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How Much Should an Engagement Ring Cost?

“Wedding Rings” by CathyK via stock.xchng

“Wedding Rings” by CathyK via stock.xchng

Well, the receivers of an engagement ring certainly have their own ideas as to how much an engagement ring should cost...

However, there is one rule that seems to stand the test of time (and love): 2 months worth of wages. This means that however much you make in one month, double it, and that's how much an engagement ring should cost. So if you make $72,000 a year, maybe you should be looking at the $12K rings.

Egads. That just sounds silly to me. No wonder some celebrities will spend millions on a rock for a finger. The rule works great, so long as you can count on no financial problems popping up in the near future... which you can't.

In reality, a couple should work together to decide how much an engagement ring should cost. There are a few considerations to keep in mind while making such a decision:

  • Have you made any large purchases that will require payments in the next few months, such as a house or car? Maybe you're going to school, or there are kids to consider.
  • How much do both of you make? What are your credit histories?
  • How much does the reputation of the jeweler mean to you? Do you prefer looks to quality, or vice versa? How much effort are you willing to put into the upkeep of the ring?
  • The desires of the bride; a big diamond? A band?
  • What kind of work does the bride do? Does it involve her hands?
  • How do you plan to pay for the ring? Cash? Credit? Loan? Store financing? Try to keep away from options that will tie you up for more than a few months.

Also, don't forget about the wedding! That will cost enough in itself.

A lower-end engagement ring may start at around $100. You can get a wonderful ring for $1,000 or $2,000, with the high end at around $5,000. Tiffany's most expensive rings at its mall locations may run up to $10,000.

If you're uncomfortable about purchasing the ring, don't do it and get something else. Your fiancée will understand if it's really meant to be.

And don't be sad if you can't afford the exact ring you both want. You can tweak it so that it can be affordable; for instance, getting a different gemstone of the same cut, or a different kind of gold in the ring.

Good luck!

Engagement Rings: A Gift or a Contract?

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glassvisage (author) from Northern California on May 10, 2012:

Thank you for the input!

hmmm.. on May 08, 2012:

Okay, what I'm going to say might sound far off.. but in my field of practice, this is something we work with all the time.. so i know this forum is about a ring and stuff, but i saw this post and just had to give my 2 cents.

She may not be aware of it, but she is not really asking for a $20,000 ring. What she is really asking for (wants/needs) is a deeper reassurance that she is valued and that you are "safe" to marry/love/open up to/or attach to.

She might have grown up, being raised to translate acts of receiving as acts of love, such as possessions or gift receiving. This is fine within its appropriate limits, but when it becomes an issue of attachment/relationship and marriage, then this is considered a potential risk factor for marriage problems later down the road. She could get quick fast counseling, probably about 4 sessions. I also suggest you both go to couples counseling before marriage.

I am in the field of marriage therapy, and have seen much pain that couples and families go through, due to their own individual issues or environmental stressors, faulty coping skills, unrealistic expectations, affair, over enmeshment of identities, mom/dad issues, addictions, etc.... These couples were not readily equipped for the normal challenges that comes with marriage. Don't put your marriage through hell by not being prepared.

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Any marriage, family mental health therapist would do (ACSW, CSW, LCSW,MFT, MFTI). We are all exactly the same in knowledge and practice.

X on November 16, 2011:

I think if my parents gonna help us to pay for house, then I deserve a big and good ring.

sam on September 20, 2011:

how much do engagment rings cost for men?

alyce on August 24, 2011:

At dick hahahah funny dude .....i think a ring should be atleast 5,000 dollars and maybe like every other anuvarsary have a k added

Dick Jefferson on August 05, 2011:

my girlfriend told me i had to get a ring so i got one for her for 10k but then she was all angry cos there was a diamond on it and she doesn't want me to give money to the people who kill ppl in africa for it

she was screaming so hard at me i slapped her then i said sorry but we broke up

Weldon Jewellers from Ireland on June 08, 2011:

never go into debt, that's for sure! there's no point starting a life together with a big debt to pay off!!!

