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How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?

How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?

If you are buying an engagement ring, then you have a great many options regarding how much you spend and how you buy the ring. This article is loaded with alternative after alternative for how much you should spend. It also has some solid advice on how to shop for your ring and how to get the most for your money.

expensive antique engagement ring with large diamondOne Months Wage On The Engagement Ring

Some say it was two months wages, and others say three months, but for the sake or argument, let’s say one month.

A rough and traditional idea is that you add up how much you earn after taxes and 401k payments (your take-home pay), and that is the figure you spend on the ring.

The idea is that the engagement ring represents your earning power. If there were a line of suitors for a woman’s heart, the guy with the most expensive ring is the one who can keep the woman (provide for her) the best.

Two Weeks Wages On The Ring

As a rough guide, you may have heard some people say that you should spend two weeks wages on the engagement ring. It shouldn’t take too long to save up, and it helps you avoid getting the very cheapest ring. The woman is guaranteed at least a reasonably good ring.

Even if your take-home is just $1000 per month, you can at least get an engagement ring that is worth $500, which means you may buy a gold ring and some sort of semi-precious stone.

Spend As Much As You Love Her

If anybody throws this line at you, then it is your honor bound duty to come up with a clever or witty response. You need to put this to bed as soon as possible because keeping your word on this could be the most expensive option of all. Please, ladies and gentlemen, do not fall for this old chestnut, you must come up with a witty or clever reply. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Give her an empty box with just a blank price label in there and say that your love for her is priceless.
  • Get a ring tattooed on you with her name under it and say that your tattoo will remind you of her because it will be with you forever.
  • Tell her that if you gave her the earth itself, it wouldn’t come close to how much you love her.
  • Reply with, “No problem. Now, does she love me enough to let me put the ring on her credit card?

The Quality Of The Engagement Ring

Ideally, you need to get the ring from an independent jeweler and not from a chain store. Smaller shops have to be part of buying groups, which makes their jewelry harder to find. They have to compete by providing better quality jewelry. Chain stores have to compete by creating the biggest profit margin. Learn as much as you can about the quality of jewelry so you can tell the difference between a high quality $700 ring and a toy store $700 ring.

Learn As Much As You Can About Good Quality Rings

How much gold is in the ring? What carat gold is the ring? How much metal is actually in the engagement ring? How secure are the claws that hold the stone in place?

Take a look at the ring to see if it is solid, or if it as areas underneath where there could be metal–but there isn’t. The jeweler will sell it at a high price, but it is not worth the money. Below is an example of an engagement ring that is expensive, but has a cheap design and is not worth the expense.



Below is a two-carat diamond set on a very ugly and nasty ring. If you see a ring like this in a shop or online, your skepticism node should be activated because they are probably about to charge you thousands for copper and a piece of glass.

Two Carat Diamond Set On A Terrible Ring


Don’t worry too much about having 18ct or 24ct gold. An engagement ring should be 9ct gold because it is stronger and more durable. The more gold that is in a ring, the softer it is. If she drives and you buy her a 24ct ring, it will be oval shaped within three months.

Learn The Four Cs Of Diamonds, But Don’t Take It Too Far

There is cut, clarity, carat and color. The cut doesn’t matter so much if you are buying from a legitimate and trustworthy store and not from Donny’ Discount Diamonds. If it sparkles in the sunlight or under a good-quality light such as an LED light, then the cut is fine.

The color will affect the cost of the stone because it is very noticeable when you place two stones next to each other. Try to steer clear of the yellowish diamonds and opt for nice stone that you can afford.

The clarity is important because it is noticeable. Chain stores and larger online stores tend to sell diamonds with more inclusions because it is harder to notice unless you are looking for it.

Engagement Ring - Diamond clarity chart

The size (carat) of the ring doesn’t matter so much. Maybe your lady has a hankering for a rock the size of a baby’s head, but most engagement rings have reasonably sized diamond in them. Below is a chart that explains cut, clarity and color in a little more detail.

cut clarity and color chart

Do Not Buy Your Engagement Ring Online

You cannot feel the quality of the ring, you cannot inspect the ring, you cannot see how yellow the stone is (the picture will lie) and you cannot see the clarity of the ring (the picture will lie again). You need to go to a shop and see the ring with your own eyes.

