How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Engagement Rings

A couple shopping for engagement rings at a jewelry store.

Deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring can be tricky. Did you know the average cost is around $6,500? This article will guide you through setting a budget that makes sense for your finances and relationship.

Let’s find the perfect ring without breaking the bank!

Key Takeaways

  • The average cost of an engagement ring was $6,500 to $7,000 in 2021 and 2022.
  • Old rules like spending three months’ salary on a ring are outdated; focus on what fits your budget and relationship.
  • Lab-grown diamonds offer the same look as natural diamonds but at a lower cost and are eco-friendly.
  • Save money by exploring different gemstones or settings and consider antique rings for unique options.
  • Online retailers like James Allen and Blue Nile provide extensive choices and good customer service.

Understanding the Average Cost of an Engagement Ring

A diamond engagement ring with a rose gold band displayed in a jewelry store.

Most people spent between $6,500 and $7,000 on an engagement ring in 2021 and 2022. Prices change based on the size and quality of the diamond or gemstones. The type of metal for the band also affects the cost.

Popular choices include rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, and platinum.

Shopping for rings reveals a wide range of prices. Simple bands cost less than complex settings like solitaire or halo designs. Diamond shape plays a big role too; some shapes are pricier than others due to demand or cutting difficulty.

Always check for deals at jewelers but remember taxes can add to your total price.

Debunking Engagement Ring Cost Myths

A diverse group discussing engagement ring myths at a casual outdoor gathering.

The Three-Month Salary Rule and online diamond shopping risks are popular myths regarding engagement ring costs that need to be debunked. It’s important to understand the truth behind these myths before determining how much to spend on an engagement ring.

The Three-Month Salary Rule

Many people think you need to spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring. This old-fashioned idea came from a De Beers ad long ago. Back in the 1930s, they told everyone that’s how much you should spend.

But times have changed since then.

Nowadays, couples don’t want to break their banks for a diamond ring. The focus is on picking something special without going into debt. It doesn’t matter if it’s less than three months’ worth of pay; what counts is choosing a ring that fits both the heart and the budget.

Online Diamond Shopping Risks

Moving beyond outdated spending rules, it’s important to consider the potential hazards of buying diamonds online. The internet offers a wide selection of engagement rings, but not all are created equal.

Pictures can be deceiving, and some online retailers may sell low-quality stones that look good only in photos. Buyers must be cautious and research thoroughly.

They should know how to spot red flags in diamond quality. It’s easy to fall for a bad deal if you’re not well-informed about things like clarity, color, cut, and carat—collectively known as the 4Cs.

Also, factor in insurance costs when budgeting for an engagement ring bought online to protect this significant investment.

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

A couple having a financial discussion at a coffee shop.

When it comes to determining how much to spend on an engagement ring, it is important to consider your partner’s expectations and your financial situation. Understanding these factors will help you make a decision that aligns with both your needs and values.

Understanding Your Partner’s Expectations

Talk with your partner about the engagement ring. They might have specific likes or dislikes that affect the choice. Some prefer a big diamond, while others love colored stones like rubies or sapphires.

Find out if they want something traditional or unique.

Make sure both of you agree on how much to spend. A dream ring shouldn’t hurt your finances. Discussing the budget early helps prevent debt and stress later on. Respect their wishes but be clear about what you can afford together.

Considering Your Financial Situation

Understand the average cost of an engagement ring, which was around $6,500 to $7,000 in 2021 and 2022. Avoid going into debt by spending beyond your means. Openly communicate with your partner about budget and preferences to avoid any financial strain.

The long-standing cultural tradition of spending two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring is a myth. Select a piece that aligns with your budget and current life stage instead of focusing on buying a ring worth three months’ worth of salary.

Cost vs Value: Engagement Ring and Center Stone

A couple happily browses diamond rings at a reputable online jeweler.

Consider the cost and value of both the engagement ring and its center stone. Opting for a smaller center stone with higher quality can provide more brilliance and sparkle than a larger, lower-quality one.

