Do you have a high school aged child who is approaching their senior year? If so, you know that the costs associated with that senior year can be very expensive. Between proms, banquets, announcements, gown rental, and other paraphernalia, it’s enough to completely empty your wallet. However, there is one way traditional expense that you might want to reconsider: perhaps an alternative to the class ring is in order.
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It’s about the time of year when Juniors in high schools all around the country are ushered into cafeterias for the annual senior ring display. I know that many students look forward to getting a “senior ring” for years. But why is that? What’s so special about an expensive ring that most people don’t wear once they get out of high school?
Frankly, I’ve never understood the appeal.
Are class rings worn once the year is over?
Now keep in mind that I’m a girl who likes bling – I LOVE jewelry! In my opinion, I just don’t have enough fingers to wear all the rings I love to collect.
But perhaps that’s the crux of the issue – it’s nice to pull out jewelry and wear it again and again, but many people aren’t all that interested in wearing their class school class rings once they leave high school.
In fact, high school class rings are sometimes considered “juvenile” once students start college. The ring they may have been so proud of a couple of years before now seems to be a mark that they’re new to the college environment and that they’re (gasp!) only freshman. And since no one wants to feel out of place, the rings often get put in jewelry boxes where they sit for years.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are alternatives to class rings that can be substituted to celebrate the high school graduation – and that does include a nice piece of jewelry. That nice piece of jewelry doesn’t have to be an official class ring that’s bought from one of the major retailers who sell graduation goods.
My senior ring story
Many years ago (we won’t say how many), it was time for my classmates to go through the senior ring purchasing ritual. I remember that everyone was excited.
I also remember that I was the only girl in my class who did not purchase one of the official class rings.
But I did get a ring.
My mother, knowing what a jewelry lover I was, promised to buy me the ring of my choice in lieu of an official class ring. Being a jewelry lover herself, she figured that I’d get more enjoyment out of a ring that I could wear for years instead of spending the money on a ring that would be put away after only a short time.
So we went shopping.
I still remember the ring I picked out – ½ carat diamond cluster in a gold setting. I wore that ring proudly for years, even after I married. Then my mother took the ring and had it redesigned into a pinkie ring for my 30th birthday and I continued to wear it for many more years.
I still treasure that piece of jewelry
I still pull the ring out and wear it. And each time I do, I remember that it is the piece of jewelry that was bought to celebrate my high school graduation.
I’m sure I’ve worn it much more than I would have worn a traditional class ring – it was the perfect alternative to a class ring.
So when the time came for our daughter to start looking at class rings, I did exactly what my own mother had done – I offered to buy her another ring of her choosing.
She jumped at the chance to get something other than what was offered through the school. And with the price of class rings rising all the time, an alternative piece of jewelry seemed appropriate.
Alternatives to the traditional class ring
Investing in class rings seems to be a trend on the decline as fewer students today choose to purchase these rings than they did in the past. I’m sure that price is part of the reason.
These days, the average price of a class ring offered from one of the major companies is between $230.00 -$240.00 with prices climbing up around $1,000.00. That’s a lot of money for a ring that may end up sitting in a jewelry box.
However, there are cheaper options for those who wish to purchase a more traditional class ring than may be offered through your child’s school.
Class rings can be purchased from both Amazon and Walmart at prices that are much more budget friendly.
Our daughter chose an alternative class ring
To us, the choice was easy.
I took her shopping.
She was thrilled and admitted that she hadn’t been that interested in a traditional class ring. Her school colors were blue and white and she picked out a beautiful silver ring with a blue stone that she fell in love with.
She’s taken it with her to college where she still wears it happily and doesn’t feel the stigma of being marked as a “high schooler” in a sea of college students.
When I told some friends of mine what we had done for her class ring, they thought it was a great idea, and one they’d never heard of. I know that several of them said they’d like to do that for their own daughters when the time came.
Whether that’s what they decide to do or not is up to them. As with all jewelry purchases, the choice is a personal one that should be made after considering a variety of factors. The point is that they have a choice in how to best commemorate the occasion and that a traditional class ring is not their only option.
Our daughter is just about to walk across the stage for her college graduation. Last summer, when we began receiving information about official college rings, we had this same discussion once again. I told her that I would happily purchase her college ring – I’d told her four years ago that she might prefer a college ring when the time came.
She debated and we both looked at the options available from her university. I’ll admit that I gulped a bit at the price and honestly, she wasn’t that thrilled with the choices.
In the end, she decided once again on an alternative to the traditional class ring. So we went shopping one more time – and it was as much fun this time around as it had been four years ago!
She ended up choosing two pretty rings that together cost less than the university ring would have been (thanks to great sales at Kohl’s and Kohl’s cash!). Both rings are 14 kt. rose gold with genuine gemstones. We got a great price, a great alternative, and she’s thrilled (my wallet is pretty happy too!).
I am curious, if you got a traditional class ring, do you still wear it? Does it make a difference whether it’s a high school or college ring?
Learn more to make the most of your money
The decision whether to purchase a traditional class ring is just one example of ways we’ve chosen to save money through the years. We’ve always had to be frugal at our house – teacher salaries weren’t going to make us rich.
Besides, my grandmother, who grew up poor and then was a young wife during the Great Depression, taught me that it’s foolish to waste money.
But recently I’ve been participating in Thriving On A Dime which is a membership program that goes into more depth on ways to stretch a dollar than even my grandmother knew!
I’ve truly been amazed at the things I’ve still had to learn. But I’m happily implementing them…because doing so saves me money.
I strongly encourage you to go take a look at her membership…unless you’re just drowning in money, that is. Odds are that you’ll learn some strategies that you didn’t know or that you’ll learn some new tips and tricks to stretch your dollar till it screams.