When Matt Hagel, 28, began shopping around for a wedding band, his primary goal wasn’t snagging a good deal—it was finding the perfect style.
Hagel’s first stop on his search was a jewelry store in New York City’s diamond district, where he bought his fiancée’s engagement ring. The jeweler showed him a sleek tungsten carbide ring, with a black carbon fiber inlay, that Hagel loved. The price: $300. Not bad, Hagel thought.
Still, being an inveterate comparison shopper, he couldn’t help but surf around online to see if e-prices for the ring were in the same ballpark. Several internet retailers listed a similar cost—and then Hagel found what looked to be the same ring on Amazon. The asking price? A little less than $25!
Hagel was skeptical at first, but he figured that he had nothing to lose. After all, Amazon was a reputable online retailer with a generous return policy. If the ring didn’t work out, he could easily send it back.
To Hagel’s surprise, when the band arrived it looked exactly like the $300 model that he first spotted at the jewelry store. “The most important thing was getting something that I liked, but I was happy to find it priced for much less online,” says Hagel, who’s getting married in July. “I don’t need to spend $1,000 on a ring when I’ve never spent a dollar buying jewelry for myself.”
Hagel isn’t the only groom-to-be who’s finding novel ways to save money on wedding expenses. Long gone are the days of the “whatever you want, honey” fiancé who takes a passive role when it comes to wedding-day pomp, prep and payments. And since more couples are tying the knot later—and subsequently putting their own funds toward the nuptials—there’s increased interest in racking up savings wherever possible. Translation: When someone else isn’t footing the bill, you’re less likely to throw down $500 here and there on those big-day expenses.
And the first place where grooms are opting to cut costs is in the wedding band department. According to the 2011′s Wedding Report, the average groom spends about $572 on his ring, but we tracked down thrifty guys who found smart ways to slash that amount by more than 70%—some even spent less than 50 bucks!