If you’re not sure how much you should spend on an engagement ring or wedding band, you’re not alone. Deciding how much to spend on such an important piece of jewelry can be confusing, especially considering there are conflicting “rules” you supposedly need to follow.
To help you confidently set your engagement ring shopping budget, we’re going over everything you need to know about how much to spend on your ring. We’ll cover common myths about how much you should spend, the average cost of an engagement ring, how to decide on your unique budget, and how you can make a smaller budget go further.
Should You Spend Three Months’ Salary on Your Engagement Ring?
Have you heard that you should spend the equivalent of three months’ salary on your engagement ring? This three months salary rule is something many people repeat–but it’s completely made up. You can spend the equivalent of three months’ salary on your engagement ring if you like, but you certainly don’t have to.
Some people also say you should spend one month’s salary on a ring. But this is also an arbitrary rule of thumb that you do not have to follow if it does not work for your financial situation. The same goes for spending two months’ salary or any other set amount.
So, why do people say you should spend one, two, or three months’ salary on your engagement ring? These “rules” date back to marketing strategies from the 1930s and 1980s, and they’ve stuck in the public consciousness ever since. But while people often repeat these “rules,” know that most people don’t follow them.
As a bridal jeweler, we know that happy couples get engagement rings with a huge range of price tags. Almost no one uses one of those “rules” to set their budget. Instead, people budget based on their unique financial situation and what they’re looking for in a ring.
How Much Does the Average Engagement Ring Cost?
There’s no rule you need to follow when setting your wedding ring budget, but there are average numbers you can use to understand how much other people spend.
According to the wedding planning site The Knot’s annual survey, the average cost of an engagement ring in 2021 was around $6,000. Most people who bought an engagement ring in 2021 spent somewhere between $1,000 and $8,000. Less than 20 percent spent either less than $1,000 or more than $8,000.
For wedding bands, the 2021 national average spending amounts were lower. The Knot’s survey found that the average cost of a women’s wedding band in 2021 was $1,100. The average cost of a men’s wedding band was $500.
How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?
How do you decide how much to spend on your engagement ring? First, you want to consider what price range is comfortable based on your current financial situation. Everyone’s income, savings, expenses, and financial goals are different, so only you can decide what works with your unique situation.
Another thing to consider is the type of engagement ring you want. This often depends on your partner’s expectations. Is having a certain type of engagement ring important to them? Is their heart set on a more expensive type of ring? Or do you know they would prefer a more understated ring? Would they want you to save on a ring so you can put more money toward your wedding budget, student loan payments, paying down credit card debt, or saving toward a downpayment on a home?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you decide if a higher engagement ring price point would be worth it to you as a couple.
How Much Should You Spend on Your Wedding Bands?
Engagement rings tend to cost significantly more than wedding bands, but wedding bands are still a substantial expense. Couples typically buy their wedding bands after they’re engaged and many people factor them into their wedding budget.
The average amount people spend on a wedding band is around $500 for men and $1,100 for women. Whether you decide to spend inside that range or go outside it depends on what you’re looking for and how much of your wedding budget you want to put toward your rings.
Can You Get a Nice Ring With a Small Budget?
You can absolutely get a beautiful, high-quality ring with a smaller engagement ring budget. If you’re looking for ways to make your budget go further, here are some tips.
There are two aspects of an engagement ring: its center stone and its setting. The center stone is typically the more expensive of the two elements. Choosing your center stone strategically can help you save money while also still getting a ring you love.
Diamonds are generally more expensive than other gemstones, so one way to spend less on your ring is to choose a gemstone as your center stone. You could choose a colorful gemstone like a blue sapphire, a ruby, or a morganite. Another gemstone option is moissanite, which looks similar to a diamond while costing far less.
If you definitely want a diamond engagement ring, there are still ways to make your budget go further. The most expensive option is a natural round brilliant cut diamond with a high-carat weight, so you want to avoid that if you’re looking to maximize your budget. Exploring other diamond shapes and lab-grown diamonds can help you get a larger diamond for a better price. If having a single high-carat diamond isn’t a priority, consider a cluster ring design, which can offer beautiful sparkle at an excellent price.
Here’s one last thing to consider if you’re shopping for an engagement ring or wedding band on a budget: you can always upgrade your ring later. Stick with the budget that works for you as a couple now and upgrade to a more expensive ring when your disposable income expands.
Ready to find your perfect wedding ring? The experienced jewelers at Bridal Rings are here to match you with a ring that speaks to your style and works with your budget. Explore our selection online or in our Los Angeles jewelry store, or send us a message to speak with one of our jewelers virtually.