Credit: Little Eye Film Co

by Linda DiProperzio

Proposing to the love of your life is one of the biggest moments you’ll ever experience, so it makes sense that finding the perfect engagement ring is a must. It is also a major purchase, which can make the experience both exciting and stressful. Luckily, it is possible to find a gorgeous engagement ring at any price point. The key is figuring out how much to spend without breaking the bank, and we have the advice to help you do just that.

How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

One of the most important things to do before you start looking at engagement rings is to come up with a realistic budget. While you might want to give your future spouse the grandest ring you can find, you also don’t want to start off your life together in massive debt. After all, you’ll have other important purchases in the future, including (possibly) paying for the wedding, booking your honeymoon and even buying your first home. So it’s crucial to sit down and figure out how much you can actually afford before you start ring shopping.

How much is too much to spend?

Simply put, spending more than you can afford is too much. While it is an important piece of jewelry and something that will be worn for years to come, you don’t want to spend years paying off the ring. There are a few things to take into consider before you start shopping for an engagement ring:

Income

How much you make per year should be a guide in how much you can afford to spend.

Debt

If there is already existing debt—student loans, credit cards, a mortgage, etc.—then you certainly don’t want to add to that amount.

Expectations

What does your future spouse expect from an engagement ring? If it is more than you can afford, then it’s time to sit down and have an honest conversation about your finances.

What impacts the cost of an engagement ring?

Many people focus solely on the size of the stone when it comes to price. The truth is, several things have an impact on the final cost of the engagement ring, including:

Shape

The simple rule is, the more intricate the shape, the pricier it will be. Stone shapes are divided into two categories: round and fancy shape, which include princess, emerald, cushion, oval, pear, and heart-shaped.

Color

The best color grade for diamonds is G-J, which is nearly colorless. While D is the highest grade of diamonds, these stones are extremely rare (and super pricey).

Carats

The smallest carat is 0.23 and the higher you go, the more you will pay. But instead of focusing on getting the biggest diamond (or other gem) you can afford, pay closer attention to the quality of the stone.

Clarity

The clarity of a diamond focuses on the internal characteristics, including any small imperfections. Look for a diamond with a clarity of SI1 or VS2.

Engagement ring vs. wedding ring

An engagement ring is traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand and symbolizes that the person wearing it has accepted a marriage proposal. Typically, an engagement ring features a prominent center stone that is sometimes surrounded by smaller stones. But nowadays, anything goes when it comes to engagement rings. It can be one ring, a cluster of rings or even a band.

The wedding ring is exchanged at the ceremony as a symbol of the couple’s union. It can also showcase gemstones or simply be a metal band. Again, couples are doing whatever they prefer when it comes to choosing their wedding rings. Some women choose to wear two bands—one above the engagement ring and one below—while men are not as concerned with choosing a metal to match their partner’s style. There are no longer any rules to follow; it’s all about what you love and want to wear everyday.

Bride and groom in red tux looking at each other
Credit: Robertson Video

The two-to-three-month-salary rule

The traditional rule when buying an engagement ring was to expect to spend two to three month’s of your salary on the purchase. According to research, this “tip” was actually an ad campaign launched by De Beers around the start of World War II (although at the time, they recommended spending one month’s salary). Experts now agree that this advice is completely unrealistic because you can't base your budget strictly on your paycheck. As we all know, there other factors that impact our finances, including debt. So it's safe to say you can ignore this outdated rule!

Finding the engagement ring budget that's right for you

When figuring out your budget, take a close look at your monthly expenses. After you pay all of your bills each month, how much money do you have left over? And what else are you saving for? That will help to determine how much you can put towards a ring. Whatever you spend, try not to make this purchase with a credit card unless you can pay it off when the first bill arrives. If not, then you will wind up paying the interest on the purchase in addition to the actual price.

Average engagement ring cost

Keep in mind that the average cost of an engagement ring is currently $5,500. But a recent study found that one-fourth of respondents would be spending between $1,000 to $3,000 on their engagement ring, with 11 percent spending under $1,000.

Best engagement ring calculators

To help you come up with a realistic budget for the engagement ring, check out some of the online calculators that focus on this type of purchase. Some of the top ones include:

Estate Diamond Jewelry This calculator takes not only your annual salary into consideration, but also how often you travel, what type of lifestyle you and any existing debt.

