When my husband and I got engaged in 2005, we had…well, almost nothing.

I was making around $12 per hour at the time and living with my parents while I endured our long-distance relationship. Meanwhile, Greg was finishing mortuary school and living in a crowded apartment on the top floor of a funeral home.

Between the two of us, we had two cars – one of which still required a $500 monthly payment, some old clunky furniture, and a few thousand dollars in credit card debt.

But we did have love for each other, and lots of it. And since my husband was getting ready to graduate mortuary school in just a few months, we knew our financial situation would get better in a hurry.

Still, I didn’t want to go “all out” for our engagement or our wedding. So, when we started talking about marriage and shopping for rings, I hinted around that I didn’t want anything fancy. I loved sapphires, I told him, and I absolutely did. As an added bonus, I knew we could save money by avoiding a large center stone.

Related: Separate Finances: A Recipe for Marital Disaster?

By the time we got engaged on July 10, 2005, he had gotten the hint – and I ended up with this beauty. For just $450 and a little more on the diamond wedding band, I had a ring I loved and wanted to wear forever. And no, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed I didn’t get a big, fat diamond ring for our engagement. I just wanted to marry the person I loved, after all, and I didn’t want to start our marriage with thousands of dollars in new debt.

3 Reasons I Will Never Upgrade My Wedding Ring

Over the years, countless friends and acquaintances have inquired whether I’ll ever trade up. “Is he upgrading that ring one day?” they have asked. “Don’t you think you deserve a big ol’ diamond now?”

It’s as if they think my old ring isn’t good enough somehow, or as if my husband owes me one. I have even felt as if certain people look down on my old ring and assume my husband doesn’t love me enough to buy me a better one.

The strange thing is, I have never once wanted a different ring than this one. And even though we have more money money now than we did when we got engaged, I have never daydreamed about a giant, shiny diamond instead, or wished  my husband would surprise me with a bigger ring to show his love.

And since my husband has heard people ask if I’ll upgrade my ring, I went out of my way to tell him “no thanks” a really long time ago. Here’s why I want to keep this ring forever, despite its cost:

My engagement ring represents where we started.

Sure, we’re in a better financial place now, but this ring represents where our journey began. To me, it represents a time when my husband had only a few dollars in his name, but was more than willing to spend it all on me. It represents the purity and strength of our love before we got married, had kids, and life became much more complex.

I can’t imagine replacing my engagement ring with something bigger and better just because we’ve moved up in the world.  I got this ring when I was twenty-five-years old, and at the time, it was everything. How could I give that up?

Related: One Lifetime Won’t Be Enough for Us

I don’t need material possessions to be happy or feel loved.

When my husband and I got engaged, we had almost nothing. Now, we're in a much better financial position, but I still won't upgrade my ring. Here's why.

Me and my bling!

Another reason I don’t feel the need to upgrade is the same reason I don’t upgrade everything in our lives. It’s the same reason we live in a fairly modest house, drive older, paid-off cars, and buy clothes at garage sales. I don’t need material possessions or even nice things to feel loved, nor do I need them to display my wealth to others.

In a lot of ways, this ring represents me and fits my style just fine. When my entire wardrobe is probably only worth a few hundred bucks, why bother with an expensive ring?

I would rather save the money for our children’s college, a really nice vacation, or basically anything else.

I haven’t shopped for jewelry for a while, but I know most nice engagement rings cost several thousand dollars at the very least. Maybe it’s the “mom” in me, but I would rather save that money for something that could benefit everyone. With a few thousand dollars, we could take a really nice family vacation somewhere fun. Or, I could stash that money away in my children’s 529 plans that let it grow over time.

Maybe it’s because I’m a parent, but I can’t imagine spending that much money on just myself at this point. After all, it’s not just Greg – or just me – anymore. It’s “us.”

Related: Why I’m Saving for My Children’s College Education

The Bottom Line

As I get older, I get more and more in touch with what I truly value in life. For me, that has meant a renewed interest in my family, their well-being, and of course, our financial health. Since a new wedding ring won’t make me happier – and it certainly won’t make me richer – I see no reason to trade in the ring I love for something more expensive.

Sometimes, the things we have are “good enough,” and changing them would mean letting go of a part of ourselves. And who says new is better anyway? A lot of times, I’ve found the things I value most are memories, and not possessions.

I’ll never forget the way my husband and I met, the sacrifices we made early on, and how much we loved each other despite the fact we had nothing.

Fortunately, I never have to forget. All I have to do to remember is look at this ring. It says it all.

How do you feel about upgrading your engagement ring? Do you plan to upgrade, or keep your old ring forever?