Time to pop the big question? Well, if you thought getting down on one knee was terrifying, wait until you start shopping for a ring! Most people (hopefully) only make this purchase once in there life and there’s a lot of insider information that can make the process daunting. It doesn’t have to be that way though, these five tips will help you walk away with a dream ring.

1. Start with the ring style

Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s always good to start by deciding what kind of ring you want. If you’re shopping together then this part of the process is really easy. If you’re surprising your special someone then it can be a little intimidating with thousands of styles available. Look to the jewelry and clothes your significant other wears for clues and don’t be afraid to ask a close friend. Once you have a style picked out, you can work with the jewelry company to make it fit your budget.

Ring Style

2.The ring size question

Just like clothes, you want a ring to fit just right in order to wear it comfortably. If you’re shopping together just make a trip to your local jewelry store and they’ll get your exact size no problem. If you want the engagement to be a surprise, here are a few tricks you can try: Steal one of their current rings that they wear on their ring finger and have it sized. Tie a rope around their finger while they sleep and have that sized (sounds crazy but it works!) As a last ditch effort, find someone with a similar finger width and get their size.

Ring Sizing

3. Educate yourself

Color, cut and clarity oh my! For those that haven’t purchased an engagement ring or diamond before, there’s going to be a lot of jargon you’re not used to. Don’t let that scare you away though; knowledge really is power when it comes to buying a ring. Unfortunately there are many jewelers that will take advantage of you if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Luckily it doesn’t have to be that hard though. You can learn about the 4Cs of buying a diamond with this quick 90 second video. To learn more about your metal options, check out this good article. Start there and then rely on Google for any further information you need.

4. Browse the stores

Unfortunately, you’re actually going to have to get off your couch at some point during the buying process! And yes, you’re going to get hammered with 20 questions whenever you walk into a jewelry store. However, it will also give you a chance to see a wide range of ring styles live and in person. You’ll also be able to see the difference between a high and low quality diamond, if you’ve never seen it before. No matter how much pressure they put on you though, don’t buy in the store! Which brings us to our next point….

5. Buy online

Time to get out the credit card and plunk down the money! Before you do, make sure you compare all your options to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Don’t look at just the price though, consider the company’s guarantees, return policy and customer service rating. All of these are just as important as price in getting a high quality engagement ring. You’ll also want to make sure the company has their diamonds graded by an outside company like AIG, IGI or GIA. If they grade their own stones, you’re likely getting ripped off. As long as all that lines up though, you’re about to walk away with a dream engagement ring. Congrats!