Credit Donkey The calculator also delves into future purchases, including the honeymoon and buying your first house.

Diamonds Factory This one will take your annual salary, along with your monthly expenses and when exactly you want to propose, to calculate how much you should be able to save for a ring during that time.

Wedding ring & engagement ring on flower
Credit: Peter & Bridgette Weddings

How to shop for an engagement ring

Do your research

Before you start shopping, make sure you fully understand the four Cs—color, cut, clarity and carat size—and what you should be looking for with each one. You want to make sure you get a quality stone that is worth the money you’re spending. Not sure? Bring a trusted friend or family member who can help and give you their honest opinion when needed.

Be honest

When you meet with the jeweler, be forthcoming about your budget. This will help them narrow down the best choices for you and your wallet!

Know the ring size

When you pop the question, you want the ring to fit perfectly, so figure out a way to get your partner’s correct ring size ahead of time. You might have to ask for some help from a friend or one of their family members to pull this off.

Buy certified

Make sure you are buying a certified stone from an accredited laboratory such as the American Gem Society for the Gemological Institute of America.

Check the paperwork

You also want to double check that the certificate matches the diamond.

Buying an engagement ring on a budget

Stick with simple

If you’re on a tight budget, put all of your money into obtaining a quality center stone and skip any side stones or baguettes.

Find a family heirloom

Think about presenting your partner with a family ring—even if it’s not a traditional diamond. It is a truly thoughtful and meaningful gesture.

Cut other costs

There are other ways to present a beautiful ring without breaking the bank. For example, you can skip the diamond, which are the most costly of the precious stones, and go with a colored gemstone instead, such as a sapphire or ruby. And while platinum is the preferred ring metal of choice, it is also the most expensive. Instead, choose white gold, which is still an excellent—but affordable—choice.

Understand the four Cs

You can work the four Cs to your advantage in an effort to save money by going on the lower end of the color and clarity scales, which will help your budget without sacrificing quality.

Once you've popped the question--and gotten a yes!--start browsing and discovering our talented wedding videographers.

Engagement ring sitting in white ranunculus flower
Engagement ring sitting in white ranunculus flower
Engagement ring sitting in white ranunculus flower
Credit: Little Eye Film Co

by Linda DiProperzio

Proposing to the love of your life is one of the biggest moments you’ll ever experience, so it makes sense that finding the perfect engagement ring is a must. It is also a major purchase, which can make the experience both exciting and stressful. Luckily, it is possible to find a gorgeous engagement ring at any price point. The key is figuring out how much to spend without breaking the bank, and we have the advice to help you do just that.

How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

One of the most important things to do before you start looking at engagement rings is to come up with a realistic budget. While you might want to give your future spouse the grandest ring you can find, you also don’t want to start off your life together in massive debt. After all, you’ll have other important purchases in the future, including (possibly) paying for the wedding, booking your honeymoon and even buying your first home. So it’s crucial to sit down and figure out how much you can actually afford before you start ring shopping.

How much is too much to spend?

Simply put, spending more than you can afford is too much. While it is an important piece of jewelry and something that will be worn for years to come, you don’t want to spend years paying off the ring. There are a few things to take into consider before you start shopping for an engagement ring:

Income

How much you make per year should be a guide in how much you can afford to spend.

Debt

If there is already existing debt—student loans, credit cards, a mortgage, etc.—then you certainly don’t want to add to that amount.

Expectations

What does your future spouse expect from an engagement ring? If it is more than you can afford, then it’s time to sit down and have an honest conversation about your finances.

What impacts the cost of an engagement ring?

Many people focus solely on the size of the stone when it comes to price. The truth is, several things have an impact on the final cost of the engagement ring, including:

Shape

The simple rule is, the more intricate the shape, the pricier it will be. Stone shapes are divided into two categories: round and fancy shape, which include princess, emerald, cushion, oval, pear, and heart-shaped.

Color

The best color grade for diamonds is G-J, which is nearly colorless. While D is the highest grade of diamonds, these stones are extremely rare (and super pricey).

Carats

The smallest carat is 0.23 and the higher you go, the more you will pay. But instead of focusing on getting the biggest diamond (or other gem) you can afford, pay closer attention to the quality of the stone.

Clarity

The clarity of a diamond focuses on the internal characteristics, including any small imperfections. Look for a diamond with a clarity of SI1 or VS2.

