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Buying an Engagement Ring – What Should You Spend from Your Salary?

Getting ready to propose is a thrilling time in any relationship, and finding the perfect engagement ring to make it happen is a significant part of the process. An engagement ring is more than just a piece of jewelry; it represents your love and commitment to spending your life together.

Are you unsure “how much to spend on an engagement ring” or “how to buy an engagement ring”? When it comes to buying a proposal ring, there are many misconceptions and myths that can make it difficult to know how much you should spend.

However, it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much you should spend. You don’t have to follow any strict engagement ring etiquette, but there are guidelines that can help you make the right decision.

It’s important to spend what you can comfortably afford within your budget. You shouldn’t worry too much about what others might think. In this article, you will gain insights to guide you in making wise decisions.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Engagement Ring

When buying an engagement ring, you must consider several factors to ensure you find the perfect ring for your partner. From the diamond’s quality to the style and setting, each detail plays a crucial role in creating a ring that your significant other will cherish for a lifetime.

Find an affordable engagement ring within your budget is a tricky job but it’s easy if done right. And, if you’re looking for a cost-friendly ring,  it’s important to remember that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for cost. By exploring these alternative options, you can still find a beautiful and stunning engagement ring that will make your partner’s heart skip a beat.

Let’s explore below the things to consider before buying an engagement ring and getting down on one knee.

The 4Cs of Diamond Quality

The 4Cs of diamond quality is a system that is used to assess and describe the quality of a diamond. The 4Cs stand for cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, and they are widely recognized as the standard method for evaluating a diamond’s overall quality and value. Here’s a brief explanation of each of the 4Cs:

  • Cut: This refers to the diamond’s proportions, symmetry, and overall finish. A well-cut diamond will have maximum sparkle and brilliance.
  • Color: This refers to the absence or presence of color in a diamond. The less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is considered to be.
  • Clarity: This refers to the presence or absence of internal or external flaws, known as inclusions or blemishes, in a diamond. The fewer inclusions or blemishes, the more valuable the diamond.
  • Carat Weight: This refers to the weight or size of a diamond. The larger the diamond, the more valuable it is likely to be, all other factors being equal.

Natural Diamond Alternatives

Diamonds are not the only option when it comes to engagement rings. In fact, there are several diamond alternatives that offer their own unique set of pros and cons. They include:


Moissanite is a lab created gemstone that is often used as a diamond alternative because it has similar properties to diamonds. In terms of the 4Cs, moissanite is nearly as hard as diamonds, but it has more fire and brilliance than diamonds. However, it can appear slightly yellowish in color in certain lighting conditions.

  • Pros: Lower cost, ethical sourcing (since it is lab-created), and high durability.
  • Cons: Slightly lower hardness than diamonds, and the potential for color to appear slightly yellowish.

Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds are diamonds that are made in a laboratory rather than being mined from the earth. The 4Cs, lab-grown diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds and can be nearly identical in appearance. But, they are often less expensive than natural diamonds.

  • Pros: Lower cost, ethical sourcing (since they are not mined from the earth), and the same high quality as natural diamonds.
  • Cons: Some people prefer the idea of a naturally occurring diamond, and some lab grown diamonds can still be relatively expensive.

Other Diamond Alternatives

Cubic zirconia is a synthetic gemstone that looks similar to a diamond but is much less expensive. White sapphire and morganite are also gemstones that can be used as diamond alternatives.

In terms of The 4Cs, these alternatives generally have lower hardness and lower brilliance than diamonds, but can still be attractive and durable.

  • Pros: Lower cost, ethical sourcing (since they are not mined from the earth), and a unique look compared to diamonds.
  • Cons: Lower hardness and brilliance than diamonds, and potentially less resale value.

Additionally, considering synthetic or lab-grown diamonds or even a diamond pendant necklace can be a cost-effective choice for those looking for affordable engagement rings. It is a classic and timeless piece of jewelry that can be worn every day and adds a touch of elegance to any outfit.

Style and Setting

The style and setting of an engagement ring can make a big difference in its appearance. From minimalist engagement rings to vintage engagement rings, there are many styles to choose from.

You can also select a unique engagement ring setting, such as a halo or solitaire setting to enhance the diamond’s brilliance. Ensure you find what aligns with your budget.

