretty reasonable price. When buying used, you could score a discount anywhere from 20% to 40% off the original retail price. Of course, you will want to get a certificate of appraisal before you buy to ensure that you are getting the best price possible.

You don’t have to go with a diamond

It may be tradition, but no one says that engagement rings have to feature a diamond. There are plenty of gorgeous gemstones to choose from, including some that closely resemble diamonds without the hefty price tag. Why not consider one of these diamond look-alikes?
Moissanite – This stone comes in just behind diamonds in terms of hardness. The best part? Moissanite is typically more brilliant and shinier than your average diamond.

White Sapphire – Diamonds may be four times harder than sapphire, but the white sapphire is essentially colorless, making it look pretty close to a diamond. With the right cut, no one will be able to tell the difference.

Cubic Zirconia – Though CZ is significantly lighter than a diamond, to the untrained eye they are virtually identical. The least expensive alternative, CZ costs about one-tenth of the price of a diamond with the same carat weight.

Choose a lab-created diamond

Many people choose lab-created diamonds for ethical reasons. They are grown in accordance with extremely strict standards and are characteristically identical to their natural-grown counterparts. They also cost around half the price. If the price of diamond engagement rings is a concern, purchasing a lab-created diamond is a perfect solution.

The average U.S. household with debt carries about $129,579 in total debt. If you are in debt, you don’t want to put yourself further in the hole by dropping thousands of dollars on an engagement ring. Do yourself and your bride a favor by saving your money and choosing a ring wisely.