Get It On Two Weeks Approval For A Refund If You Can

If she says no, you will be thankful that you had it on two weeks approval. In addition, when you buy your ring, take it to two or three other jewelers and pay them a few dollars to give you a valuation on the engagement ring. If its retail price is close to what you paid, then maybe you got a good deal.

Perfect Diamonds Are Not Needed

The closer the diamond is to looking flawless and perfect, then the more it looks like a fake. Manufactured diamonds, such as Cubic Zirconias are almost perfect and flawless. If your beloved is wearing a flawless stone while hopping out of her 11-year-old car in her faded slippers, then people may think the stone is a fake.

Diamonds vs. Cubic Zirconia

If It Is Too Expensive, It Is A Theft Risk

Let’s not forget that an expensive ring is more of a theft risk. She is probably going to tell everybody she can find that she has thousands of dollars sitting on her finger, and it only takes her conversation being overheard by a mugger for her to end up with a broken finger, a black eye, and a stolen engagement ring.

Get The Darn Thing Insured

If you do spend thousands on the ring, then get it insured. Its price drops dramatically after you take it out of the shop, so buy insurance that covers replacing the ring and not insurance that covers its current value.

Can You Make It Meaningful? Such As An Heirloom

Is there a famous ring you could buy or something similar? There are plenty of men that have mistakenly bought their girlfriends a replica of the Lord Of The Rings ring, only to find themselves going on an epic journey because their girlfriends told them to get lost.

Should You Borrow Or Save The Money To Buy Your Ring?

Since this is a financial website that is loaded with advice on how to earn more money and become wealthy, we are honor bound to tell you to never buy a ring with anything but your savings.

You can buy it with a credit card for the extra protection if you have the money in your checking account to pay your card back right away. Otherwise, buy the ring with your money and not money you borrowed. If you buy it any other way, then clearly you cannot afford it and you cannot afford a wedding. Prove your love to her by not shackling her to a guy with debt.

Would Costume Jewelry Be Okay If The Wedding Ring Is Expensive?

Darn right it is. If the engagement ring or wedding ring is particularly expense, then stash it in your wall safe for special occasions and buy a few costume jewelry copies. Most people cannot tell the difference anyway, and it saves you the worry of loss or damage.

Cheaper Rings Are Often Easier To Damage

The quality of the claws that hold the stone in place will determine how long you will have your ring before it needs repair. A poorly crafted setting and poor quality claws will result in lost stones. The image below shows a cheap ring, and if you look at the area where the missing stone was, you will see that it had very little holding it in since the tiny claw was knocked off. It only took minimal wear and tear before the stone fell out. Also, take note of the poor color of the rings and the obvious inclusion in the bigger stone.

Ring With Stone Missing

Also, remember that a big stone, mount or head on a cheap ring is just begging for wear and tear damage. Typically, the head and/or metal will be bent in some fashion.

Cheap ring plus big stone equals bending damage

Should You Get Her Ring Size Beforehand?

If you are a romantic, then no. If you are a pragmatist, or she knows about it, then yes. If you buy a ring from a good and independent store, they should allow you to bring the ring back and they will order one in the correct size. If the shop is worth its salt, they should allow you to take it away, propose, and then bring her back to have her finger measured so they may order a ring in the correct size.

If the company is smart, that is what they should do so that they can get you both back in the store to discuss getting you (the man) a ring, or so that they may discuss wedding rings with you both. That is just a quick warning for you. If you start hearing words such as, “So, when is the big day?” It will usually be followed by, “Would you like to have a look at our wedding rings while you are here?”

A Bit Of Honest Advice

Some rings look ugly on their own, but they look great when they are on a finger. Have the ladies in the jewelry store try the ring on and look at it under the LED lights. There are some rings that look good on a finger, but look nasty on their own. This is yet another reason why you should buy the ring in person and not online. Consider a few of the points listed below:

  • Spend a lot of time shopping for it to get the best possible one
  • Spend a lot of time shopping for it to get the best possible price
  • Do not be afraid to negotiate for the sake of it
  • Buy second hand and have it cleaned if you are strapped for cash
  • Can you pick up one at an auction?

Conclusion – Do Not Let Others Tell You What To Spend

This article offers numerous suggestions because there is no right answer. Let your budget, your common sense, and your romantic side make the decision for you…just make sure you do not buy it online and make sure you get it on two weeks approval.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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