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The guy behind a blog called Budgets Are Sexy did something fun recently – he listed seven ideas for saving or generating money that he himself finds too hardcore. One idea really stood out: selling your engagement ring. Considering the importance we place on engagement rings, that’s big.

Apparently, it’s a thing among some personal finance bloggers to sell an engagement ring and put the money toward more practical costs like paying the mortgage. Here’s a better idea: Don’t buy an expensive engagement ring in the first place.

A U.S. study has found that spending more on a wedding ring increases your risk of an early divorce. The sweet spot seems to be US$500 to $2,000, which will seem hopelessly cheap to some people. In fact, expensive wedding rings are kind of trendy right now. Jewellery legend Tiffany, which generates one-quarter of its revenue from engagement rings and wedding bands, has been generating some strong financial results lately.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford a nice engagement ring as a couple, then what’s the harm? But that Budgets Are Sexy blog post reminds us that some people are spending heavily on rings when the money is best used elsewhere. Buying an inexpensive ring in this case makes good sense.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

How the pickup truck became a symbol of bourgeois prosperity

Four of the five top-selling vehicles in Canada for the first five months of 2018 were pickup trucks (the only car was the Honda Civic). Here’s a smart take on why pickups are so popular. It’s not because everyone’s hauling stuff.

Gen X’s regret

A U.S. survey finds the biggest financial regret of Gen Xers – born between the mid-60s and the early 1990s – is buying too much house. Should be required reading for today’s young adults who aspire to purchase homes.

ETFs and your TFSA

The My Own Advisor blog offers a nice rundown here on how to build a diversified portfolio in your tax-free savings account using low-cost exchange-traded funds.

The key to saving money on groceries…

…is to plan your meals. Here’s a trouble-shooting guide for people who have trouble with meal planning.

Today’s featured financial tool

Add to the list of websites you can use to compare rates on mortgages. Also covered are loans and credit cards.

Ask Rob

Q: “What about an article/investigation about long-term care insurance in Canada?”

A: Long-term care insurance can help you afford the cost of care if you can’t look after yourself. While it sounds like a sensible product in a world of increasing lifespans, long-term care insurance has not taken off at all. As I noted in a column last fall, one of the country’s largest insurers decided to get out of the business. A big issue with these policies is that premiums tend to be guaranteed only for the first five years. After that, it’s possible they’ll rise. An alternative to long-term care insurance is to make sure there’s a portion of your retirement savings that could be allocated to long-term care costs. For some people, selling their home will generate the needed funds.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

What I’ve been writing about

  • A rising rate guide to mortgages, HELOCs, GICs, savings and more
  • In cooling housing market, time to reacquaint with active saving
  • Dialing for dividends in the beaten-down telecom sector (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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