Engagement ring vs. wedding ring

An engagement ring is traditionally worn on the ring finger of the left hand and symbolizes that the person wearing it has accepted a marriage proposal. Typically, an engagement ring features a prominent center stone that is sometimes surrounded by smaller stones. But nowadays, anything goes when it comes to engagement rings. It can be one ring, a cluster of rings or even a band.

The wedding ring is exchanged at the ceremony as a symbol of the couple’s union. It can also showcase gemstones or simply be a metal band. Again, couples are doing whatever they prefer when it comes to choosing their wedding rings. Some women choose to wear two bands—one above the engagement ring and one below—while men are not as concerned with choosing a metal to match their partner’s style. There are no longer any rules to follow; it’s all about what you love and want to wear everyday.

Bride and groom in red tux looking at each other
Credit: Robertson Video

The two-to-three-month-salary rule

The traditional rule when buying an engagement ring was to expect to spend two to three month’s of your salary on the purchase. According to research, this “tip” was actually an ad campaign launched by De Beers around the start of World War II (although at the time, they recommended spending one month’s salary). Experts now agree that this advice is completely unrealistic because you can't base your budget strictly on your paycheck. As we all know, there other factors that impact our finances, including debt. So it's safe to say you can ignore this outdated rule!

Finding the engagement ring budget that's right for you

When figuring out your budget, take a close look at your monthly expenses. After you pay all of your bills each month, how much money do you have left over? And what else are you saving for? That will help to determine how much you can put towards a ring. Whatever you spend, try not to make this purchase with a credit card unless you can pay it off when the first bill arrives. If not, then you will wind up paying the interest on the purchase in addition to the actual price.

Average engagement ring cost

Keep in mind that the average cost of an engagement ring is currently $5,500. But a recent study found that one-fourth of respondents would be spending between $1,000 to $3,000 on their engagement ring, with 11 percent spending under $1,000.

Best engagement ring calculators

To help you come up with a realistic budget for the engagement ring, check out some of the online calculators that focus on this type of purchase. Some of the top ones include:

Estate Diamond Jewelry This calculator takes not only your annual salary into consideration, but also how often you travel, what type of lifestyle you and any existing debt.

Credit Donkey The calculator also delves into future purchases, including the honeymoon and buying your first house.

Diamonds Factory This one will take your annual salary, along with your monthly expenses and when exactly you want to propose, to calculate how much you should be able to save for a ring during that time.

Wedding ring & engagement ring on flower
Credit: Peter & Bridgette Weddings

How to shop for an engagement ring

Do your research

Before you start shopping, make sure you fully understand the four Cs—color, cut, clarity and carat size—and what you should be looking for with each one. You want to make sure you get a quality stone that is worth the money you’re spending. Not sure? Bring a trusted friend or family member who can help and give you their honest opinion when needed.

Be honest

When you meet with the jeweler, be forthcoming about your budget. This will help them narrow down the best choices for you and your wallet!

Know the ring size

When you pop the question, you want the ring to fit perfectly, so figure out a way to get your partner’s correct ring size ahead of time. You might have to ask for some help from a friend or one of their family members to pull this off.

Buy certified

Make sure you are buying a certified stone from an accredited laboratory such as the American Gem Society for the Gemological Institute of America.

Check the paperwork

You also want to double check that the certificate matches the diamond.

Buying an engagement ring on a budget

Stick with simple

If you’re on a tight budget, put all of your money into obtaining a quality center stone and skip any side stones or baguettes.

Find a family heirloom

Think about presenting your partner with a family ring—even if it’s not a traditional diamond. It is a truly thoughtful and meaningful gesture.

Cut other costs

There are other ways to present a beautiful ring without breaking the bank. For example, you can skip the diamond, which are the most costly of the precious stones, and go with a colored gemstone instead, such as a sapphire or ruby. And while platinum is the preferred ring metal of choice, it is also the most expensive. Instead, choose white gold, which is still an excellent—but affordable—choice.

Understand the four Cs

You can work the four Cs to your advantage in an effort to save money by going on the lower end of the color and clarity scales, which will help your budget without sacrificing quality.

Once you've popped the question--and gotten a yes!--start browsing and discovering our talented wedding videographers.

Engagement ring sitting in white ranunculus flower
Engagement ring sitting in white ranunculus flower
Engagement ring sitting in white ranunculus flower