It likely won't surprise you to learn that it was jewelers who decided that a man should spend two months' salary on an engagement ring for his beloved. This rule originated during World War II and is incredibly outdated. The truth is, going into debt just isn't the best way to say "I love you." You can find the perfect ring without drowning in debt.
When buying a ring, set a budget that's realistic for you and focus on what your fiancée will like. Remember that the meaning of the ring is far more important than its price tag, and find a jeweler who wants to help you express your love rather than lining his own pockets. There are no longer hard and fast rules about how much you should spend. The modern rule is to spend only what you can comfortably afford.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
There is no set percentage when it comes to how much a man should spend on a wedding ring, so shop wisely based on what you can afford.
The Average Cost
According to a 2018 survey conducted by The Knot, the average cost of an engagement ring is $5,680. If that price makes you hyperventilate, take heart; it's possible to find a ring that will leave her breathless for less. The average is just that and not a barometer of what you need to spend. Knowing the average, however, can help you know when you're getting a good deal.
Keep It in the Family
Many grooms give their brides their mother's or grandmother's engagement ring. This tradition is very romantic and reduces the cost of engagement. If the style of the ring is not to your love's liking or grossly outdated, you can have the stone placed in an updated setting by a local jeweler. You can even add some accent stones or personal touches, since you won't have the expense of buying the diamond. Before going this route, make sure your fiancée isn't superstitious. Some women don't want a family engagement ring if it comes from a couple who later divorced or had marital problems.
Reduce Your Clarity
Clarity is particularly important when choosing an engagement ring. The clarity refers to how many flaws a diamond contains and what size they are. Diamonds rated as very slightly included (or slightly included at a level 1) contain imperfections that a diamond grader will see under magnification but most people won't with the naked eye. The lower the clarity, the less expensive the diamond.
You may want to give your chosen one a diamond as flawless as she is, but doing so is unnecessarily expensive. A jeweler can help you save money by finding a diamond that looks perfect even if it isn't. Brilliant cuts like round, princess, cushion, oval, marquise and pear all help hide imperfections and are good choices for low-clarity diamonds.
Shopping online can save you money and help you stick to your budget. Online diamond sellers and jewelers have less overhead than a brick-and-mortar store. As a result, you can save 30 to 50 percent. The online environment lacks pushy salespeople as well, so no one will pressure you to spend more than you intended. Online jewelers insure their shipments, so you won't lose any money if your ring gets lost during shipping. Reputable online retailers also ship their diamonds with a gemologist's certification detailing the diamond grade so you know exactly what you're getting.
When choosing an engagement ring, remember that a diamond solitaire isn't required. In fact, diamonds aren't required at all. You can save money and make a small diamond look large by placing a cluster of smaller stones around it. You can also skip the diamond altogether and replace it with a gemstone of your intended's favorite color, such as a blue sapphire or green emerald. This personal touch can save you money and earn you points for thoughtfulness. If you know your fiancée has her heart set on a diamond solitaire, it's best to deliver just that. Many women, however, appreciate a less traditional engagement ring.
Many couples find that money is tight when they are first starting out, but things get a bit easier as time goes on. As a result, people frequently buy an inexpensive engagement ring to get the job done, and upgrade later. A bigger or more expensive diamond makes an excellent anniversary present later. You can also surprise your bride with an upgrade as part of a vow renewal ceremony. This method lets you get engaged right now, even if you've got more love than money at the moment.
- WeddingWire: Your Wedding Questions, Answered: The 2015 Newlywed Report
- Lumera Diamonds: Diamond Clarity Chart
- Forbes: This Is How Much You Should Actually Be Spending On An Engagement Ring
- The Knot: How Much You Should Spend on an Engagement Ring?
- Money Under 30: How to Buy an Engagement Ring Online
Michelle earned her accounting degree summa cum laude and has extensive experience in business management and accounting. Entrepreneurship is in her blood, and her work focuses on helping small businesses successfully compete in a big market. Michelle also knows the value of a dollar and enjoys helping readers understand how best to maximize their money and enjoy a healthy financial life. Her work appears Chron's small business site. She has also worked on small business blogs for a national insurance chain.