Before your head goes spinning from the sheer number of engagement ring designs, diamond retailers, and digits of price tags, let’s take a moment to remember why you’re here. Understanding how much to spend on engagement rings isn’t something we’d expect you to subconsciously know. But this piece of jewelry doesn’t have to put you into debt to make you and your partner happy. In fact, several factors go into purchasing a ring, from creating a spreadsheet budget to enlisting the help of the “four Cs.” Here are five pieces of advice for keeping your head on your shoulders while searching for that perfect engagement ring.
1. Understanding the Average Cost of an Engagement Ring
If you have absolutely no idea where to start on how much to spend on an engagement ring, it’s not a bad idea to look at the average amount people spend. The rule of thumb people typically followed was the two-month salary guideline—which was created during the Great Depression, when diamond sales weren’t doing too well and De Beers, a leading diamond company, sought to improve the situation. The marketing campaign cast diamonds as the ultimate symbol of love and encouraged buyers to put aside one month’s pay (which the company later boosted to three), to purchase a diamond engagement ring.
In the present day, this means a salary in the low six figures could translate into options that are at least $25,000 and up. But this rule is outdated for several reasons. While engagement rings are a pricy investment, the usual cost tends to be below $10,000, with a national average of $6,000, according to The Knot’s 2022 Jewelry and Engagement Study. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other factors to take into consideration for your wedding ring, like the types of gemstones (especially for the center stone), metals, carat weight, and setting.
2. Much Like a Wedding Budget, Set an Engagement Ring Budget
There’s no need to go into debt or take out a student loan’s worth of money for an engagement ring. This piece of jewelry is meant to be special, but not unreasonable. First (for you and/or your partner), analyze your current financial situation: salary, savings, and how much you would ideally wish to spend. Then, create a budget. If you’re not too great with budgeting (don’t worry, you’re not the only one), pull out a spreadsheet and create a physical plan you’ll want to stick to while engagement ring shopping. Be sure to factor in additional costs to your total, like jewelry insurance.
In essence, don’t drain your savings for the sake of a ring. If you know you don’t have enough to purchase the ring your partner is set on, consider payment plans. Check with your jeweler to see if they offer in-house financing, or think about using a credit card to cover the cost. There are payment options readily available, but be responsible by looking into interest rates and the realistic timeframe for paying off the ring. If you know yourself well enough to know you’re not the best at timely payments, consider this a last resort.
3 Go Over the “Four Cs” With a Reputable Jeweler
Not everyone is going to have a reputable jeweler on hand or a family heirloom ring prepped and ready for the upcoming proposal. Start at local jewelry stores or gather recommendations from family members and friends. This doesn’t have to be where you buy your ring, but it’s a good place to begin your search.