Advice from The Avenue: How Much Do I Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Welcome to: Advice from The Avenue!

After our first blog post last week, I received several questions from readers related to getting engaged, planning a wedding, and how to make those difficult wedding decisions.  What better way to answer those than with some fun blog posts? Each week, I’ll be bringing you one question that I received and some advice on how to answer it! So here we go:

How much do I spend on an engagement ring?

First off – Congratulations on finding your future Mr. or Mrs.! Believe it or not, the hardest part is over and the fun is just about to begin! If you’re reading this blog post, you probably aren’t dealing with an unlimited budget. So here are 5 tips to consider when deciding how much to spend on the bling.

(1)          Spend what you can afford. The old rule of thumb is to spend two or three month’s salary on an engagement ring.  Some people look at that rule and think it’s too much and some think it’s too little.  Really, that rule isn’t one size fits all. Buying an engagement ring should not cause you to go into debt, be delinquent on other financial obligations, or put other important purchases, like a home (or a wedding) on hold. Consider how soon you want to propose and how much you can save between now and then. Here are some other things to consider when developing a budget for the engagement ring.

(2)          Consider diamonds, and then consider the many alternatives. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but so are Sapphire, Morganite, Topaz, Moissanite, and any other gorgeous gemstone that accompanies a wedding proposal! Be sure to look at all of your options and take note of the wide range in prices.  The same goes for the metal: platinum, yellow gold, white gold, sterling silver, sterling silver, tungsten, titanium, stainless steel. These options greatly change the price tag of an engagement ring and should be considered just as much as the gemstone itself.

(3)          Do your research. On the 4Cs: Color, Cut, Carat, and Clarity. Stones and metals all have different characteristics that you should consider when developing a budget. Do your research to understand the differences in those characteristics and how budging on one may save you quite a bit on an engagement ring.

(4)          As your love grows, so can the ring. Throughout your marriage, you can upgrade your engagement ring as your budget and interests change. Many opt to keep the original engagement ring for sentimental reasons and others opt to trade it in. Either way, when deciding how much to spend now, remember that you can always spend more later.

(5)          Be creative. We are hearing more and more people forego the engagement ring and invest in something together to symbolize their lifelong commitment. A few examples: buying a puppy, taking a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, or paying off existing debts before tying the knot.


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