Bridal & Engagement

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

By Dustin Lemick
June 2nd, 2021

Whoever said, “love don’t cost a thing,” clearly never had to buy an engagement ring!

When you’re ready to take the next step with your partner, finding a perfect engagement ring to WOW them with can certainly put the pressure on. After all, between learning all about the many facets of diamonds, gems, and bands, to figuring out how much you “should” spend on an engagement ring, there’s more to consider than you may have realized.

Luckily, you have us to help guide you! Today, we’ll cut through the marketing fluff around how much to spend on an engagement ring and get down to the important factors you should be focusing on instead so your proposal can feel more like a blessing and less like a financial burden.

Wondering How Much You Should Really Spend on an Engagement Ring? Consider These 3 Things:

1. Your Financial Situation

According to The Knot’s Jewelry and Engagement Study, the national average cost of an engagement ring in 2020 was $5,500. As an average, that number means some paid more for an engagement ring, and some paid less. It also should not be taken as a figure you must adhere to in order to find a winning ring for your significant other.

With that being said, it can be really easy to go overboard with your purchase, especially when the diamond industry advises you to spend a minimum amount of two to three months of your gross annual salary on an engagement ring. While you definitely want to buy a ring your significant other loves, your purchase should never come with feelings of being a financial burden that causes you more grief than joy.

Set a Budget

Before you even start browsing rings online or in stores, set a clear budget of what you can realistically afford, not just what you can pay (yes, there’s a difference!). After all, that “two-month” rule doesn’t account for your student loans, car, rent, or insurance payments, or your short and long-term financial goals!

With that being said, we recommend setting a budget that allows you to pay cash for your engagement ring rather than finance it. This way, you won’t go over budget from that good ol’ extended payments trick and will save hundreds of dollars by not paying interest fees.

An affordability calculator is a  great resource to help ballpark how much you should spend on an engagement ring based on your personal finances. The budget could even be discussed with your partner, depending on whether you have already established your short and long term financial goals. In fact, the Jewelry and Engagement study found that 10% of all couples determined their budget together.

2. Their Style Preferences and Yes, Expectations

Now is not the time to make decisions based on trends! At the end of the day, the engagement ring you buy will be worn by your fiance-to-be and should reflect their taste, style, and overall expectations. This is a decision that should be made with careful consideration for their benefit as well as fit your budget, and it can, with some proactive planning by you!

Okay, so maybe your fiance-to-be has really expensive taste. Can you compromise with an extended timeline in order to save up the funds to purchase the ring? Having a conversation with your significant other about expectations will help ease your mind and make it easier to pick the ring you know she will adore.

3. Other Engagement Ring Related Items to Budget For

Wedding bands

Aside from the initial purchase of an engagement ring, you should also consider the cost of wedding bands. For instance, the national average for wedding bands is $1,975, with the bride’s wedding band ringing in at $1,417 and the groom’s at $558. Use this average as a way to budget ahead of time, something you’ll be glad you did once you start planning and paying for the wedding!

Jewelry Insurance

Possibly the most overlooked part of how much to spend on engagement rings and wedding bands is failing to insure them. If you’ve seen even just one video of an engagement ring falling into the water/off a cliff/other catastrophic event during a proposal, then you know how incredibly important engagement ring insurance is for protecting your investment. Especially when you consider the typical coverage limits on your renters or homeowner’s insurance!

Luckily, BriteCo™ makes it incredibly simple to not only check your engagement ring insurance price but also get the best jewelry insurance coverage protecting your investment in the event of theft, damage, and mysterious disappearance, and all before you leave the jewelers! Plus, BriteCo™ even offers complimentary maintenance repairs to keep that engagement ring looking good, including stone tightening, prong retipping, and repairing broken, worn, or bent prongs.

While there is no set-in-stone answer to how much to spend on engagement rings, we can tell you with a proactive approach and realistic expectations, you will have no problem choosing an incredible engagement ring to make your next life-changing moment one to remember.

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About the Author

Dustin Lemick is the Founder and CEO of BriteCo and a third-generation jeweler with over thirteen years of retail jewelry experience. He holds a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in appraisal systems, diamond and gemstone markets, retail pricing models, insurance replacement models, and jewelry quotation pricing systems.
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