How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring? (2024)

If you're currently planning to propose to your significant other, congratulations—this is a milestone that you'll remember for the rest of your life. Before you gear up to officially pop the question, however, you'll need to purchase a special piece of jewelry to signify this moment—that being, an engagement ring. From choosing a carat size to selecting the perfect diamond shape, many individuals are aware of the fundamental details that go into selecting the perfect ring for their partner. One detail many people are consistently unsure of, though? The cost.

Since there are so many common myths and misconceptions about buying an engagement ring, it's hard to really know how much to spend on this particular piece of jewelry (especially since there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to engagement ring etiquette). Still, there are some tips you can keep in mind to help you nail down an appropriate price estimate.

Interested in learning more? With the help of several diamond and jewelry experts, we break down how much to spend on an engagement ring based on your budget. Plus, the experts debunk a few cost-related engagement ring myths, and we provide a few tips on how to save money on your partner's sparkler.

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How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring? (1)

What Is the Average Cost of an Engagement Ring?

Before we dive into the specific details and numbers, it's important to remember that everyone's financial situation is different, and spending a specific amount of money on a ring isn't a necessity. With that in mind, Kristina Buckley Kayel, managing director and CMO at the Natural Diamond Council, shares that "The average engagement ring price sold in 2021 and 2022 was around $6,500 to $7,000." However, some to-be-weds spend a lot less and some spend a whole lot more (hence why this is an average estimate), and when it comes to the cost of the ring itself, prices are going to vary widely due to a number of reasons.

"As you narrow down the specifics and look at the 4Cs—cut, clarity, carat, and color—you will find natural diamond engagement ring offerings that run the gamut when it comes to price," explains Kayel. Tom Bergan, vice president of Grown Brilliance, also adds that the amount you spend on an engagement ring will vary depending on the specific preferences your partner wants.

"The cost of the ring should depend on the following factors: The size and look that your significant other wants—they might choose a delicate look versus a higher carat weight or vice versa," he explains. Additionally, the size and quality of the center stone, any details (like a halo or stones set in the band), and the type of metal chosen all play a role in the final cost of a ring.

How Much Is Too Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring?

While there is truly no set price cap when it comes to buying an engagement ring, spending beyond your means and going into debt is something that should be avoided. Remember: Weddings can oftentimes be expensive, and you'll want to save a bit of money for other moments during your journey to the aisle.

For those on the receiving end of the proposal and afraid that their partner will go overboard, it's important to be direct about pricing so that your significant other knows where you stand. You can even make up a story and slip your opinion into a casual conversation, like: "You know, Jen was just telling me the other day that she really wishes her husband had spent less on the engagement ring, so they could have had a bigger wedding budget to play with. I think some people are going a little crazy these days. Honestly, I don't think anyone should spend more than $ [fill in the max you want them to spend here], don't you?"

At the end of the day, some people really just want to go above and beyond and splurge on an engagement ring, which is totally fine (and really sweet) as long as they have the means to do so.

You can also pass your concern on to your partner's family and friends, who will relay the message.

The Most Popular Engagement Ring Cost Myths

While there are hundreds of traditions that couples follow when planning to get married, some of the more popular customs that many people deem as facts are actually myths—especially as it relates to engagement ring costs, as highlighted below.

You Should Spend Three Month's Worth of Your Salary on a Ring

"There is a long-standing cultural tradition of spending two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. However, there is no unanimous rule as to how much one should spend on an engagement ring only, and this myth only adds unnecessary pressure," explains Kayel. "Every individual must take their income, savings, future investment goals, and debt into consideration when making such an important purchase."

The expert further shares that instead of focusing on buying a ring worth three months of your salary, you should select a piece that aligns with your budget and where you currently are in life. "So, take your time and enjoy the process," she adds. "You can always get the natural diamond ring that fits your budget and style now, reset and/or upgrade it later when your financial means allow you to do so."