Brent on April 04, 2011:

Confused guy, your old lady is a joke, drop her immediately and stop being a sucker. Would she ever treat you to an extravagant gift like that? No she wouldn't, she's obviously a classes trailer park chick that is trying to look successful from her gifts. I make about 50k a year now and would spend a few grand or more on my gfs ring. But she's amazing, makes her own money and is happy treating me to gifts all the time. A girl like that deserves a great ring. Heck, she just had her car written off and got a bunch of money back for it, and used that money for a down payment on my new Cadillac escalade. And she uses my old jeep now! Now that's a girl that deserves a pricey ring. Not your phony wannabe gf. Leave her if you know what's good for you, or you'll always be broke and eventually shell leave you taking half of everything and leaving u with nothing but debt.

Duh on February 11, 2011:

Confused guy- if she doesn't respect you now for what you bring home, she won't later on when she wants more bigger things. She doesn't sound like she has her priorities in order and this should foreshadow how she will react for other things. It is also surprising that she wants a ring of considerable value knowing what your limitations are- it shows that she is not too bright at all, a ring is not an investment.

Ellie sayss on January 04, 2011:

Confused guy,, I'm 19 and researching on marriages and rings. Your post caught my eye.. She wants a 20k ring? To be honest I think she is trying to live her dream life. Put that 20k to something worth your life and she certainly is not it.. Tell her to find another man if she wants to be that demanding over a rock.

Ryan on December 22, 2010:

You should stop being a troll for starters.

Confused guy. on December 19, 2010:

Guys I need help, my girlfriend said to me that she will not get married unless the ring is of considerable value. We are talking over 20 thousand. She does not come from a rich family nor is she extensively mega rich herself. I recently purchased a home and am just getting by with payments, she knows this but just tells me " if i was serious about marrying her I would fork out everything I had for ring to prove my love". My occupation doesn't get me big bucks so i tell her that there is a point where I need to budget so I can survive. Her response is always " well your surely not going to be earning that amount forever you will need to move on and find a career that makes more money". What should I do...?

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on November 14, 2010:

Thank you very much for your comments! Steve, good point. How someone uses the 2-month wage rule depends - you're right that someone who earns $72k probably doesn't bring home $6k, but I know people who have used 2 months of wages without tax.

Steve on November 13, 2010:

I'm offended that in the example given tax was not taking into consideration. You DEFINITELY don't bring home 6K a month with that salary

Tee on July 14, 2010:

I agree that if it's completely out of your budget it would be a dumb decision. The money is better elsewhere. It doesn't increase in value over time, there's no point in having an expensive ring but constantly worring over debt.

It's probably wrong but i think social circle does matter to an extent. If the girl would go out with friends and eat expensive for special occasions where the bill would be a few hundred... getting a ring for $100 will definitely not feel that special to her.

How someone above mentioned people who say they're happy with a $100 ring are lying to themselves... i think that is correct in a way. Some will be happier with making a smart decision, doesn't generally mean they wouldn't be happier with a more pricey ring.

Once you're married and you've already got a ring, there's really no point in getting a more expensive one since it will lose it's meaning by then and the money can be better spent.

If the guy makes more, i'm expecting a more expensive ring :) Doesn't need to be insanely pricey, just decent from how much they make.

chafiq555 from Gatlinburg on December 22, 2009:

very nice hub. I'm lucky my wife doesn't really crave expensive items. Both our rings costs less than $100 each.

Great advice.

Kerrie Giles from UK on November 25, 2009:

We chose my engagement ring together and we'd just finished university and in our first real jobs so it seemed silly to spend a fortune on it. So we spent a couple of hundred pounds on it and 9 year later I'm still happy with my choice.

EngagementRing from Los Angeles on November 10, 2009:

Great article, I am now a fan!

