How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring? Learn How To Afford The Ring You Want

May 5, 2023

If you’re looking for some expert tips and tricks on how much to budget for an engagement ring, you’ve come to the right place. The first thing to do is to determine your financial situation before setting a budget and avoid overspending on a ring that could cause financial stress later. You’ll also need to calculate monthly expenses, debts, income, and savings and establish a well-defined saving goal, like 10%–20% of each paycheck for future needs.

If you are budgeting for an engagement ring, start by determining your financial condition and what aspects are most important to you. Think about the size and quality of the diamond, the type of metal used, any other design details, and how much they will cost. Establish a budget that considers all available options while keeping your priorities in mind. Know where you can make compromises to remain within budget to secure a beautiful ring without breaking the bank.

You’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and you’re ready to pop the question. But before you do, there’s one more thing you need to figure out: how much should you spend on an engagement ring? This is a common dilemma for many couples who want to express their love and commitment with a beautiful ring but also don’t want to break the bank or go into debt.

How can you afford the ring you want without compromising your financial goals? In this post, we’ll help you answer the question of how much should you spend on an engagement ring by giving you some expert tips and tricks on how to budget, save, and shop for the perfect ring. Whether you’re looking for a simple solitaire or a dazzling diamond, we’ll show you how to make your dream ring a reality.

#1 Assess Your Financial Situation

When buying an engagement ring, determining your financial situation is one of the most important steps to take. Knowing where you stand financially is essential in setting a budget and ensuring that you don't overextend yourself. It can be tempting to go all out when purchasing a ring, but if you don't take the time to get a better sense of your financial position first, it could cost you dearly later.

Start By Estimating Your Discretionary Spending

The first step in determining your financial situation before setting a budget for an engagement ring is calculating your monthly expenses and debts to determine your discretionary spending.

Start by adding up all your fixed costs, such as rent or mortgage payments, car loans, student loans, utility bills, and other regular expenses. Then add additional expenses, such as groceries or entertainment costs, that may vary monthly. Once you have totaled these amounts, subtract them from your monthly income after taxes and other deductions. This will give you an idea of what money is left over each month for discretionary spending.

Calculate And Verify Your Savings

Another important factor to consider when determining your financial situation is saving. Calculate the amount of money you have saved in your long-term savings. You can draw from this when buying your engagement ring.

The average savings for Americans below 35 years is about $12,000. Don’t go for a pricey ring if you are below this range. Consider setting aside a certain percentage of your monthly income to grow your savings. Having emergency funds available can help protect against unexpected surprises down the road. So, it's important to be proactive about building this cushion now rather than waiting until it may be too late. A good rule of thumb is to save 10% – 20% of each paycheck before allocating money towards other purchases or expenses like wedding planning.

Determine Your Long-Term Financial Goals

Finally, when determining your financial situation, it's important to consider long-term financial goals. These may include home ownership or retirement plans. Although purchasing the perfect diamond ring may seem the priority at the moment, prioritizing more worthwhile investments today could prove immensely beneficial years ahead when those short-term goals have already been achieved. There may be no extra money for more lavish purchases like jewelry.

#2 Consider Your Priorities

Purchasing an engagement ring is an exceptional and significant event in someone's life. Therefore, when choosing an engagement ring, personal priorities should be at the forefront of your consideration.

Before determining how much you can realistically spend on a ring, it's essential to consider what elements of the ring you prioritize more. This could include the size or quality of a diamond, the type of metal used (gold, silver, platinum, or other), and any other design features that might matter most to you.

Important: Remember that, apart from the engagement ring, you'll also have to set aside some money for the wedding bands if your partner gives you the “I do.”

It may also be worth considering if there is an heirloom piece passed down through generations that could be used as part of the engagement ring. If this is the case, you could use it to build a custom piece or restore it. This can often have sentimental value that far outweighs any monetary value. Taking time for reflection before researching rings online or visiting stores will help clarify what matters most and make up your ideal vision for this special piece.

Once you have established your priorities, it’s worth researching how much different options cost. This will give you an idea of what is achievable with your budget. People often assume that they have to spend a certain amount of money on an engagement ring for it to be ‘special' or ‘good enough.' However, this isn’t the case. It's possible to get creative and find something beautiful without overspending.

