How Much To Spend on an Engagement Ring – A Better Answer Instead of Some Bogus Salary Ratio

For decades, Americans have been told various percentages and ratios of how much salary they should spend on an engagemement ring. I looked for this answer about a year ago myself, when looking for my now wives engagement ring.  Many blogs have blasted these figures (rightfully so), but they do not provide any guidance on what that correct amount to spend is. I write this blog post with a hope that I can help you arrive at an appropriate range for how much to spend on an engagement ring.

The Correct Answer to How Much to Spend

A lot of blogs blasted the “3 month salary rule” but no one helped clarify how to arrive at that number, or even provided a range. I wrote this blog post with the intent to offer some help to those in the same position as me.

Minimum range: I think to get a decent, very high quality engagement ring, that you will need to spend at least $550. This means getting a solitaire engagement ring in white gold, and a forever brilliant moissanite or natural sapphire as the center stone. Or, for a few hundred dollars more, getting a small, really good quality diamond. There are cheaper rings out there, but spending this minimum could mean a truly beautiful ring that doesn’t need to be upgraded later on. For example, below is a picture of our 4 prong classic solitaire ($420) with a 5.5 mm round forever brilliant moissanite stone ($229), for a total of $649.

Spending less on an engagement ring

Asha Ring with 5.5mm Forever Brilliant Moissanite Stone for $649

Maximum range: Imagine a terrible situation where you lose the engagement ring you bought. Obviously, you would be very upset, but would it make you change your spending habits the next few months? If so, then you spent too much on the 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. I believe this better reflects and appropriate maximum for how much to spend, and that the 3 months salary spend recommendation is way too inflated. Having insurance can help you recover a lot of your loss if the ring is lost, and I would recommend it, but I still don’t think that’s a reason to spend 3 months salary.

Based on my logic above, I looked into average costs (home, car, medical, putting money away into savings and retirement accounts, every day expenses, etc.) for various salary ranges of people in their twenties and thirties. From there, I used my logic above to calculate the maximum someone should spend on an engagement ring. This is not what I recommend to spend, but rather, the maximum I suggest for anyone to spend. Here are the results:

Salary (US Dollars)Minimum To Spend (US Dollars)Maximum You Should Spend (US Dollars)“3 Month” Rule
$25,000$550 $2,600$6,250
$1,000,000 Who am I to give you financial advise?$250,000

Tips on How To Get the Same Engagement Ring for Less

1. Buy Your Engagement Ring Online

In general, online companies do not have as much overhead expenses and therefore are able to price their rings for less. Also, a lot of times with online engagement ring companies, you won’t have to pay sales tax. For example, all of our rings are tax-free as long as it is shipped outside of Texas.

2. GIA Certified Diamonds Only

Do not get a diamond that is uncertified or certified by anyone else other than GIA. GIA is the strictest diamond certificate by about 1-2 clarity grades, and 1-3 color grades. This means, you’re not saving money by getting a diamond with a non-GIA certificate, you’re just getting a worse stone.

3. Make sure your jeweler really knows how to get value

While setting a budget for how much to spend on your engagement ring is one thing, maximizing the value within that budget is even more important. Make sure your jeweler knows how to look for great values on diamonds, and really pick a stone that maximizes dimensions without loosing any brilliance. For example, one thing we always check for after a customer places an order is if there is a diamond that might be a pinch less in carat weight, but offer the same dimensions and sparkle (this can save a lot of money). If you want us to help at any point, please feel free to contact us and we would be more than happy to help. Since I care a lot about finding rings that have the most bang for the buck, feel free to ask for me personally (my name is Krish).