How Much Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Traditionally, the groom spent a certain proportion of his salary on an engagement ring, however times have changed. Is this still a reasonable standard? Below, learn the results of a recent survey to learn current trends in the United States...


How Much Do Others Spend on an Engagement Ring? While the answer used to be that people would spend the equivalent of two month's salary, today it is much more acceptable for people to spend whatever they can afford.


What's the Average Cost of Engagement Rings?
While MOST PEOPLE guessed between $2,001 and $4,000, the average price paid for an engagement ring in the United States is $6,348. This has risen a staggering 43% over the 2006 average price. Source: Brides magazine.


An engagement ring should last a lifetime and will be part of every stage of your life. Buying a good quality ring that will last is more important than spending lots of money. This often means buying a classic design rather than a high fashion engagement ring; however this has the added benefit of ensuring that the ring design will not date.


Three things should influence how much you spend on an engagement ring. While some  compromises might need to be made, these are the ideal point from which to start:

  • How much you can AFFORD,
  • The PRICE of the Perfect Ring and
  • Your Partner's EXPECTATIONS.

There are three factors that will most influence the cost of an engagement ring: type of metal, the type of gemstones or diamonds and workmanship. Money can be saved by choosing a lower-cost alternative for one or more of these features. For instance, save by opting for a simulated gemstone instead of a diamond, white gold instead of platinum, or a mass-produced ring rather than a handmade ring.


Traditionally, the engagement ring would be bought as a surprise (as shown by 61% who believe that their partner should not know how much was spent on the ring). Today, it is much more acceptable for both parties to be involved in the buying process. Involving your partner in the decision does mean that she'll know what you plan to spend on the ring. Although this may take away from some of the romance, it does help you both to plan and budget at this important stage of your lives. It also sets a valuable lifelong practice for sharing important purchase decisions.


Because the cost of a wedding ring will typically influence what you spend on an engagement ring, it is important to factor in the cost of wedding rings. With the average cost of a duo of wedding bands being $1,575 (as reported in, the cost of a wedding ring needs to be taken into account and added to your budgeted. Another reason why the purchase of a wedding ring needs to be taken into account is so that the engagement ring and wedding ring complement each other.

What if I Can't Afford the Perfect Ring?


If you can't afford the perfect ring, what are your options? Take out a loan, wait until you can afford the perfect ring before getting engaged, sell your car (or other asset) or look for an alternative type of ring. While about one-third of those surveyed opted to "wait until they could afford that perfect ring", looking for an alternative type of ring was chosen by 58%, which, by the way, is the best approach. Taking out a large loan to buy an engagement ring or putting the engagement back are drastic ways to address the cost of buying an engagement ring. There are a variety of ways that compromises can be reached. It is important to stay realistic about what you can and cannot afford at this time.



The Big Splurge: How to Satisfy Bridal Desires without Breaking the Bank, December 2006