Ladies: Stop Asking For A Diamond Engagement Ring

If there’s a bigger racket than the wedding industry, I’ve yet to encounter it.diamond engagement ring

It all starts with the engagement process. First a guy has to drop thousands of dollars on a ring with a diamond on it, because that’s what tradition dictates. Most guys don’t have thousands of dollars just sitting around, so they’re forced to finance the rock.

Then, there’s all this pressure to make the moment perfect. Hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars are spent on things like booze, flowers, trips, and other luxurious extravagances just to make that special moment perfect for the lady. It’s not that guys want to do this, but they feel forced into doing it.

After dropping thousands of dollars on a ring, you’d think the happy couple could live happily ever after. But no, it doesn’t work that way. They end up spending thousands of dollars more to throw a giant party for all their friends and family, spending 25-100% more on food, facilities, and dessert just because it’s a wedding.

Assume for a second weddings didn’t exist, and you were coming up with the best way for couples to publicly commit to each other from scratch. Would you really design something similar to what we have today? I sure wouldn’t.

It’s time to rethink our whole mentality surrounding weddings. Let’s start with perhaps the most egregious part, the diamond engagement ring.

“A diamond is forever”

Our whole mentality behind a diamond engagement ring is essentially the result of a decades-long marketing campaign by the De Beers Corporation.

The reality behind the diamond industry is fascinating. Over the course of decades, De Beers has convinced nearly every woman in Europe and North America that she isn’t truly loved unless she’s wearing a diamond on her finger. And then, to convince men to spend money on these rings, they created marketing towards men suggesting that if they really loved their lady, three months salary isn’t such a huge sacrifice. Is that gross or net? The ads never did specify.

It gets even more interesting. Throughout the 20th century, De Beers actively sought out independent diamond mines and created a cartel that artificially limited the supply on the market, thus increasing diamond prices. If a company didn’t join the cartel, De Beers would flood the market with diamonds that looked just like the ones from its mine, pushing down the price for that particular style.

There’s also issues with the working conditions in some of the company’s mines. The term “blood diamonds” was coined by De Beers’s competitors and folks against the company, highlighting the brutal working conditions workers often faced while in the mines. There are also allegations that the company forcefully relocated people that were living on land it wanted to use as a mine in Botswana, among other sins.

If you’re interested in reading more about De Beers and its deplorable business practices over the years, I recommend, The Last Empire, a book that’s equal parts how-to business manual and how-to do some pretty questionable things.

Just avoid diamonds

The world of diamonds has gotten better over the last decade or so. New supply coming on the market from places like Australia and Canada has loosened up the De Beers monopoly.

But that doesn’t mean that insisting on a diamond is a good idea. Like many things in society, diamonds have value not because of the cost of the stone — if you don’t believe me, try and sell your diamonds in a pawn shop — but because of the value our peers put on it. We’ve all seen ladies insist on checking out a peer’s engagement ring.

That’s fine, there’s value to fitting in. But is that value really worth anywhere from $3,000 to upwards of $10,000, $20,000, or even more? For thousands of dollars, I’d be quite okay not fitting in.

There are dozens of alternatives to diamond engagement rings. You could opt to just buy a simple wedding band. You could get a ring with another precious stone on it, one that costs a pittance compared to a diamond. Or you could even wear a cubic zirconia until the wedding, replacing it with something else once the event actually happens.

It’s time to rethink our attachment to the diamond engagement ring. Instead, save the thousands of dollars for something a little more practical. Remember, the size of the diamond isn’t correlated with the amount of love your potential new husband has to offer.

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Green Moving Advice: Tips on Making Your Next Move Environmentally Friendly

Have you been making a conscious effort to reduce your carbon footprint? If so, congratulations! There are plenty of things we can do to help save the environment we live in. With new technologies and creativity, you can go green with just about everything you do. If you have an impending move coming up, you’re probably thinking about all the moving supplies you’re going to be using and the amount of fuel you’ll be burning to get to the new location. 

The good news… you can make your move green too! Here are some tips you may not have thought of.

  1. Hire an Eco-Friendly Moving Company

There are plenty of companies now that are making a better effort to reduce their carbon footprint as well. You can do a little research and find moving companies that use eco-friendly practices such as using moving trucks that run on biodiesel fuel. If you can’t find any serving your area, you can also look for a moving company that offers various types of options to make the move more eco-friendly. For instance, a moving company that offers varying sized shipping containers would help to reduce the amount of back and forth trips you’d have to take from your old home to your new one. Other eco-friendly solutions would be moving companies that offer recycled moving boxes or plastic containers to pack your things.

  1. Think “Outside the Box” When Packing

You want to minimize your use of packing materials such as cardboard boxes, plastic wrap, and so on. Therefore, you’re going to have to get creative when it comes to packing. First, use any containers you have at home to pack your belongings in first. Once you run out, start collecting boxes from other sources as opposed to purchasing brand new ones. If you want to eliminate the need for cardboard altogether, you could always invest in plastic storage containers which can be reused once you get to your new home. Lastly, when it comes to securing fragile items, use your sheets, towels, and blankets instead of plastic bubble wrap.

  1. Downsize as Much as You Can

There’s no sense in taking junk along with you that you’re going to throw out at your new home. To conserve space, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint, it is best that you sort through your belongings and find ways to get rid of the things you don’t want. For instance, you can have a yard sale to get rid of things you believe you could get a decent value for, and donate anything you don’t sell. This way your belongings are being reused instead of thrown away or taking up space in your new place.

  1. Clean Green

Green moving is going to require some form of cleaning. You’ll need to tidy up the old place as well as clean the new place. For this, you want to try and use green cleaning solutions. There are plenty of high quality green cleaning products on the market you can use. If not, you can also try your hand at making cleaners as there are plenty of how to guides that are fairly simple to follow.

  1. Dispose of Hazardous Materials

If you’ve hired a green moving company, there are some things that they will not move for you. These are generally hazardous materials which are best defined as things that are corrosive, explosive, or flammable. Properly dispose of these types of materials which might include things like bleach, car batteries, fertilizers, liquid bleach, and paint thinners.

  1. Recycle Moving Materials

Once you’ve arrived at your new place and begun unpacking, remember to properly recycle any moving materials you may have used. If you know someone else who is moving, you could always pass your moving materials along so that they don’t go to waste.

Moving doesn’t have to be environmentally damaging with a little thought.  By following the above six tips you are sure to do your part in reducing your carbon footprint. Once you get all settled into your new place, don’t forget to practice living a sustainable life by going green as much as possible. It may take some time to get the hang of all the advice out there for going green, but in time it will be second nature.