How Much Should You REALLY Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Meghan Blalock

If you’ve ever thought about getting engaged at any point in your life, then you’ve probably at least pondered how much your potential betrothed should be expected to pay for the ring. While there is certainly no set-in-stone amount, there are so many different rules and expectations when it comes to the cost of the ring that it can be overwhelming, confusing, and downright frustrating (especially for the person making the purchase).

We’re here to help! We’ve compiled as many different engagement ring price suggestions as we could and laid them all out for you so it’s easy to navigate and understand. Engagement season (also known as the entire month of December) is upon us, and both you and your significant other will thank us if and when it’s ever time to bite the platinum, gold, or silver bullet.

Rule #1: Three Months’ Salary

According to an expert-fueled report on, the purchaser should spend about three full months’ salary on the ring. This is more a rule of thumb, however, and if the person buying the ring is “heavily in debt or concerned about job security,” he or she might want to scale back a bit.

Rule #2: One Months’ Salary

You may have heard the more prevalent rule of thumb that a person should spend about a months’ salary on the ring—and you have diamond manufacturer DeBeers to thank for that little wisdom nugget. Back in America’s Depression Era, DeBeers started running an ad campaign suggesting that men spend one months’ salary on the ring to save money, and the idea stuck.

Rule #3: Split the Difference

If three months seems like a stretch for your beau, but one month seems a little skimpy, there are some contemporary ways of thinking that suggest you compromise and spend two months’ salary on the rock. This can be a good option if you’re looking to spend a small fortune without potentially wrecking your finances. 

Rule #4: Spend the Average Cost of a Ring

According to the most recent data from a 2013 report by Jewelers of America, couples spent an average of $4,000 on an engagement ring in 2012. You always have the option of presenting your potential fiancée with this information and suggesting he or she spend the average amount. It’s a fair number, but you should keep in mind that it has nothing to do with his or her own personal financial standing.

Rule #5: Forget the Rules

In our minds—and we assume the minds of many recession-strapped Americans—the amount spent on an engagement ring should be 100 percent up to the person buying it. Of course, the input of the intended is always welcome, but if you aren’t the person actually making the purchase, at the end of the day it’s not really up to you. “A lot of women wouldn’t want their fiancé to spend that much money on a ring,” Kit Yarrow, a former jewelry-dealer-turned-professor-of-psychology at Golden Gate University, told “Make it a personal decision based on the importance of that ring to the fiancée.”

Keep scrolling to shop 19 beautiful engagement rings in a wide range of prices!

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