How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring

Congratulations! You’re getting engaged! Deciding to take the next step and purchase an engagement ring for your partner is a big deal. The first thing you want to do is get an engagement ring that speaks to your significant other about your love for them. 


Thinking ahead before the proposal and starting the process of ring shopping can be overwhelming as there are a lot of different things to consider. Once you get to the jewelry store—be it online or in-person, you may find it’s tough to know the exact amount to pay for an engagement ring. So let’s cut through some myths and misconceptions surrounding how much you should spend on an engagement ring and discuss the factors to consider when buying a ring without breaking the bank.


So, How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

hands holding diamond ring in jewelry box

The amount you will spend when buying an engagement ring depends on both your financial capability and what type of ring your partner likes. There’s no set price range when it comes to buying an engagement ring. You can use an engagement ring calculator, which gathers information about your debt-to-asset ratio, income, and lifestyle to determine the ballpark budget. 


The median cost of an engagement ring depends on various factors—the size of the ring, the material of the ring, and the size and quality of the center stone. The average cost of an engagement ring is roughly $6,500 for a 1.2-carat center stone diamond ring, but the price varies from state to state. For example, according to financial Samurai, people in Michigan spend approximately $7,817, while California’s average spending on an engagement ring is $10,240, so us Michiganders have that going for us!


Current Ring Budget Theories and Outdated “Rules”

Couple touching their noses together in their bedroom. Romantic young LGBTQ+ smiling cheerfully after getting engaged. Young lesbian couple celebrating their engagement at home.

Have you heard about the old “three-months’ salary” rule? That myth might just be the oldest engagement ring “rule” out there. This guideline actually began as an ad campaign to reboot the sales of diamond rings during the start of World War II after the Great Depression. 


What started as a one-month salary campaign grew to a three-month salary rule as most marketing campaigns are known to stretch, which is highly unrealistic and expensive. If we are also realistic, this is an issue as it considers gross income rather than net income. 

Our union. Aged married couple sitting together while holding hands

Another old theory on how much you should spend for an engagement ring depends on your partner’s age. For instance, if your partner is between 23 – 30, it was said that you ought to buy a 2.5-carat engagement ring, but if your partner is over 45 years, be prepared to burn your wallet with a 5-carat rock because of the saying “women age like fine wine”. I mean, what?? Who even came up with that, and is he/she available? Cuz, I wouldn’t mind a HUGE rock! But seriously, that is the most dated thing we’ve ever read!


Despite all the myths and theories surrounding what you should spend on an engagement ring, the most critical rule you should adhere to is the 80/20 rule before an expensive purchase. The rule is that 80% of your budget should go to the center of the ring, while 20% is reserved for surrounding embellishments and the setting.


At the end of the day, buy what makes sense for YOU. And please, don’t go into debt over a ring—we promise that is NEVER something we will recommend! Be smart!


Trends Shaping Engagement Ring Spending

Gold and silver diamond gemstone sapphire ring and earrings in luxury jewelry box

Finding the right engagement ring involves striking a balance between your financial capability and the artistry of the piece. While sapphires and emeralds bear historical significance, diamonds are more traditional as they are both sought after and a serious investment. 


The 2023 engagement ring trends shaping the cost include:

  • Vintage styles – Edwardian and Art Deco provide timeless forms for brides-to-be.
  • Bright colors – Yellow diamonds and emeralds add boldness to unique rings.
  • Different shapes – Emerald-cut and pear diamonds offer elegant alternatives to traditional round-cut stones.


These trends are a reflection of how we as a society have evolved to appreciate individuality as it relates to personal items like our engagement rings. Expressions of individuality have also manifested in the trends of opting for more affordable rings to stay within the budget. 


How to Buy an Engagement Ring

Young couple in the shopping mall looking at rings

The best way to approach the purchase of an engagement ring is by being a knowledgeable buyer. For instance, if you settle on a diamond ring at a physical or an online store, research the four Cs–clarity, cut color, and carat- and the fifth C being credit. 


The best places to purchase an engagement ring in person include:

  • Trunk shows
  • Wholesaler
  • National retailer
  • Private jeweler
  • Your local diamond district


However,  recently more people have preferred online purchases, as the engagement rings’ price can be as much as 40% lower than the national retailer’s. About the fifth C – credit, experts believe the best way to finance an engagement ring is through cash, which gives you negotiating power and helps avoid possible debt. As we said before, PLEASE don’t put yourself into an indebted state over a ring! 


Ready to Shop–Check Out Our List of Shops

Grand Rapids Bride is the leading resource for wedding planning in west Michigan. We cut down your research time by providing you with all the necessary information on what to do, buy, and ignore when planning your wedding.

Cropped portrait of an affectionate young couple taking selfies on the beach after their engagement

We have a wedding vendor list showing our services, including jewelry from Almassian Jewelry, J. Patrick Jewelers, Preusser Jewelers, Medawar Jewelers, and Morisson Jewelers. Our partnership with these jewelry stores provides you with the best wedding band for your lifetime.


Beyond our extensive list of vendors that we partner with, we have every resource a bride-to-be needs to plan their special day. If you want more resources or information check out our website or contact us today!



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