It Can Be Risky to Find a Cheaper Diamond Online

Taylor Lanore, a jeweler and founder ofLanore Fine Jewelry, says it's riskier to shop for diamonds online because there are far more low-quality stones to select from, which isn’t always obvious to the untrained eye. Instead, she recommends going straight to the source. "It’s best to consult the pros for your needs," says the jewelry expert. "There are a lot of tricks to know for each diamond cut and shape—it is a science, after all. I highly recommend contacting a diamond consultant to assist in center stone selection." These experts can help you get the best possible diamond for your budget.

Kayel further points out that while diamonds may seem less expensive online, the final cost will likely be higher due to external fees. "Also, beyond the ticket price, one should consider shipping fees, state and local taxes, as well as import fees if you’re ordering outside of your origin country. If you’re designing a custom ring, there will also be a labor charge to craft your ring, which can be hefty," she shares. "Subsequently, it’s OK to do the research online and then go to your local jeweler or preferred designer or brand to speak with an expert to solidify your budget and preferences."

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How to Save Money on an Engagement Ring

If you're working within a budget, you can absolutely still treat your significant other to the ring of their dreams, thanks to the below engagement ring shopping tips.

Ditch the Diamond

Diamonds are the most expensive part of an engagement ring, so you can save a lot of cash by using a diamond alternative as the center stone. “Consider a white sapphire, which is hard enough to withstand daily wear and has a similar color,” says Jennifer Gandia, a jeweler and owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers. “Other traditionally popular gemstones are blue sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Depending on quality, these can be slightly less than a diamond, though truly rare and high-quality stones can sometimes cost more.”

Other nontraditional stones that are getting more popular by the minute? Green tourmaline, peachy-pink morganite, ice-blue aquamarine, and Herkimer diamonds. “These are all great options for clients looking for a lower-priced alternative to a diamond that will still really shine,” adds Gandia.

Know Your Settings

Keep in mind that certain settings can be expensive. While your future spouse may (understandably) be obsessed with Meghan Markle's three-stone engagement ring, that setting can actually cost you a pretty penny and influence the size of the center stone. Instead, if you would rather focus the bulk of your budget on the ring's diamond, consider a classic solitaire setting to make the stone appear more prominent.

Manipulate the 4Cs

Working on the lower end of the color and clarity scales can go a long way in terms of majorly slashing engagement ring costs (especially with brilliant-cut diamonds) without sacrificing quality. As far as clarity goes, "as long as you can't see inclusions to the naked eye, you're in great shape," Lanore says. "Contrary to popular belief, clarity is independent of anything else and doesn't affect the brilliance of the stone." Lanore also adds that the color of the diamond is "purely personal preference," but, "if size is your biggest interest, consider working lower here if you're working with a budget."

Go the Antique Route

"Antique diamonds are truly magical for hiding color, and face up two to three colors whiter than their grade indicates," Lanore notes. "There's a real romance with these diamonds." All in all, to get the most bang for your buck and give your partner the engagement ring they really want (and deserve), Lanore advises paying close attention to their personal style or any hints they might be dropping.

"What I've noticed is that if their partner doesn't request a specific design, a lot of guys (or gals) tend to pick a round brilliant diamond, which is the most expensive diamond per carat because of their difficulty to cut," says Lanore. Make sure you put your personal preferences aside to truly cater to your significant other. After all, they're the ones who will be wearing it every day.


  • Where can I shop for a budget-friendly engagement ring?

    If you are shopping for an engagement ring on a budget, there are plenty of stores and brands to consider. Etsy is a great place to find unique rings at a range of prices. Other sites such as Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth also make it easy to shop by price point, and offer you the ability to create a ring with lab-grown diamonds or diamond alternatives.

  • How much does it cost to insure an engagement ring?

    If you choose to insure your engagement ring, consider factoring this into the overall price of the ring. Generally, insurance will be one percent to two percent of your ring's value. If you are considering splurging on a ring, this might be an added cost to consider when deciding how much to spend.

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How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring? (2024)


How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring? ›

Two Months Salary

What is a reasonable amount to spend on an engagement ring? ›

While engagement rings are a pricy investment, the usual cost tends to be below $10,000, with a national average of $6,000, according to The Knot's 2022 Jewelry and Engagement Study.

