How Much Should You Really Spend On An Engagement Ring

How Much Should You Really Spend On An Engagement Ring?

Weddings come with many expensive traditions, often leading to couples starting their life together in debt. Many modern couples have chosen to eschew some of the more costly customs, but engagement rings remain a firm favorite. No one wants an engagement ring that looks cheap, so how much should you really spend on an engagement ring?

The old rule of thumb that is still sometimes touted is that you should spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring. Depending on how much you earn, this could mean tens of thousands of dollars. And the spending doesn’t end there.

With such an expensive item, there is always the risk of it getting lost or stolen. You can insure your engagement ring, but the more expensive the ring, the more expensive your premiums become. Not only have you splashed the cash on the proposal, but you also have to pay monthly to protect it for the rest of your life.

Is an expensive engagement ring the only way to go? Or can you get a beautiful ring that doesn’t break the bank?

The Three-Month Rule

Spending a quarter of your annual earnings on an engagement ring might sound excessive… and it is. Few people can spend that much money without significantly impacting their savings or even taking out a loan. But if that’s the only way to get a good engagement ring, maybe it’s worth it.

The good news is that the three-month rule is entirely made up, and not by diamond lovers hoping for an expensive stone. Rather, it was created by diamond companies to sell diamonds during tough economic times.

In short, you should definitely not spend a quarter of your annual salary on an engagement ring. It is not necessary and, unless you have a lot of spare cash, it is an irresponsible way to get your wedding season started.

So, How Much Should You Spend?

The three-month rule might hurt your pocket, but at least it gives you an idea of what to spend. How do you decide what to splash on an engagement ring? The reality is that it depends entirely on you and the person you are buying it for.

To give you context, we can look at what other people spend. According to a survey done in 2019 by The Knot, the average amount spent on engagement rings is $5,900. This is far lower than a quarter of most people’s annual salaries. And remember that this is the average, not the median. The number is inflated by the rings on the higher end – those that cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In fact, a full 10% of respondents said that they spent less than $1,000 on their engagement rings. So, there is no shame in not spending big on an engagement ring.

Consider saving the money to spend on an exotic honeymoon or a diamond tennis bracelet on for your first wedding anniversary instead. This will help to make more memories that you will cherish forever.

However, that does not mean you should spend less than a grand on an engagement ring.

Ask Your Future Spouse

If you’re trying to keep your proposal a secret, asking your future spouse about the engagement ring is not all that easy. But most people these days discuss getting married before one person proposes. It is a joint decision that shouldn’t be sprung upon one party.

Asking your future spouse what they want is wise because they are ultimately the person who will wear the ring. Some people will far prefer to save the money to spend on the wedding rather than wear an expensive ring. Others will consider the expense worth it and will want you to splash out. You can come to a joint decision on a budget, as the expense will affect both of you, considering you will be spending your life together.

If you are surprising your future spouse with a proposal, consider using an inexpensive stand-in for the engagement ring. Once the proposal is done, you can go together to find the perfect engagement ring that they will love.

Spending a quarter of your annual salary on an engagement ring is unwise if you are not in a great place financially. Take your future spouse into consideration and don’t feel pressured to spend more than what you can actually afford.


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