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How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?

Getting engaged signifies taking the next step in your relationship. It’s an important milestone, and one you want to make sure you get right.

It is most-commonly symbolised by asking for your girlfriend’s hand in marriage by giving her an engagement ring. And with so many different options, how do you know how much you should be spending on this ever-important purchase?

Thinking about how much to spend on an engagement ring is one of the most common questions at the forefront of the mind of someone that is about to propose.

The secret to knowing how much to spend lies in striking the optimal balance between your financial reality and the expectations of your partner.

Everyone’s situation will be different and the balance of these two things will naturally be different too.

Nonetheless, there are still a few methodologies that are used for approaching this major purchase decision…

The Two-Months Salary Rule

You may have heard of the two months’ salary rule. No big surprises as to how this works: you are supposed to spend two months of your income on the engagement ring.

For example, if you make $5,000 per month, then you’d spend $10,000 on the ring.

It is nowadays commonly accepted that this is very much an outdated rule that was initiated by the diamond company De Beers and driven by marketers.

People’s earning potential increases at later stages of their careers, and depending on when you get engaged, can result in both over or under-spending on the ring.

There is also a big difference between net versus gross earnings, which can make a massive difference on how much you spend using this rule.

And if you have a big university debt, then spending a large sum on a ring with that debt hanging over your head might feel like an (already tight) noose that’s getting even tighter around your neck.

Alternatively, there’s the social average rule. At first glance, this makes a lot of sense, since you can take the average spend by the “common man” as a basis for comparison.

This may represent a useful benchmark and more realistic framework than the two-months salary rule, but still doesn’t take into account your personal financial situation (which may still result in meeting the social average hard or impossible).


It is important to balance your financial situation with your partner’s expectations. It is important to remember that buying an engagement ring is different to buying that pair of running shoes you bought online the other day.

An engagement ring is a symbol of your relationship and the love you have for your girlfriend.

As you look towards the future, the proposal marks the beginning of the rest of your lives together and the ring is symbolic of that milestone.

It is likely that your partner will have thought about this special day at some point throughout your relationship.

As many women have a natural fascination with jewellery, she may likely have given some thought to her ideal engagement ring, which means she probably has an idea about some basic things like its style and the diamond shape, size and colour.

Your financial reality means that you should not spend beyond your means, but spending adequately on an engagement ring can demonstrate that you see the life ahead with your special lady as one of your highest priorities.

Clever Cost-Saving Strategies

Regardless of budget, there are always things you’re able to do to maximise your bang-for-buck.

Certain diamond attributes are visible to the naked eye, whereas others are not.

Naturally, the size and carat weight of the diamond will show obvious differences if bigger or smaller. Similarly, the cut will show greater or lesser sparkle depending on the cut-grade that you choose.

However selecting diamonds with inclusions that are observable only under a microscope might represent a good compromise if need be. Many diamond colours are also very difficult to distinguish by the naked eye, and small differences can often represent big savings.

Make sure that you also get multiple quotes as different jewellers have different stock they are often trying to clear with different levels of urgency. If time is on your side and you’ve done your homework with different jewellers, there’s a high likelihood you’ll come across a diamond priced below what it may likely be selling for with other jewellers.

Similarly, try to avoid typical store-front jewellers as their retail overheads often add a layer of additional expense that inevitably gets passed on to you as the customer.

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