Band Material

The band material is also essential to consider when buying an engagement ring. The most common options are gold, platinum, and white gold. Each material has its advantages, so choosing the one that best fits your budget, preferences, and lifestyle is important.

However, men can also wear engagement rings these days. For the masculine engagement ring, opt for a more rugged and durable material like tungsten carbide. 

Tungsten is an extremely hard metal that is scratch-resistant. It will look brand new for years even with daily wear. The tungsten rings, as shown on Men’s Wedding bands, offer many stylish yet strong options for men’s engagement rings. Their tungsten carbide rings come in various sleek designs as well as antiqued or brushed finishes for a rugged look. 

Tungsten is dense so the rings have a solid, weighty feel that many men prefer. The tungsten bands are also 100% cobalt-free, which makes them a safe hypoallergenic choice. 

Similarly, selecting a band material like gold or white gold can be a more affordable option compared to platinum. All these factors can help you find affordable engagement rings that suit your preferences and budget.

Average Cost of Engagement Rings

An engagement ring is a significant investment, and it’s natural to wonder how much you should spend. There are some common facts and considerations when determining the typical cost of an engagement ring.

Even though prices might vary greatly, the average cost of an engagement ring is about $6,600. Keep in mind that the national average cost for an engagement ring is about $6,000, but this can vary depending on where you live.

People in different regions tend to spend different amounts of money on engagement rings. For instance, those living in the Mid-Atlantic region tend to spend the most, with an average cost of around $8,400, while those living in the Midwest tend to spend the least, with an average cost of around $5,200.

While it’s helpful to have a general idea of how much other people spend on engagement rings, we suggest that you don’t base your own budget solely on these figures. It’s better to consider factors specific to you and your fiancé-to-be, such as your personal finances, your partner’s expectations, and the type of ring that would suit their style best. This way, you can come up with a budget that works for you and that will make your fiancé-to-be happy.

Should You Borrow Money to Buy an Engagement Ring?

The wisest action is to postpone buying a ring if you lack the funds. Up until you can pay cash for the ring, set away some monthly savings. But, given your other possible debt obligations that might not be feasible, it can take a year or longer to save the money you need.

We understand that you might wish to propose right away. If so, you might think about buying a less expensive ring, financing it, or applying it to your credit card. But take care—financing does not require choosing the biggest diamond there is. You must make a decision that is within your means by doing the following:

  • It’s best to pay as much as possible upfront and only borrow what you need.
  • If you use a credit card, look for ones with 0% APR promotions for new customers. However, ensure to pay off the balance before the promotional period ends to avoid interest charges.
  • If you need more time to pay, try finding a credit card with a low-interest rate.
  • Some diamond retailers offer financing options but avoid tricky terms and high-interest rates. Make sure to read the fine print before committing to a financing plan. Developing a pay-off plan with a specific deadline in mind, like your wedding date, can help keep you on track with payments.

Determining Your Engagement Ring Budget

When buying an engagement ring, setting a budget that works for you is essential. It’s a common misconception that you must spend a fortune on a ring to prove your love and commitment.

So, how do you determine your engagement ring budget?

Assess Your Financial Situation

Take a close look at your income, expenses, and savings to determine how much you can realistically spend on a ring without sacrificing your financial stability.

It’s important to remember that an engagement ring is just one part of a larger financial picture, and it’s not worth going into debt.

The 2-3 Month Salary Rule

The traditional rule of thumb for engagement ring spending is to spend two to three months’ salary on the ring. However, this rule is often unrealistic and outdated.

For many people, spending that much money on a ring is simply not feasible, especially if they have other financial obligations like student loans, car payments, or a mortgage. Choosing a budget that works for you and your partner is essential, regardless of what society or tradition dictates.

Alternatives to the Traditional Rule

There are many alternatives to the 2-3 month salary rule that can help you determine your engagement ring budget. For example, you can consider the overall cost of your wedding, honeymoon, and other expenses for starting a life together.

You can also prioritize your values and decide what’s most important to you and your partner. For some couples, having a unique and meaningful engagement ring is more important than spending too much money on it.

Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring

You need a great diamond jeweler to find a great ring. This way, you can buy a ring from someone who sells good quality diamonds at a fair price.

