Popping The Question? Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy an Engagement Ring

As if finding “The One” wasn’t hard enough, finding THE ring for “The One” can be an even more stressful and confusing ordeal. The thing is, it shouldn’t be! The whole process should be exciting and teach you new things as well as open up the doors to a whole new chapter in your life. To get you prepped and looking forward to the ring finding process, here are 4 areas to take into consideration before you really jump into the search.

Popping the Question? What you need to know before buying a ring

1. The 4 C’s

Jewelers throw around the 4 C’s as if everyone in the world should know what they are, when in truth, most of us who haven’t needed to go diamond shopping before have no idea what a single C is or what the C means.

Without going into every intricate detail, the short version is this: The 4 C’s stand for Carat (the unit in which the weight of the diamond is measured), Clarity (how flawless or devoid of scratches and imperfections the diamond is), Colour (exactly what it sounds like), and Cut (the width and height, as well as the symmetry of all the faces on the diamond).

Each C has its own grades and levels which affect it’s pricing. Obviously the larger the diamond, the more perfect the clarity, the clearer the colour, and the more intricate the cut, the more expensive the diamond is going to be.

When choosing a ring, your budget determines which C’s are your top priorities. For most of us who don’t have a money tree growing in our backyard, it’s helpful to figure out which C matters more to you. This is all based on personal preference as well as the taste of the person you’re buying for. Some people are willing to sacrifice on the size of the diamond if it means the clarity and colour of the diamond are higher whereas others believe size is more important since the naked eye can’t always see the imperfections of a diamond. Then there are those who feel like the cut is the most important since it can make even a smaller diamond seem more brilliant by the way it catches light and sparkles. Ultimately, it really is about personal preference.

2. The Alternatives

We’re raised to believe that THE ring has to be a diamond ring, but we live in an age where there are a lot of other options that are just as, if not more eye catching and beautiful than a diamond. Other than for the purposes of tradition or status, diamond alternatives can make the engagement ring truly unique (not to mention save you quite a bit of money.)

Here are just a few diamond alternatives that are growing in popularity and are definitely worth looking into as part of your options.

  • Moissanite: A lab-made stone that sparkles as well as any diamond and is almost as hard, making it quite durable and worth the money. It is significantly less expensive than a diamond. Where it lacks slightly for some is in colour. Moissanite tends to be less white than a diamond, but they are able to be made in a variety of colours.
  • Asha: Even less expensive than a Moissanite, this diamond alternative made from diamond carbon bonds is a step up from a cubic zirconia (probably the lowest end of the clear coloured diamond alternatives), but quality wise, it does lack in the durability and sparkle department.
  • Precious Stones (Sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz, amethyst): so much attention is given to diamonds that people forget about how gorgeous and outstanding precious stones can be, especially with a beautiful setting and maybe accent diamonds on the side if you really want there to be diamonds somewhere on the ring. They come in colours that diamonds just can’t replicate, and like the other diamond alternatives we’ve mentioned so far, you’ll be spending far less on a ring with a precious stone versus a classic diamond ring.

 

3. The Options

Just like the stone in THE ring, you have plenty of options when it comes to WHERE to get THE ring. People tend to run straight towards chain jewelry stores found at the nearby mall when they really should be exploring all their options in order to get the best deal.

  • Second-hand rings shouldn’t be overlooked! Although this option requires you to be very careful and to do your research extensively, getting an engagement ring second-hand from sellers on Kijiji can not only save you money, but get you one of a kind or antique rings that just aren’t found in stores.
  • Buying online is also another possible cost-effective option, however, just like with the second-hand ring option, the key to a successful online ring-purchasing experience is asking as many questions as you can, researching the right type of questions to ask, and checking out reviews as well as asking around for people who have used this method.

 

4. The Style

Last but not least, consider the style of the person you’re buying THE ring for. Ask their friends, snoop around their closets, take sneaky pictures of jewelry they already own and use all these clues to find out what type of ring they’re going to gravitate towards. Rings don’t just come in one style- there are modern rings, celebrity imitation rings, vintage-style rings, deco-rings with intricate designs, two-tone rings (mixing metals), or classic rings, to name just a few. Knowing the style of the ring you want is crucial because the way the stone is set, the designs on the band, and the overall look of the stone is based on the style. It’s not only about the stone in the center of the ring.

At the end of the day, The One is going to love whatever you pick because it came from you, but if you’re going to be shelling out a significant amount of money, you’re going to want to think about all your options and really do some thinking and researching before you choose your final ring.

Local Heroes Inside Story: Gratitude Is An Action

At Kijiji, we’re always amazed when we hear inspiring stories about Local Heroes who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in order help others in their community. In this week’s Local Heroes Inside Story, we head to Calgary, where one extraordinary Kijiji user has dedicated the past three years to finding a cure for cancer.

In October 2007, Celeste Goodhope underwent a mammography to determine whether a lump found in her breast was cancerous. Weeks later as she went in for a follow up, she ran into a friend who revealed that she had just been diagnosed with cervical cancer. While Celeste’s lump turned out to be benign, the impact of that day became an inspiration for her to help others affected, by raising funds for cancer research.

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Celeste began charity bike rides to further her fundraising in early 2011; the focus of her LH story – Gratitude is an Action. While friends and family supported her yearly rides from their own pocket, Celeste felt that there was a bigger opportunity to help raise money through starting bottle drives in which members of the Calgary community would donate their used beer and wine bottle deposits to a good cause.

Starting with the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers ride and The Ride to Conquer Cancer; Celeste has been able to raise more than $13, 000 over the past three years through her  bottle drives. Using Kijiji to advertise her cause, Celeste drives across Calgary to collect bottles from those who have responded and returns them to her local depot.