Remember that a diamond’s cut has the most significant impact on its sparkle, so prioritize this aspect when choosing a stone. Understanding your partner’s preferences regarding size versus quality is crucial in making an informed decision.

When selecting the engagement ring setting, choose one that complements the center stone while also aligning with your partner’s style. Ensure to factor in metal type and design intricacy into your budget calculations.

Keep in mind that antique settings often offer unique designs at lower costs compared to brand-new ones. For added savings, consider purchasing from reputable online retailers like Blue Nile or James Allen while ensuring you understand their return policies.

Tips for Saving Money on an Engagement Ring

A vintage-inspired engagement ring is showcased on a rustic wooden surface in a close-up photograph.

Consider ditching the diamond, knowing your settings, manipulating the 4Cs, and opting for antique rings. For more money-saving tips on engagement rings, check out the full article!

Ditching the Diamond

Many modern couples are opting for diamond alternatives when it comes to engagement rings. Lab-grown diamonds, moissanite, sapphires, and morganite are gaining popularity due to their affordability and unique appeal.

These options provide an opportunity to embrace individuality while also being environmentally conscious as lab-grown diamonds offer the same chemical structure as natural ones at a fraction of the cost.

Additionally, antique rings with or without gemstones have become a sought-after choice for those looking for something distinctive and historic. Vintage pieces often come with intricate designs and intricate craftsmanship that add character to the ring without breaking the bank.

Knowing Your Settings

When selecting an engagement ring, understanding the different settings available is crucial. The setting refers to how the center stone is secured within the ring. Common options include prong, bezel, tension, pave, and channel settings.

Each setting affects the appearance and security of the stone while also influencing its overall cost and maintenance requirements. For example, a prong setting elevates the diamond above the band for more light exposure but may require regular inspection to ensure the prongs remain secure.

On the other hand, a bezel setting encases the outer edge of the diamond for added protection but can affect its brilliance due to less light penetration.

Manipulating the 4Cs

Consider manipulating the 4Cs of a diamond to fit your budget. Opt for a lower clarity rating if it doesn’t compromise the stone’s appearance, prioritize cut for brilliance over carat size, and choose a slightly lower color grade, as slight tinges aren’t necessarily noticeable to the naked eye.

Understand that manipulating these factors can help you find a high-quality diamond without breaking the bank.

When adjusting the 4Cs, remember that some alterations may not affect visual appeal significantly but can notably impact cost. Keep in mind that finding the right balance among these factors is crucial in getting an engagement ring that meets both quality and budget expectations.

Opting for Antique Rings

To cut costs and embrace a unique aesthetic, consider opting for antique rings. Antique rings offer a timeless style and can be more budget-friendly compared to traditional diamond rings.

They can be found at estate sales, antique shops, or through online vintage jewelry retailers.

These rings often have a lower cost than new diamond rings, making them an affordable option for couples looking for something with character and history at a reasonable price.

The Benefits of Lab-Grown Diamonds

A couple admires a lab-grown diamond engagement ring surrounded by sustainable and eco-friendly elements in nature.

Lab-grown diamonds are chemically identical to natural diamonds and come at a fraction of the cost, making them a more environmentally friendly and affordable option. They offer a more budget-friendly and ethical alternative to traditional mined diamonds.

With Clarity offers a wide selection of ethically sourced engagement rings, including lab-grown diamonds, making it a smart choice for couples looking to maximize their budget. Lab-grown diamonds provide a more affordable option for couples looking to purchase an engagement ring while still achieving the desired look.

This sustainable option is gaining popularity due to its accessibility and eco-conscious appeal.

Utilizing lab-grown diamonds can help couples make socially responsible choices without compromising on quality or aesthetics. These ethical alternatives allow couples to secure stunning engagement rings without breaking the bank or impacting the environment in harmful ways.

Choosing Preset Rings for Budget Maximization

When it comes to maximizing the budget for an engagement ring, choosing preset rings can be a smart move. Preset rings are pre-designed and come with a set stone and setting, eliminating the need to customize which can save both time and money.

