Diamond Engagement Rings Bling Bling!

One of my good friends is getting married, and he asked me, “Sam, what on earth am I supposed to get her for an engagement ring?” What a question, that’s not easily answered.  Generally, the right answer is “whatever she wants“!  However, as we all know, sometimes ladies are harder to read than a children’s book in large print!

Before we begin, if any of you single guys out there want to attract the ladies, bust out the turquoise diamond ring guide book from Tiffany’s in any public space. The white book from Cartier will also do. I take the bus to work everyday, and I remember as soon as I took out the book from my bag, every single lady on the bus looked over. Just think, one of the great pick up lines to a staring woman could be, “Excuse me, but my friend asked me for his advice on this particular design (point to book), what do you think?” Clearly, if you use this line, you should not be proposing!

In the spirit of personal finance, let’s discuss some tips for buying an engagement ring.

The Value of Happiness & Lessons From a Frugal Wife

I have a small “trading account” which lost about 22% of its value this week being levered short. Not exactly the greatest feeling since this week basically wiped out all my hard work in this specific account for the year. But, to put things in perspective, it’s a relatively small loss compared to the 10X amount I have long in my 401k and company stock, not to mention my natural long position given my career in finance. Better to have lost money shorting the market than longing the market, because at least I know the world is improving. The way the market keeps going up (7.5% this week), we’ll all be millionaires in no time, and I will definitely be retired by the end of this year!

Despite the loss, my grief was overshadowed by the happiness I felt on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday making my wife happy. You see, Thursday was her birthday, but I gave her one of her presents early on a Wednesday. It was a DSLR Canon EOS Rebel camera she had been eyeing for years, but too shy to buy. I wasn’t planning on buying it for her, but when I lost a multiple of that in the trading account that day, I said why not! Better to spend money on something, especially for the wife, than flush it down the drain! She was SO HAPPY when she received her camera, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was as if she was a school girl again, who got a pony.

Thursday’s gifts consisted of several of her favorite DVDs (she loves the used 3 for $20 DVDs from Blockbuster) and a cool exercise outfit from LuluLemon. On Friday, we went out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants, and surprised her again with one of her favorite desserts, flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream. Yum. My wife has been on a spending moratorium for the past 3 months. We both promise each other we won’t buy any material items for 3 months leading up to our birthdays as a way to avoid gift sabotage, and save money.


If the devil asked me whether I could have One Beeeleon dollars and no wife, or my wife and no billion, I’d choose the wife in a nanosecond. Hence, the value of my happiness and wife are worth at least $1 billion! The amazing thing is, she doesn’t need much and is one of the most frugal people I know. She brings her breakfast and lunch to work at least half the week to save money. She doesn’t spend hundreds (thousands?!) of dollars on uncomfortable designer shoes and handbags which cost more than the stuff in them. Meanwhile, her favorite places to shop are not Nordstrom’s and Barney’s NY but Walmart and sometimes Target if she’s feeling a little opulent. Yet, she rarely shops and finds it a treat if she can go to Target once every 6 months. Target so happens to be 16 miles away in a town which houses a legal card room and 10 auto dealers. Doh. I have a feeling that because she knows my vices, she never asks me to take her.

My wife is the one who tells me each year she’s happy with the car we have so no need to buy another. And every time I do buy another car (see earlier entry), she tells me she really likes the car because I really like the car. I have a feeling out of the 8 different cars I’ve had in 10 years, her favorite is the $6000, 1997 Honda Civic we drove back in 2005. Her frugality is a cornerstone of our finances, which has happily led us to live below our means and save for our future.

It’s a funny thing when the person you love, be it your brother, mother, sister, girlfriend or wife wants so little. All you want to do is give them the world. And yet, the opposite is true when they want too much. So much is said about finances coming between couples, generally because one spends too much and the other resents it. If you’re the side that’s spending too much, perhaps try spending some of that on your better half? She might stop resenting you! And if you’re the side that is frugal, try spending money on your worse half and at the same time, spend nothing on yourself. Unless your worse half is a bumbling clueless idiot, he should be touched by your gesture and slowly come around so you can achieve a happy medium.

We’ll be going on our free hike this Sunday, but this time, she’ll be armed with her nifty Canon Rebel :) I’ll see if I can post a picture up on here next week.


Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”