What to Spend on an Engagement Ring

June 15, 2021
Words by CreditDonkey
Photos courtesy of Canva

Forget the “two months’ salary” rule. Find out how much money you should really spend on an engagement and wedding ring courtesy of CreditDonkey.

Thinking of popping the big question soon? One of the first thoughts in your head is probably: “How much should I spend on the ring?” This decision is both emotional and rational. You have two major things to consider:

1. Your Lady’s Expectations
2. Your Financial Situation

The goal is to find a balance between the two. Of course, every person’s situation is different. And that’s why it’s important to know where you stand. Do not rely on an outdated two months’ salary rule that was invented by a marketer. Rule of thumb: Spend 2 months of your income on an engagement ring. If you are making $1000 per month, spend $2000 on an engagement ring. If you’re making $2500 per month, spend $5000. Sounds simple, but the old 2-month rule of thumb is a bad idea. We’ll explain below.

Your Lady’s Expectations
There’s no getting around it. The ring does matter. And here’s why:

  • An engagement ring is a symbol of your love and commitment. It shows you’re invested in a shared future.
  • Many women have dreamed about their perfect ring for a long time, including the style, diamond shape, etc. It’ll be a big disappointment to get a ring that’s not exactly what she wants. Build your own engagement ring with this tool.
  • Women are the ones who wear the ring every day. This is going to be the single most important piece of jewelry she owns. And naturally, she wants something that makes her happy to look at and show off to her friends.

How much should you spend on an engagement ring? According to recent surveys, most American couples expect to spend between $1,000 and $5,000 on an engagement ring. The actual average cost for an engagement ring is over $6,000. With all that said, most women are reasonable and just. They will love and appreciate the fact that you spent the effort to find the perfect ring. Most women are not looking to bankrupt you with unrealistic requirements.

Your Financial Situation
You have your future to think about too. After all, finances merge when you get married. So along with her expectations, an equally-important factor to consider is what you can afford. There is no right or wrong answer. But there is a good way to look at it: You should not put yourself into a crazy amount of debt for the ring. Most young professionals are already up to their necks in student loan debt. Plus you have the rest of your life to think about. Here are some things that might help you determine your financial ability:

  • Your current income
  • Your expenses: Things like food, bills, and any debts you’re currently paying, like student loans and car payments.
  • Your savings: How much can you actually save per month if you cut down on extraneous things? How much you have saved up already?
  • Your potential income: Are you at a job with a lot of growth potential in the upcoming years? If yes, you may want to put that into consideration. But don’t go overboard.

Using these factors, you should be able to estimate how much you could reasonably spend. Ideally, you want to be able to buy the ring without financing so you don’t incur debt. Or at least you’ll want to be able to pay off the debt you might incur in a couple of months. How many months’ salary do you plan to spend on an engagement ring?

Calculate Your Budget
The Salary Rule says you should spend two to three months’ salary on the engagement ring. For example, if you earn $48,000 per year, you should spend $8,000 to $12,000 on the ring. If you earn $60,000 per year, you should spend $10,000 to $15,000. But, your personal budget should depend on your financial situation and not an arbitrary salary rule. You need to consider your lifestyle, debt, and current savings. You can use this engagement ring budget calculator as a guideline, but only you know your own financial situation.

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