By opting for a preset ring, individuals can take advantage of package deals that often include discounts on the center stone or settings, helping them stay within their budget while still obtaining a beautiful engagement ring.

This approach also streamlines the shopping process, making it easier to compare prices and find the best value without sacrificing quality.

Financing Options for Engagement Rings

When considering purchasing an engagement ring, it’s essential to explore the various financing options available. Here are some viable financing options to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Personal Savings: Using personal savings can eliminate the need for accruing interest and debt from loans.
  2. Specialty Jewelry Store Financing: Some jewelry stores offer financing plans with low or no interest for a certain period, making it a feasible option for spreading the cost over time.
  3. Personal Loans: Obtaining a personal loan from a bank or credit union can provide flexibility in choosing the ring without being limited to in-house financing options.
  4. Credit Cards: Utilizing credit cards with promotional 0% APR offers can be advantageous if the balance can be paid off within the promotional period.
  5. Family Assistance: Seeking financial assistance from family members can alleviate the immediate financial burden without accruing additional debt.
  6. Layaway Plans: Some jewelry stores offer layaway programs that allow you to reserve the ring while making periodic payments until it is fully paid off.
  7. Bridal Loans: Specialized lenders provide loans specifically tailored for wedding-related expenses, including engagement rings, with competitive interest rates and terms.
  8. Employer Benefits: Exploring any employer-based benefits such as employee purchase programs or low-interest loans can be advantageous in purchasing an engagement ring.
  9. Online Lenders: Online lending platforms offer quick and convenient access to personal loans with competitive rates and flexible repayment terms suitable for financing an engagement ring purchase.

Matching the Ring to a Wedding Band

When picking a wedding band, ensure it complements the engagement ring. Consider getting them from the same jeweler for a potential package deal.


In conclusion, determining the cost of an engagement ring should be based on open communication with one’s partner and financial reality. It is crucial to debunk myths about traditional spending guidelines and prioritize personal preferences over industry standards.

Exploring alternative gemstones, settings, and reputable jewelers can lead to finding a meaningful yet budget-friendly ring. Ultimately, the value of the ring lies in the sentiment it represents rather than its price tag.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much money is good to spend on an engagement ring?

It’s common for people to spend around two months’ gross income on an engagement ring, but you should choose what works best for your budget and your fiancé’s expectations.

2. What types of stones and metals are popular for engagement rings?

Diamonds with VS2 clarity in a solitaire setting are very popular, but other precious metals like palladium and gems like rubies, emeralds, and aquamarine are also loved.

3. Are there any special times of the year when I can get a better deal on an engagement ring?

Yes! Shopping during sales events such as Black Friday or subscribing to the mailing list from jewelers might help you find good deals.

4. Should I buy an engagement ring from a brick-and-mortar store or online?

You can buy an engagement ring from both places. Brick-and-mortar stores offer the chance to see the ring in person while online shops often have more options and sometimes lower prices.

5. Can customizing an engagement ring be expensive?

Adding personal touches like a unique diamond color or creating a bundle with wedding bands may raise costs compared to standard settings, but it makes the ring special.

6. Are there new trends millennials are following for engagements and weddings?

Millennials often value experiences like destination weddings over traditional practices; they might prioritize meaningfulness over spending more on things like tuxedos or reception fees.

Diamond Date Night

Choose your music, pour a drink, enjoy some superb hors d’oeuvres and explore the most romantic way to buy a diamond. Learn how you can schedule a Diamond Date Night.

About the Author

Matt O'Desky

I grew up in Chicago where we always had a “Diamond District” – an area of town with a slew of buildings filled with dozens of private jewelry wholesalers and upstairs diamond dealers.

When I moved to Texas, and realized there were few if any private jewelers, and I knew what I should do: Deliver a far more personalized experience, in a far more relaxed and enjoyable environment than any department store jeweler could possibly offer.

And show my clients obviously better diamonds at clearly better prices.

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