Travelight on May 28, 2009:

well, I'm not going to bs. . . .I love diamonds. . .and well. . .i never really had one and my boyfriend has taken me to try on dozens of beautiful rings. so, if I am offered or given an expensive wonderful glittering piece of wonder, I'm not complaining. Practicality is overrated sometimes and I think most women who say 100 dollars is enough for a ring are lying to themselves. . . .

gemfind on January 08, 2009:

Good informative hub. Nice information.

betherickson from Minnesota on October 28, 2008:

very informative hub. Thumbs up for a job well done. :)

nancydodds1 from Houston, Texas on October 24, 2008:

Its very nice hub about engagement ring. Receivers will have their own idea how much they can spend for ring. Nice information from you hub.

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on July 18, 2008:

Paul and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary in a week and we always thought we would get a bigger diamond for my ring to celebrate. However, now that we've come to it, I really don't want a bigger diamond. I actually only wear my band now and am perfectly happy with it. There are so many things that I'd rather spend our money on than a diamond.

I liked how you said that the couple should discuss it. If a big diamond is in your budget, good on ya, but if it's not, then it's probably not worth the stress. I agree with Paul, if you feel pressure from your social group to have a bigger diamond, that's a red flag for me.

tcnixon from California on July 17, 2008:

It has always seemed silly to my wife and I to spend that kind of money on a ring. Truth be told, I would have been willing to spend more, but I was a student and she had just graduated. Should you really go into debt for an engagement ring? We didn't think so then and we don't think so now.

As it happens, I am at a point now where I could purchase an upgrade ring for her, but she is absolutely not interested.

I married well. 18 years next month.

Tatjana-Mihaela from Zadar, CROATIA on July 17, 2008:

Ha-ha-ha, my engagement ring costed 55 EUR. I was very proud, because I choosed nice one and cheap one. With beautiful opal stone. tell you the truth, since I started to live together with my fiancée, I´ve started to be a little bit sorry I did not choose something more expensive. Maybe some big diamond ring plus diamond necklass or something like that, ha-ha, I sometimes think, I deserve that. Only his bike costs 15 times more than my ring, and bike cannot cook and clean etc. But...I like my way, after all. That was my choice. And the day he put this ring on my finger, was special. And ring is special. And he is special. I started with balancing giving-receiving energies on time and now is everything in perfect progress. Thank you for your interesting hub, Glassvisage.

cjcs from Albuquerque, NM on July 17, 2008:

Spending money on the engagement ring has never made sense to me. Nothing has been finalized and it can fall apart. Get something cheap for the engagement. If you're going to spend significant money on a ring, spend it when the deal is consumated (as it were): the wedding. Over all though, I think that, as with weddings, save the money and have a marriage...stop wasting cash on parties and symbols.


glassvisage (author) from Northern California on July 17, 2008:

Thanks for your stories, you guys! I would hope that most women wouldn't expect ridiculously expensive engagement rings... it's just for the engagement, after all! Especially after my Hub about how building a school in a third-world country costs $8,500...

Nicole A. Winter from Chicago, IL on July 17, 2008:

I completely agree that buying an engagement ring should be a choice made by both members in the relationship. My engagement ring & wedding band combined cost less than a grand & I would have been PISSED if he'd paid anymore than that, it's money better spent on the honeymoon, IMHO. And, by the way, my rings are some of the most beautiful I have <ever> seen, better than the rocks on most of the rich & famous, we went to a jewelry wholesaler & I couldn't have been happier with what I got.

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on July 17, 2008:

We've been discussing this a bit in our office, so I thought I'd throw it out to the community. There is a strong contingency in our office that supports buying a ring that fits your social circle and the expectations of the girls family. If you have a fiancé from a wealthy family and she has friends that all have $25K rings, then you need to step up. I totally disagree with this and think you are probably marrying the wrong girl if she wants you to spend this amount on a diamond.

When I purchased my wife's ring, I had a friend that was a wholesaler. I told how much I wanted to spend and he told me, "You can't get much for that." It worked out fine and this month we will have our ten year anniversary.

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