How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring

When setting a budget for an engagement ring, it’s also helpful to identify areas where you can compromise to stay within budget before shopping around. For example, if the size of the diamond matters most but cannot fit within the budget, then being open-minded about other aspects, such as design, may allow you to get a larger stone while still staying within budget. There are countless ways that individuals can express their love and commitment, even on a limited budget. It just requires thinking outside the box and exploring the different options available.

#3 Research The Cost Of Different Engagement Ring Options

Engagement rings symbolize love and commitment, so it's important to select the right one. A good first step in choosing an engagement ring is researching the cost. Knowing what you can afford before shopping for a ring will help you narrow your choices and avoid disappointment later on.

It's essential to research the cost of engagement rings before setting a budget. This helps set realistic expectations and avoid spending too much or too little money on your purchase. It also enables you to understand the value of different styles, settings, materials, and stone qualities to decide what type of ring best fits your budget. Researching prices can save money in the long run by ensuring you get the best deal for something truly satisfying.

How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring
Average spending

On average, people typically spend about $5,580 on an engagement ring. If you have less, don’t let this trouble you, as additional studies show that almost half of the couples spend less than $3,000, as shown in the picture above. Only about 22% of people spend more than $7,000.

When researching prices, it's helpful to look at prices for different styles and materials such as gold or platinum bands, setting types (e.g., solitaire or halo), diamond shapes (e.g., brilliant round cut), decorative details (such as engraving or pave diamonds), and gemstones like sapphires or rubies if desired. It's also important to consider quality when determining price. This involves looking at diamond grading reports which show characteristics such as cut grade, clarity rating, color grade, carat weight, fluorescence level (determines how bright a diamond appears under different light sources), and more.

These factors are often referred to collectively as ‘the 4 C's of Diamond Quality' (Carat weight, Cut, Color, and Clarity). Knowing each factor's effect on price will help empower you when deciding which ring best fits your budget without sacrificing the quality or design features you desire in the ring selection process!

The brilliant round diamond is the most sought-after cut for all sizes and shapes of diamonds. You should expect to pay around $5,000 for your dream engagement ring, but costs can reach up to $10,000 or more depending on how complex your design requirements are. The table below shows what you should expect to spend based on popular materials and styles.

MaterialSetting TypeDiamond ShapeDecorative DetailsGemstoneAverage Price
Gold (14K)SolitaireBrilliant Round CutNoneNone$1,000 – $5,000
Gold (18K)HaloPrincess CutPave DiamondsNone$3,000 – $7,000
PlatinumThree-stoneEmerald CutEngravingNone$5,000 – $18,000
White GoldBezelOval CutNoneSapphire$4,000 – $8,000
Rose GoldCathedralCushion CutNoneRuby$6,000 – $10,000

While the table above shows how prices can vary depending on the diamond cut, setting type, and material, the following is a more comprehensive table showing average prices of different combinations of metals as well as diamonds and diamond alternative stones of different carat weights. The table is conveniently ordered from cheapest to most expensive to make it easier to navigate.

Metal/MaterialStone TypeStone CaratAverage Cost
Sterling SilverMoissanite1.00 – 1.25$200 – $500
Sterling SilverMorganite1.00 – 1.25$200 – $500
Sterling SilverDiamond1.00 – 1.25$500 – $1,000
Sterling SilverMoissanite2.00 – 2.50$500 – $1,500
Sterling SilverMorganite2.00 – 2.50$500 – $1,500
Yellow GoldMoissanite1.00 – 1.25$1,200 – $1,500
Yellow GoldMorganite1.00 – 1.25$1,200 – $1,500
Rose GoldMoissanite1.00 – 1.25$1,500 – $2,000
Rose GoldMorganite1.00 – 1.25$1,500 – $2,000
PalladiumMoissanite1.00 – 1.25$1,500 – $2,000
PalladiumMorganite1.00 – 1.25$1,500 – $2,000
White GoldMoissanite1.00 – 1.25$1,500 – $2,000
White GoldMorganite1.00 – 1.25$1,500 – $2,000
Sterling SilverDiamond2.00 – 2.50$1,500 – $3,000
PlatinumMoissanite1.00 – 1.25$2,000 – $2,500
PlatinumMorganite1.00 – 1.25$2,000 – $2,500
Yellow GoldDiamond1.00 – 1.25$3,000 – $4,000
Yellow GoldMoissanite2.00 – 2.50$3,000 – $4,500
Yellow GoldMorganite2.00 – 2.50$3,000 – $4,500
PalladiumMoissanite2.00 – 2.50$3,000 – $4,500
PalladiumMorganite2.00 – 2.50$3,000 – $4,500
Rose GoldDiamond1.00 – 1.25$3,500 – $4,500
PalladiumDiamond1.00 – 1.25$3,500 – $4,500
Rose GoldMoissanite2.00 – 2.50$3,500 – $5,000
Rose GoldMorganite2.00 – 2.50$3,500 – $5,000
White GoldMoissanite2.00 – 2.50$3,500 – $5,000
White GoldMorganite2.00 – 2.50$3,500 – $5,000
White GoldDiamond1.00 – 1.25$4,000 – $5,000
PlatinumMoissanite2.00 – 2.50$4,000 – $6,000
PlatinumMorganite2.00 – 2.50$4,000 – $6,000
PlatinumDiamond1.00 – 1.25$5,000 – $6,000
Yellow GoldDiamond2.00 – 2.50$18,000 – $23,000
PalladiumDiamond2.00 – 2.50$18,000 – $23,000
Rose GoldDiamond2.00 – 2.50$19,000 – $24,000
White GoldDiamond2.00 – 2.50$20,000 – $25,000
PlatinumDiamond2.00 – 2.50$22,000 – $27,000

