Now, what I do is somewhat different from this.
However, I still get people expecting that they can get a ring with 3-5 times the amount of precious metal in it as a slim band from Wal-mart, hand-made to their preferences, for less than the metal would cost me to buy it.
I can't do that.
If you are happy with a commercially fabricated ring, PLEASE do go to Wal-mart etc.- they buy their rings wholesale, made by people who make a few dollars a week, and there is no possible way I can compete with them on price.
Because- I, too, have expenses- the materials for your jewelry, yes, but also a mortgage, food, clothing, gas, and all the expenses you have yourself.
What I have to trade for that is my time and skill. So, yes, if you want that time and skill- I will need to get paid for it... and not at the third-world rate of a few dollars a week; I don't live there, and I have to pay USA prices myself.
I sympathize with people on a tight budge- I'm on one, too. However, I cannot work for free or at a loss to make someone's dream. That's business.
Just as I expect you expect to be paid for your work- so do I.