How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?

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When you are ready to pop the question, you might be wondering how much you should spend on an engagement ring. Although there is no one “right” answer to this question, there are multiple factors to consider which can help in your decision-making. It all depends on your unique circumstances and what is important to you as a couple.

Some sources estimate the average engagement ring cost to be approximately $6000. But not everyone tends to have $6000 laying around ready for an engagement ring. Especially when you consider that average cost of engagement rings have increased in recent years and that you can purchase a far better diamond engagement ring for far less money online.

In this guide, we will explore a few factors that you should consider when budgeting for an engagement ring.

Table of Contents

The Four C’s of Diamonds
– Carat
– Cut
– Clarity
– Color
The “Two Months’ Salary” Rule
Your Income and Expenses
How Much Can You Afford To Spend?
What Does The Ring Represent?
Final Thoughts

The Four C’s of Diamonds

As you create your engagement ring budget, it’s important to understand what really affects the average engagement ring cost.

When shopping for diamonds and looking for an engagement ring, you will often hear jewelers talk about the “Four Cs”:

  • Carat

  • Cut

  • Clarity

  • Color

These four factors affect a diamond’s quality and engagement ring cost, so it’s important to understand them before making a purchase. Here’s a brief overview of each:


Carat weight is how a diamond is measured and is the size of the diamond. Diamond prices increase with carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer than smaller ones.


Cut refers to the angles and proportions of the diamond and affects the diamond’s symmetry, brightness, fire, and how sparkly the diamond appears (brilliance). A well-cut diamond will have more brilliance as opposed to one that is poorly cut. When considering cut, it’s important to remember that it is entirely separate from a diamond’s shape (e.g., round, emerald, pear).


Clarity is how many blemishes, internal impurities, or inclusions the center stone has and is judged on a 6 point scale from included to flawless. Color is judged on a scale from D (no hue) to Z (a yellow hued diamond). The fewer blemishes or inclusions, the higher the clarity (closer to D rating) —and higher the price tag.


Color: The best diamonds are colorless or near-colorless (meaning they have very little yellow or brown tint). The less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is.

On a budget? Check out our guide on the Best Engagement Rings For Couples On A Budget – Under $2500

The “Two Months’ Salary” Rule

The first question in your head may be how much to spend to buy an engagement ring. Let’s begin by what used to be the norm. You have probably heard the rule of thumb that you should spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring.

This rule was actually created by a diamond company in the 1930s as a way to increase sales. For example, if your monthly net salary is $3000, you would be expected to be buying an engagement ring for about $6000. In some cases, we’ve seen people do this with their three months salary.

Of course, the two month’s salary is just a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. You may decide to spend less or more than two months’ salary on the ring, depending on your financial situation and what you feel comfortable with. The important thing is that you and your spouse are both on the same page about your budget before shopping for rings.

However, this two month salary rule is not based on any sort of financial reality. In fact, you should only spend as much as you can afford without going into debt. A key thing to remember is that we do not recommend you take out a loan or purchase an engagement ring on a credit card unless you have the immediate means to pay it back.

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Your Income and Expenses

Like we’ve mentioned before, we do not recommend going into debt for your diamond engagement ring. This means you’re far better off creating a wedding budget. But it begins when you decide how much to spend on an engagement ring with an approximate range.

When creating your engagement ring budget, it is important to consider your income and expenses in addition to your expected engagement ring cost.

Before you begin browsing for engagement rings online, ask yourself some questions.

  • How much disposable income do I have each month?

  • What are my other financial obligations?

  • How will this impact my current financial goals?

If you are still paying off a student loan or credit card debt, it may be wise to wait until you are in a better financial position before purchasing an engagement ring.

To help with creating a budget, we suggest taking a look at apps and websites like YNAB that can help you track your income and expenses to paint a clear picture of how to budget for an engagement ring.

If you’re able to cut down on various subscriptions or thinking twice before buying sushi for the third time this week, those savings can add up big time over a period of time.

Saving for an engagement ring is already quite difficult. But do you need a wedding ring too? Check out our helpful guide here – Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring – Do You Need Both?

How Much Can You Really Afford to Spend?

Now when planning your engagement ring budget, considering your income and expenses is only part of the bigger picture. It’s crucial to ask yourself how much can you really afford to spend?

Take a look at your overall financial situation and make sure that you are not putting yourself in a difficult position by spending too much on the ring (trust us, we’ve seen this before and it isn’t pretty).

You will want to have enough money left over for other important things, like a down payment on a house, going on a honeymoon, or starting a family. All these things go beyond your wedding rings.

Your partner’s feelings should also be taken into account. If they have their heart set on a particular style of ring, in some very rare cases it might be worth going into debt to get the ring of their dreams.

On the other hand, if they would be just as happy with a less expensive ring, then it might not be worth it to put yourself in debt. Ultimately, it is up to you as a couple to decide what is most important to you.

And this brings us to our next section…

What Does the Ring Represent?

Another factor to consider when budgeting for engagement rings is what the ring represents. For some couples, the engagement ring is simply a symbol of their love and commitment.

In this case, it might not be necessary to spend a lot of money on the ring. However, for other couples, the engagement ring might represent their future together and everything they are hoping to achieve.

In this case, it might be worth spending more money on the ring as it will serve as a reminder of your shared goals and dreams.

This is an entirely subjective idea and it will depend on a case-by-case basis, but we suggest speaking with your significant other at some point prior to purchasing a diamond engagement ring to understand what the engagement ring truly means between both partners.

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Final Thoughts

When budgeting for engagement rings, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First and foremost, understand the four C’s of engagement rings and center stone pieces. This will give you a clear idea of how much money you may need to budget.

Second, consider your income and expenses when determining how much you can afford to spend. Only spend as much as you can afford without going into debt.

Next, take a look at your broader financial position. Ask yourself if you can really afford this ring and can you bounce back to your regular financial position once you purchase your engagement ring.

Lastly, figure out what the engagement ring truly symbolizes between you and your partner. For some, it’s a means to an end. For others, it’s a symbol of eternal love and commitment. By figuring this out, you should have a better idea as to how much to spend.

By following these tips, you will be sure to find an engagement ring that fits both your budget and your style.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how much you should spend on an engagement ring. It all depends on your unique circumstances and what is important to you and your partner.

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John Anderson
With over two decades of wedding experience, John Anderson is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor at Life Line Wedding. He writes a variety of articles spanning over multiple areas of expertise including engagement rings, diamonds, wedding jewelry, and wedding planning. John's mission is to help soon-to-be-married couples make educated and well-informed decisions. He now spends his time writing articles to help couples on John is based in Brooklyn, NY.