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You’ve found the love of your life and you’re ready to propose. There’s just one problem, you don’t know how much to spend on an engagement ring. Before you make your decision, check out the average price of an engagement ring, along with various rules they follow. This will help you decide if you should go all out or hold onto your money. Then, you can start making your plans for the big proposal.
The Average Cost
The average price of an engagement ring being purchased in the United States is $6,163. These rings have an average size of 1.0 carat. That might sound like a little or a lot, depending on your position.
Knowing the average amount of an engagement ring is just part of the equation, you also need to look at the rules that govern how much to spend on an engagement ring. These rules will point you in the right direction when you’re ready to buy an engagement ring.
The Engagement Ring Price Rule
There is a good chance you have heard of the famous engagement ring price rule, but just in case you’ve been left in the dark, now is the time to catch up. Tradition says that when deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring, the cost should be two to three months of the groom’s salary.
That means if you make $5,000 a month, you need to put down a minimum of $10,000 all the way up to $15,000 for the ring.
That rule made a lot more sense back in the 1950s. During that time, men weren’t saddled with student loan debt, and the cost of living wasn’t nearly as high. That rule does not work for a lot of men these days, however. They simply cannot afford to spend two to three months of their salary on an engagement ring.
If you fall into that category, don’t feel bad. The only reason that rule was created was so the jewelry industry could make more money. It’s unlikely your marriage will fail if you don’t spend three months of your hard-earned money on an engagement ring. In fact, if you overspend, you could put unnecessary stress on the marriage before it even begins.
Instead of following tradition, check out some of the new rules people follow. You will quickly see there is no longer a hard and fast rule. You have the option to shake things up when deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring. You can say goodbye to tradition and forge your own path.
Three Weeks Salary
Many men have replaced the traditional rule with the “three-week” salary rule. These guys figure out how much they make in three weeks and use it to buy the ring. Three weeks is much more reasonable than three months. People can still take care of their student loans, mortgage payments, and more when they spend this amount on a ring. At the same time, most guys can get a nice ring for this amount. They might have to go with a lower carat or a different setting than they wanted, but they are still able to get a beautiful piece of jewelry.
The Age Rule
If you have some serious cash, you can follow the age rule when selecting a ring for the love of your life. Take the lady’s age, add a decimal point, and buy her that carat of ring. For example, if your fiancé were 42, you would get her a 4.2-carat ring.
This rule sounds nice until you have to pony up the cash. If you follow this rule, you might end up kicking yourself for failing to pick a younger fiancé.
With that in mind, you might want to go for one of the other rules. Otherwise, you could end up spending tens of thousands of dollars on an engagement ring.
Back in the old days, women stayed in the home and the men earned the money. Now, women are full partners, and many expect to have some say regarding how much to spend on an engagement ring. After all, debt gets combined after the walk down the aisle, and lots of women don’t want to spend several years working to pay off their own engagement ring cost.
Because of that, lots of men talk to their soon-to-be fiancés regarding how much they should spend on the ring. They don’t have to get too specific. Instead, they can just ask if they want to go with tradition or if they would rather choose something more affordable and use that money for something else.
If you want to follow this new rule, have a conversation with your bride-to-be and find out what’s on her mind. You might be surprised by her response. She might just want an affordable ring. On the other hand, she might want so much bling that she can’t hold her hand up.
Guys already have enough debt to handle without charging up a ring. Because of that, many guys choose to get debt-free rings. They spend whatever they can without charging anything. If they have $1,000 available, that is what they will spend, and if they have $5,000 or more available, they will purchase a ring for that price. The key is to only spend what is on hand at that time.
If you don’t have much money saved, you might be afraid of doing this. However, you can always upgrade the ring later when you have more money to spend. Lots of guys choose to upgrade the ring for a special anniversary. For example, you can go all out after you have been married for ten years. Just make sure you save your money so you don’t have to charge the upgrade. Otherwise, you’ll end up breaking this rule.
Tradition dictates that guys pay for the rings and women wear them. Tradition is no longer the rule of the land, though. You can buck tradition and split the cost of the ring. Of course, this only works if your soon-to-be fiancé is on board. You don’t want to find a ring and send her a bill. That isn’t very romantic.
Instead, if she is the type of person who would be interested in this, you can let her know that she can get a nicer ring if she halves the cost with you. Don’t tell her that she has to split the cost. Just put it out there so she can decide if she wants to throw in the money for an upgrade or if she would rather just get what you can afford.
This might seem like a crazy idea, but remember, marriages are partnerships, and that partnership starts with the engagement ring. Women who truly want to be partners will often think that this is a great idea.
There is one catch, though. It’s hard to surprise someone with an engagement ring if she paid for half of it. The grand gesture will get thrown out of the window. However, if you have talked about an engagement and both parties know it is coming, you might as well go for it.
If money is really tight, you can look like a romantic without spending a thing by using a family heirloom. Just make sure you only use an engagement ring that was part of a successful marriage. For instance, if your grandma was happily married for 50 years, that would be a great engagement ring to use. On the other hand, if your parents got divorced when you were 6, it’s best to avoid using that ring. It is cursed.
Your fiancé will feel as if she is a part of the family if you use an heirloom, and you will have a lot more money to spend on the honeymoon. You can even use that extra cash to put a down payment on your home.
As you can see, there aren’t any strict rules regarding how much to spend on engagement rings. You can certainly stick with tradition if you want, but that isn’t necessary. Instead, pick a rule that works for your lifestyle and budget. That way, you will be more likely to have a happy marriage. You will get started off on the right foot, and you’ll be able to enjoy many happy years to come.
If you want to explore financing options for an engagement ring, you can check out our guide to engagement ring financing.
Author: Jeff Gitlen