As you can see, you could pay anything from $500 to $6,000 for an engagement ring with a natural diamond of around 1 carat, depending on the metal you choose for the ring. Yet you’ll pay upwards of $22,000 for a 2.0–2.5 carat diamond ring. On the other hand, the same ring with a diamond alternative stone like moissanite or morganite will cost a maximum of about $6,000.

So, you can see why it’s important to look around and get a feel for the different price points of engagement rings.

#4 Explore Financing Options

Ok, so you saw the table above, you shopped around online and visited some jewelers to ask for quotes, and you identified the perfect ring, but there’s a problem. After having assessed your finances, you know that you don’t have enough saved to pay for the ring you want. What do you do? There are only two options: give up and decide on a cheaper ring, or you get financing,

Figuring out a suitable financing option can be a daunting task. Fortunately, various financing options are available to help make this important purchase more manageable financially. Standard financing options include the following:

How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring

Credit Cards

A credit card is one of the most common ways to finance engagement rings. The key benefit here is convenience—you can pay for your ring in installments rather than come up with the total cost upfront. Furthermore, if you have a rewards credit card or use one that offers cashback on purchases made at specific stores (e.g., jewelry stores), then using this option could also save you money in the long run by earning rewards points or cash back on each payment made towards your purchase.

Of course, one downside to using credit cards to finance your engagement ring is that they can quickly rack up debt if not managed properly. Remember that most credit cards have high-interest rates, usually close to 20% or more, which can seriously add up, so paying off the balance as soon as possible is a must.


Taking out a loan to finance an engagement ring can be a viable option for those who don't have the means to pay for one upfront. This financing allows you to make monthly payments over an extended period, which helps spread out the cost and makes it easier on your wallet. Furthermore, most loans offer fixed payment terms and interest rates, so there will be no surprises down the line regarding repayment. Some lenders may even provide flexible repayment plans or additional incentives such as reduced interest rates or waived late fees if you keep up with your payments. On the downside, taking out a loan can affect your credit score—especially if payments are not made on time—so this should be considered carefully before committing to it.

Layaway Plans

Another way people choose to finance their engagement rings is by using layaway plans offered by certain retailers and jewelers. With this option, you can typically put down a small deposit for the ring and then make regular payments until it's paid in full. Once all payments have been made, you can take ownership of the item purchased (in this case, an engagement ring). The main benefit here is that it offers more flexibility than a loan. You can make payments as often or as little as you want, and the interest rate is typically lower than that of a loan. However, layaway plans may also require cancellation fees if the purchase isn't completed within the designated time frame, so this should be considered before moving forward with this option.

Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL)

If you’re only short a couple of hundred dollars and don’t want to pay interest on a loan or credit card debt (who does?), you can also consider BNPL services. These let you cover a part or the entirety of a purchase and allow you to pay it back in interest-free installments, typically without affecting your credit score.

#5 Make A Decision

Making a decision on an engagement ring budget can be intimidating. After all, you want to find something that resonates with you and your partner without breaking the bank. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to engagement ring budgets, there are some tips that can help guide you in making a final decision.