Engagement Ring Buying Guide

GIA Certifications

We suggest getting one with a GIA certificate if you’re looking for a diamond. If a seller tries to sell you a diamond with a different certificate, staying away from it is better. Even if the certificate says it’s good quality, the diamond may not be as good as they say.

Diamond Shape

Deciding on the shape of a diamond depends on what you and the person who will wear it like the most. The shape is usually chosen based on personal taste.

Diamond Cut

Look for ones with an ideal cut or an excellent grade on the GIA scale. These diamonds are cut ideally and will make the diamond sparkle more than anything else.

Diamond Color Scale

Find the ones graded in the G to I range. These diamonds look almost as clear as the more expensive D to F range but are a lot less expensive.

Diamond Carat Weight

The carat weight of a diamond is not the same as its size. For instance, a 1-carat diamond refers to how heavy it is, not how big it looks. The size of a diamond depends on how it’s cut and shaped.

Diamond clarity chart

When looking for diamonds, find ones with VS1 and VS2 clarity grades. These diamonds provide the best value for what you can see with your eyes. Any flaws or marks on them will be hard to see.

Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring Within Your Financial Budget

It’s important to remember that the cost of the ring is not a reflection of the extent of your love or commitment to your partner. Even with a limited budget, you can still find a beautiful ring.

Prioritizing the 4Cs

While you may want a high-quality diamond, you don’t have to compromise on the other 3Cs (cut, color, and clarity) to fit your budget. Learn about 4Cs to fing the a better quality diamond. Consider sacrificing a bit of carat weight or choosing a diamond with a lower color or clarity grade. These small changes can make a big difference in the price.

Choosing an Alternative Gemstone

Diamond is the traditional choice for engagement rings, but they are not the only option. Gemstones such as sapphires, emeralds, and rubies are beautiful alternatives and can be more affordable. You can even consider the best lab-grown diamonds, which are as beautiful and durable as mined diamonds, yet often come at a lower cost.

Opting for a Simpler Band

The style and design of the band can also affect the cost of the ring. A plain metal band or a simple setting can be just as beautiful as a more elaborate one, but they come at a lower cost. You can always add more diamonds or upgrade the setting in the future.

Buy from a Reputable Dealer

Consider buying a ring online, where prices can be more competitive and offer more options for lab-grown diamond rings, vintage engagement rings, and other unique engagement ring settings. But, make sure to buy from a reputable dealer with good reviews and return policies.

Remember, the most important thing is not the cost of the ring, but the love and commitment you share with your partner. With the help of these tips, you can find a stunning and reasonably priced engagement ring that will stand in for your love and affection for many years ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much does an engagement ring cost to insure?

If you decide to insure your engagement ring, think about adding this to the ring’s overall cost. In most cases, insurance will cost one to two percent of your ring’s value. When considering splurging on a ring, it may be an additional expense when determining how much to spend.

   2. Can I discuss a lower price for an engagement ring with the seller?

Yes, you can negotiate the price of an engagement ring. It’s always worth trying to negotiate, especially if you’re buying from a physical store. Be polite and respectful when negotiating, and clearly understand what you’re willing to pay. Remember that the seller may not always agree to your offer, so be prepared to walk away if necessary.

   3.  How can I ensure that I’m getting a good deal on an engagement ring?

To ensure you get a good deal on an engagement ring, research and ensure you’re working with highly renowned jewelers. Look for diamond sellers with a good reputation, and be sure to ask for a GIA certificate. Consider buying from an online retailer, often offering lower overhead costs and better prices. Finally, don’t hesitate to negotiate the price and have a clear budget before purchasing.

   4. Should I buy an engagement ring online or from a physical store?

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Buying an engagement ring online can offer a wider selection and often lower prices. However, it can be difficult to judge the quality of the ring and the seller’s reputation. Buying from a physical store allows you to see and examine the ring before purchasing, but it may have less competitive prices. In the end, it all depends on your preferences and priorities.


When buying an engagement ring, it’s important to consider your budget and what you can comfortably afford. Don’t feel pressured to spend excessively just to impress someone. Instead, focus on finding a ring you love that fits within your financial means.

Remember, the engagement ring is just one part of a lifelong commitment, so starting your journey on the right foot is more important. Don’t get into debt