While the community around Celeste enables her to make such a tremendous contribution to cancer research, it’s her ongoing supporters – including those current battling the disease – which have had the most profound impact on her, allowing her to strive harder year after year.

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As Celeste continues to train towards her 2014 ride next month (for which she has already raised an estimated $5600 through Kijiji bottle drives alone), we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate her, and salute her as a true Local Hero in the community. Well done Celeste!

Calgary! SUPPORT HER JOURNEY HERE.

Has someone like Celeste gone out of their way for a special cause in your community? Submit their Local Hero story today!

How New Landlords can Protect Themselves from Problem Tenants

Everyone’s heard the horror stories about bad tenants first hand or through the grapevine, they can cause damage, cost money and sour your experience as a landlord. Here are a few pointers on how to avoid turning these nefarious tales of tainted tenants into reality.

Better safe than sorry: Rental Application Forms – This is the first and most important step in finding a great tenant because it tells you about their rental history, lifestyle, employment, friend and family references and other details that may help characterize the potential renter. Always check the facts and if you don’t get the right information, request more or move on. If information on the application sounds unlikely or fishy, it probably is so don’t reel this one in.

Protecting your interests: Move-In Inspection Report & Tenancy Agreement

A move in report is an essential step to protecting your interests, it’s even required in some provinces prior to move-in. This report should be created during a walkthrough with the tenant prior to move in, details are important to note because this will be the basis for resolving any disputes that arise from damage caused by the tenant. Similarly, a tenancy agreement sets the tone for the relationship between the tenant and landlord. There are many free online agreement templates but to best protect your interests it’s prudent to consult your local landlords organization, they often have great resources available.

Do your research: Short term gains can equal long term pains

Due diligence is your best friend. Before jumping into landlord/tenant relationships learn as much as you can. This is a job, the dwelling is your asset and rental income is a part of your future. You wouldn’t gamble with any of these in your day to day life so don’t roll the dice on this one; hedge your bets and protect your interests.

For more resources in Ontario and across Canada this is a great place to start!

Renting in a Landlord’s Market: Scoring a Great Apartment when Vacancies are Down

Low vacancy rates are great news if you are a landlord, but significantly less so if you find yourself searching for a new apartment. Finding a good apartment at a reasonable price is significantly more difficult when rental units have a low vacancy rate. Not only will the prices for accommodation be higher, but the competition between renters to land a choice apartment can get fierce. What do you need to do to land a great pad when vacancy rates are low?

Finding a Great Apartment When Vacancy Rates are Low

Be realistic. If you are moving out of your parents’ house, moving into a new city, or switching to a more central or expensive neighborhood, you may be in for a shock at the size of apartment your budget gets you, or the sticker price to live somewhere up to your current standard. Spend some time browsing apartments similar to what is within your budget on Kijiji before going to a showing so you have a good idea of what the market is like before you start going for showings – that way, you can identify a good deal when you come across one.

Separate wants from needs. Before seeing any apartments, figure out what you consider absolute must haves, and what you can live without. Is central air conditioning really a must have if you see a great unit that has good airflow? Do you need in unit laundry if there is a Laundromat in the building? Knowing what you will and will not compromise on before your search will help you make decisions on a tighter timeline.

Figure out the prices of all the things you think you need. Maybe you feel you need access to an underground parking spot, but have you looked into what the cost is for street parking in your city? How does the premium of having a reserved spot compare to a monthly parking pass in the area of the building? If parking is easy to come by in the blocks near your apartment, is it really worth shelling out the difference?

Be prepared to act. If you see a great place, assume landlords are telling the truth when they say they have a lot of interest. If you want to move in, be prepared to negotiate and lock down the agreement on the spot. Research what is standard in your province for documents required to sign a lease, and bring it with you to every showing. This may include a copy of your credit report, a letter of employment, bank statements or pay stubs, and the contact information of your current or past landlords. A reference letter from a prior landlord stating that you were a good tenant and paid on time may help you be more competitive as well.

Familiarize yourself with signs of rental fraud and local laws. Scams become more common when the competition for apartments is tight, because fraudsters know people are under pressure to lock down a good deal. Similarly, unscrupulous landlords may demand things that they have no right to, such as cash deposits before any binding agreement is signed. Be wary of any requests for cash or other similarly untraceable transactions. Stick to cheques, credit cards, certified cheques, and other traceable forms of payment, and never send money online for an apartment that you haven’t seen.

Local Heroes Inside Story: Rescued Cats And Kittens Finding New Homes

At Kijiji, we are always inspired when we’re able to help a local non-profit reach their goals using our services. In this week’s Local Heroes Inside Story, we salute the volunteers at Urban Cat Relief (UCR) who work tirelessly to find homes for lost and rescued cats in the Greater Toronto Area.

In her LH submission, Kijiji Helps Rescued Cats and Kittens, Urban Cat Relief volunteer Heather Thomas explains how UCR relies on their Kijiji postings to advertise their feline friends for adoption. With an estimated 1000 adoptions over the past four years, Heather estimates that 95 per cent of cat and kitten adoptions come through the ads they place on Kijiji.

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Founded in 2009, UCR was created through the merger of two local cat rescues, becoming a not-for-profit charitable foundation with the goal of improving the lives of homeless cats. While rescuing and fostering cats for adoption is a big part of what the volunteers of UCR do each day, they also assist in caring for wild cat populations by providing food, as well as neuter/spay and veterinary services. The volunteers of UCR also supply additional resources for the public through local outreach and materials on their website, including educational information on how to safely address strays in your community.

As a proud partner of the Ontario SPCA and animals lovers across the country, we support and salute the Local Hero volunteers of Urban Cat Relief and the outstanding work they do each day.

Has a local charity like Urban Cat Relief made an impact in your community? Submit your own Local Hero story today!