How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring: A Look at the New Standard in Ring Pricing

by Kate Sauble on October 21, 2013

The old rule about 2 months' salary on an engagement ring is out of date.

Three months’ salary? Two months? One month?

If the number wasn’t already confusing enough, recent debate centers on whether the standard formula for determining how much to spend on an engagement ring should be months or even weeks. It seems that the old standard in determining how much to spend for an engagement ring is no longer the be-all, end-all standard rule of thumb.

Other couples are spending less than you think

According to an article in London’s Daily Mail, last year, a 2012 survey conducted in England revealed that the average amount spent by men in that country for an engagement ring is still “three.”

That is, three WEEKS, not months.

The survey revealed that just over two-thirds of men responding to the survey spent less than one month’s salary on a ring for their beloveds.

Only 38 percent of the men in the survey said they told their fiancées what their rings cost. Buttressing that figure is the 45 percent of women surveyed who said they know how much their rings cost.

The “two-months’ salary” standard is outdated

Inflation and global turmoil seem to have negatively affected the previously recession-proof notion of romance and the idea of there being no price you can put on love.

When the prices of gold and diamonds recently shot through the roof to the tune of $500-plus percent (gold) over the last 10 years and 44 percent (diamonds) in the last 6 years, there is a financial limit to expressions of love for much of the buying public.

Ways to keep the cost down: Heirloom rings

With the price of new becoming so prohibitive, many are advocating used, and that has reinvigorated the idea of repurposing or passing on family heirlooms as redesigned engagement rings. This option won’t work for everyone, but if your special lady is a sentimental woman, getting a prized family gem would be even more valuable to her than a new one right out of a chain store or even online, for that matter.

You could perhaps dress it up with something more her style by getting it restyled with a new mounting, as long as the bigger stone in the middle was not disrupted. The caveat to this is the pessimistic consideration that the ring would be permanently lost to the family in the event of a breakup or divorce. Sorry for injecting that note of practicality and caution to those hopeless romantics out there!

Ways to keep the cost down: Loose diamonds

Another way to fight the inflationary trends in romance is to purchase a loose diamond online and then take it to a local jeweler to for a custom setting. You’ll end up with a personalized ring and — believe it or not — will save up to 50 percent off jewelry store prices.

As with anything online, caveat emptor and be sure to do your homework and verify, verify, verify. We’re here to help you take the mystery out of the process by answering these types of questions and by getting to the heart of the matter.

This is not an attempt to quash the traditional concept of spending two to three months’ salary on the engagement ring. If that’s doable for you guys, then by all means, do so. But nobody should feel like they have to dig deep into debt to afford an engagement ring. Two months’ salary has definitely become more the exception than the rule. So if you find yourself wondering how much to spend on an engagement ring, you can stop worrying and just do what’s best for you and your bride-to-be!

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