What is the golden rule for engagement ring prices? ›

The 3-Month Salary Rule:

This is one of the most popular engagement ring cost rules, stipulating that one must shell out the equivalent of 3 months' gross or net salary for purchasing an engagement ring.

What is the rule of thumb for engagement rings? ›

To put that number into perspective, the three-month rule means that someone making $50,000 per year ought to spend $12,500 on the engagement ring. If a budget of three months' income seems like too big of a stretch for your lifestyle, you've got plenty of company.

Is $2,500 enough for an engagement ring? ›

For a $2500 price range, you can find a high-quality diamond ring with a good cut, potentially in modest carat sizes. Consider shapes like the princess or oval to maximize appearance while staying within budget.

What is the etiquette for engagement ring cost? ›

You Should Spend Three Month's Worth of Your Salary on a Ring. "There is a long-standing cultural tradition of spending two to three months' salary on an engagement ring.

What is an acceptable amount to pay for an engagement ring? ›

How much should you spend on an engagement ring? According to the classic engagement ring cost rule, you should spend three months' salary on an engagement ring for your loved one – after all, they'll be wearing that ring for the rest of their life.

What is the etiquette for buying an engagement ring? ›

The Rule: One person has to foot the bill.

Regardless, there's no denying that an engagement ring is a sizable expense. And while it's common for the proposer to buy the ring, either partner can contribute any amount they'd like.

Do couples buy engagement rings together? ›

Making the decision to get married together has also led 75% of couples to choose an engagement ring together, with 28% of these couples saying both people were 'very' involved in the process. Gone are the days of shopping for an engagement ring on your own—this 100-year tradition seems to be at an end.

Is $20000 too much for an engagement ring? ›

High-class individual spends $20,000 or more on their engagement ring, and this often drives the average engagement ring cost upward. Even though these figures can provide a ballpark range, we don't recommend setting a budget based on what others spend on engagement rings.

Who legally owns an engagement ring after a breakup? ›

Ownership of the ring is not fully transferred until the wedding ceremony is completed. The common view says that it doesn't matter who did or said what. If the agreement to wed is broken off, ownership of the ring returns to the giver.

Am I spending too much on an engagement ring? ›

For example, if you bought a $5,000 engagement ring and lost it, would it force you to change your every day spending habits? If so, then $5,000 is too much. If $3,000 is an amount you could cope with (you'd still be upset) and not change your spending habits, then that should be the maximum budget you set.

What is a realistic budget for an engagement ring? ›

Two Months Salary

The two-month salary payment system means spending two months of your salary on a ring. So, if your yearly salary is $45,000, you'll spend $7,500 on your engagement ring. This is the most popular system for calculating how much to spend on an engagement ring.

Is $1000 too little for an engagement ring? ›

Engagement rings under $1,000 can be just as meaningful and beautiful as their more expensive counterparts. It's essential to understand that the value of an engagement ring is symbolic, representing commitment and love rather than monetary worth.

How much should a guy spend on an engagement ring? ›

The two-to-three-month-salary rule

For example, if you take home $4,000 a month, you should spend $8,000 to $12,000 a month on an engagement ring; if you take home $10,000 a month, you should feel obligated to spend $20,000 to $30,000.

How much should a man pay for an engagement ring? ›

Most people believe you should spend at least two months' salary on your engagement ring. If, for example, you are making $60,000 per year, you should spend $10,000 on the engagement ring.

Is a 2 carat diamond considered to be big? ›

A 2-carat diamond is considered large compared to the average size of diamonds used for engagement rings. The average diamond size for engagement rings is around 1.0 to 1.5 carats. Therefore, a 2-carat diamond stands out significantly and offers a more pronounced appearance on the finger.

What is the 3 months salary for an engagement ring? ›

It's known as the "three months' salary" rule, and it implies that a buyer should put three months of their salary toward a sparkler for their future spouse. For context, The Knot's 2023 Jewelry and Engagement study found that the average cost of an engagement ring in the US is $5,500.

How much should you spend on an engagement ring if you make 100k? ›

The Correct Answer to How Much to Spend
Salary (US Dollars)Minimum To Spend (US Dollars)Maximum You Should Spend (US Dollars)
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