Remember The Other Wedding Expenses

Setting a realistic budget based on income and savings is important. Many people will want to add some extra money to purchase an expensive ring that symbolizes their love. But it's important not to overextend financially so you don't become buried by debt. It's also essential to consider other wedding-related expenses that must be taken into account when setting your overall budget for the engagement ring.

Talk It Over As A Couple

Second, talking openly and honestly with your partner about what feels comfortable financially for both of you when making this purchase together is advisable. This means discussing how much each of you is willing and able to contribute to potential payment plans or financing options if needed. This conversation upfront will make both parties feel more secure about the decision. Even if one person ends up paying for the entire cost of the ring themselves (which is usually not recommended).

Consider The Ring’s Resale Value

Third, try researching the resale value of your chosen piece or pieces. You should always consider how much the rings will be worth if you ever decide to resell them in case life events lead you down this path further down the line. Additionally, consider whether or not buying an expensive piece of jewelry would be viewed as a good investment. After all, it's much more cost-effective to buy jewelry that appreciates over time than buying something like a car that does the opposite.

Budget For Future Maintenance

Fourth, setting aside some of your budget for future maintenance, such as cleaning and polishing, resizing, or repairs, is advisable. If any issues arise down the line, you already have some resources available to take care of them without feeling overwhelmed financially.

Get Creative

Finally, if you cannot comfortably afford an engagement ring after following these tips, consider getting creative! Depending on what works best for both partners emotionally and financially speaking, there are many alternatives out there. Some ideas include:

  • Alternative materials like titanium, stainless steel, or silicon carbide for the ring and moissanite or morganite for the stone.
  • DIY projects with sentimental materials such as wood or clay.
  • Buying vintage pieces.
  • Renting instead of purchasing.
  • Foregoing rings altogether and opting for a personalized token such as a necklace instead.

The Bottom Line

Engagement rings are an important part of our marriage ritual in Western culture, and it’s an open and public declaration of love and commitment to take the next step. As such, it’s only natural for you to want to buy the perfect ring for the occasion. While traditional engagement rings can cost around $5,000 on average, there are many other options out there that can be more cost-effective.

Be as it may, there are still ways to afford the ring you want through a combination of smart budgeting and financing options. As long as you consider how much of your income you can free up to pay for installments and ensure you’ll be able to pay the ring off in time, you should be good to go.

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How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring FAQs

How do I maximize my engagement ring on a budget?

One of the best ways to maximize an engagement ring on a budget is to look for rings with smaller stones or diamonds. Smaller stones may be orders of magnitude cheaper than larger ones, but they can still make a beautiful and meaningful ring. Additionally, it would help if you looked for rings with unique settings or designs that help draw attention to the small stone, such as micro pave bands. This will ensure that your ring looks as impressive as possible without breaking your budget.

Another great way to maximize your engagement ring on a budget is to shop around and compare prices from different stores and jewelers. You might even be able to find vintage or antique pieces, which can be significantly cheaper than their modern counterparts while still making a stunning statement piece.

Finally, you should consider buying the diamond separately from the setting if you want large savings. This will allow you to customize the design more directly, choosing materials and settings that match your style preferences and price range. By shopping around and doing some research before purchasing an engagement ring, it's possible to get high-quality rings at affordable prices regardless of your budget.

How do you avoid getting ripped when buying an engagement ring?

  1. Research the current market prices for the quality and type of diamond you prefer.
  2. Find a good, reputable jeweler with competitive prices.
  3. Check the certification of any diamonds you are considering to ensure what grade they are and their actual worth.
  4. Consider buying online, as wholesalers and retailers offer competitive pricing due to the lack of overhead costs associated with physical stores.
  5. Know your price range going into the shop and be willing to negotiate within it if possible.
  6. Prepare payment in advance to secure better deals or discounts from your jeweler when applicable or available.

What is the least you should spend on an engagement ring?

There is no set amount. It truly depends on the individual's budget and preferences. However, a good rule of thumb for an engagement ring would be to spend at least two months' salary.

How much should you spend on a ring setting?

The amount you decide to spend on a ring setting will be based on your financial situation and the kind of stone or design you desire. It's widely advised to devote two-thirds of your total money to the diamond or other expensive gemstone, leaving a third for the setting and any extra gems that could be included.

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