Proposal Planning

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

Newly engaged couple kissing with engagement ring in focus

The problem with budgets is they are about as subjective as the style of the engagement ring itself. The limit should be based on what you can and can’t afford, but ultimately you get to call the shots on how much you dish out. Since this might be the first time you’ve ever made such a big purchase attached to an equally significant commitment, there’s no shame in seeking a path to follow. You essentially have three choices regarding how much to spend on an engagement ring.

The Path of the Two Mothers: Two-months’ salary has long been the go-to budget rule and works well with many people’s finances. However, that doesn’t mean it works for all. If you’re not feeling on board with two months’ salary, skip to choice number 2.

The Path of Deeper Meaning: Another jewelry ad affecting engagement ring budgets for decades is: “A diamond is forever.” In the literal sense, understanding that the ring you give will likely last forever, excluding it getting swiped or misplaced, makes it worth an investment.

However, in the more figurative sense, a forever-piece of jewelry also does a stand-up job of symbolizing your love and future marriage. With that in mind, the ring you purchase should be meaningful and one that matches her values as well as that of your relationship. If your soon-to-be better half values gigantic diamonds, well, buckle up because you’re going to need a bigger budget. If she values history and romance, maybe an heirloom ring of your grandmother means you don’t need any budget at all.

The Path of Keeping Up with the Joneses: If she’s a material girl in a material world or, perhaps, you are, then the right engagement ring might not fall flat when worn in the company of blinged-out engaged and married gal pals. As much as an object shouldn’t define a person or her worth, having something less than the rest of your squad can make her feel bad.

Beware of this path for two reasons. First, it may mean spending beyond your means, which could lead to the need to borrow money, take out a loan, or max out your credit cards. Marriage is hard enough; don’t burden yourself with additional debt to make it more difficult. Two, keeping up with the Joneses is never quite as it seems. If you set your ring budget based on achieving perfection, you’re going to fall flat.