TL;DR: Buy an engagement ring for as much as you can afford to spend. The rule of two to three months' salary is unworkable and out-of-date. Additionally, you can find some really chic rings at a great price.

If you're getting ready to propose, you're probably considering a lot of details like carat weight, ring style, and how to pop the question. All of that costs money. But exactly how much are you expected to spend on the large ring? We understand how stressful it can be to sort it all out, but take a deep breath—we've got this. The financial aspects of getting engaged are covered in this guide, including who pays for what expenses and where to find an ideal, affordable engagement ring that your future spouse will adore.

What Most People Spend

To see how your budget compares to others, let's look at some averages. The cost of an engagement ring is currently estimated to be around €5,500 by The Knot's most recent study, but regional averages range widely, from over €7,500 in the mid-Atlantic to €5,200 in the southeast. Nevertheless, the study found that many consumers are paying less for the rock: about a quarter of all participants spent between €1,000 and €3,000, and another 11% spent less than €1,000. The lesson? Although many people do, spending a lot of money is by no means necessary to get down on one knee.

The 100-Year-Old Two-Month Salary Rule

The two-to-three months' salary rule is often cited when researching engagement ring prices. This tradition states that the engagement ring should cost two or three months' salary. If you earn €3,000 per month, your ring should cost between €3,000 and €9,000.

The Origins of the 'Two Months' Salary' Rule for Rings

But here's the thing. This piece of advice, like many other antiquated financial proverbs, dates back to a very different time in the history of finance. In actuality, this "rule" has its origins in a 1930s advertisement by the De Beers diamond company. It wondered, "How can you make two months' salary last forever?" No matter how wealthy they are, proposers from all backgrounds have accepted this idea as dogma for the past ninety or so years.

You don't need to spend that much

Here's the thing: Back then, life was simpler financially. Since 1930, living costs have skyrocketed. Houses, tuition, transportation and groceries were much more in line with what average individuals made in days gone by; prices were set so people weren't forced to live above their means.

In 1930, the average annual wage was only around €2,000 but the cost of a new home was around €3,800 and a car an additional €400. Today's average annual wage is €50,000 but housing costs hover around €266,000 while automobiles cost an additional €37,000 - showing how far your dollars don't stretch as far as they did then.

Imagine being able to purchase a brand-new car and home for two years' worth of work? Unfortunately, that's far from being the reality for many people today, which makes spending two or three months of pay on an engagement ring seem so crazy. Indeed, spending multiple months of salary may not always be the best financial decision. So the short answer: Nope - you don't need or should spend that amount on an engagement ring.

How Much Should You Spend, Then?

Setting a budget for your engagement ring is a very personal decision that only you are capable of making. Fortunately, there are many fashionable, budget-friendly engagement rings available. The popularity of imitation diamond gemstones has made it possible for you to pop the question while spending less than €100. It can often be difficult to distinguish between a real diamond and a simulated one because simulated diamonds are created to look and shine like real diamonds. Therefore, regardless of your budget, finding a beautiful rock shouldn't be difficult.

Budgeting for Your Engagement Ring

It's ultimately up to you how much you feel comfortable spending. If you have a full-time job, a good rule of thumb is to not spend more on the engagement ring than one month's salary, advises personal finance expert Dave Ramsey. He recently said on his radio show that "a lot of people get married on a very cheap ring, and it lasts very well."

Before choosing a budget, you should consider your particular situation, preferences, and financial situation. When setting a budget for the engagement ring, you should consider the following issues:

Are you prepared to incur debt in order to purchase the engagement ring?

Are you prepared to give up some things, such as a trip or a few months of eating out, in order to pay for the engagement ring?

Can you cut back on the honeymoon or other extras to free up money in your overall wedding budget to pay for the ring?

Is worrying about the cost of the engagement ring keeping you from concentrating on the marriage and wedding's more crucial elements?

If your future spouse is okay with it, are you open to splitting the cost of the ring?

When looking for a traditional engagement ring, are factors like insurance, shipping, and sizing taken into consideration? Notably, a lot of that is handled when you shop at Brother & Sisters.

Who Pays for the Engagement Ring?

Tradition dictates that the proposer, traditionally a man, buys the ring for the proposee, traditionally a woman. But as we are all aware, same-sex engagements and female-to-male proposals are on the rise, making traditional wedding customs more optional than ever. So, to put it bluntly, the notion that "the man buys the ring for the woman" is out of date.

Additionally, research indicates that an increasing number of couples are shopping for engagement rings together and splitting the cost. In actuality, about 20% of brides pay for the ring outright, and even more do so in part. It's ultimately up to you whether you follow tradition and buy the woman a ring as a surprise, or you completely shake things up.

The bottom line: Don't follow societal pressures and norms that are frequently completely arbitrary; instead, do what's right for you and your relationship.

Speak with your future spouse

You should talk to your partner about your budget before you spend any money on the ring, which is a crucial reminder before you spend any money on the ring. Your future spouse likely has strong feelings about the subject. Perhaps they desire a pricey ring with large, expensive stones. On the other hand, they might discover that spending a lot of money was a waste. Regardless of your own opinion, you should take into account the validity of both points of view.

Finding an Affordable Engagement Ring

We hope we've given you the go-ahead to put money aside and keep your ring spending on the lower end. If you choose to go that route, make sure you bear a few important considerations in mind when looking for the large but reasonably priced ring. Observe the following:

Affordable Doesn't Always Mean Cheap

When looking for affordable engagement rings, there are tiers to take into account, just like in everyday life. You have a wide range of options to choose from: From a flimsy gumball machine ring to a precious metal beauty that substitutes an equally stunning (yet significantly less expensive) imitation gem for the expensive diamond. Here are some qualities of a premium yet affordable engagement ring to look for:

  • Simulated Diamonds - Simulated diamonds are essentially man-made diamond stones that are designed to resemble the "real" thing in terms of their stunning sparkle and dimension. However, they have a few significant advantages. They don't have the same ethical conflict as traditionally mined diamonds, and most significantly, they are much less expensive.

  • Sterling Silver - Sterling silver is a premium material that will last for many years without losing its quality. It is a fantastic option to take into consideration for your affordable engagement ring because it is significantly less expensive than standard gold or platinum.

  • Stainless steel - Due to their extreme strength and low price, stainless steel is a substitute precious metal frequently used in men's wedding bands. As a result, they are also becoming more and more common in engagement ring design.

  • Rhodium plating - To prevent tarnishing and guarantee that the ring will remain beautiful for a lifetime, choose a ring that has undergone the rhodium plating process. Rhodium-plated sterling silver is nickel-free and won't make your finger turn green.

Start Small and Affordable 

Don't feel "married" to the ring you present on one knee—your partner may not wear it forever. Consider an affordable proposal ring as a special temporary solution. Once your partner-to-be says yes or you've saved enough money for the ring of their dreams, you can swap it for something more special.

Remember What It’s All About

At the end of the day, when searching for engagement rings and setting a budget, remember what this whole process is about: celebrating your love with your significant other. At Brother & Sisters, we make it our goal to help you celebrate that love in an appropriate way that honors both of you perfectly. Take some time to explore all of our engagement rings to find one style that perfectly embodies both of these elements without breaking your budget.


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