When it comes to engagement rings, the size of the diamond has little to no effect on how long a relationship, or marriage, will last. However, your bride-to-be has been dreaming of her perfect engagement ring since she was a little girl. But don’t feel bad about your finances and how the ring you’ll likely present will pale in comparison to the rings of celebrities that are so often talked about in magazines. The process doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds. Modern girls understand that there’s a whole new world of rings out there that won’t make you go bankrupt, and that might actually hold a bit more meaning than an empty diamond that just says “look at me, look at how much money my fiancé spent on me.”

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

Despite the opinion of your friends, family, colleagues, advice columns, and bridal magazines, what you spend on the engagement ring is completely you and your fiancée’s prerogative. Here are some guidelines to consider for inspiration before you buy a ring, get down on one knee and pop the question.

Three Months’ Salary

This common rule is always mentioned when the question of engagement rings comes up. The purchaser should spend approximately three full months of their salary on an engagement ring. All things considered, anyone who is in debt, or worried about the security of their job should probably not follow this rule of thumb.


One Months’ Salary

Back in the day during the Great Depression, popular diamond manufacturer, DeBeers, ran an ad campaign that advised men to spend one month's’ salary on an engagement ring. This number is a bit more reasonable, so you can thank DeBeers for their wisdom that just happened to stick, even almost 100 years later.


Split the Difference

For those of the more contemporary school of thought who still aren’t sure how much to spend on an engagement ring, and think three months’ salary is a bit over the top, but just one months’ salary is a bit stingy, you can compromise and spend two months’ salary. This way, you can still splurge without totally breaking the bank or looking cheap.


Consider the Average

Although a love like yours is anything but, consider the average spent on engagement rings by American men, which is anywhere from $2,600 to $4,000. Of course, the number should depend on the man’s financial standing and resources. Younger men who are just getting started in their careers and establishing savings, IRAs, or even considering purchasing a home should spend less on a ring than a man who is already well established.


Do Not Borrow Money

When you get married, what is theirs becomes yours, and of course, what is yours becomes theirs. How unfair would it be to bring the debt of the engagement ring into the marriage? It can be tempting to finance a nice rock with a credit card, or through a line of credit directly from the jeweler, but be careful! Although with student loans, it’s nearly impossible to go into a marriage these days debt free, but you should avoid adding on a couple thousand dollars of consumer debt to that. If you don’t have the cash and really want to propose, try financing something that can be paid off in less than a year and don’t burden your fiancée with this debt.


Meaning Outweighs the Price

An engagement should be more meaningful than just being expensive. Of all of the scenarios below, you have the final say of which one is the most meaningful.

  • Proposing to your bride with a family heirloom ring that has been passed down through generations that doesn’t actually cost a dime.

  • Every week for a year, you set aside some cash to save for the ring, which may mean you have to make some sacrifices.

  • You purchase a slightly under-size diamond that looks just like the real thing, but actually weighs 0.1-0.2 carats less. These diamonds will cost much less than the standard one but will make no difference to the naked eye.

  • You work with your local jeweler to design a custom ring that you think your fiancée will love, but forego the diamond altogether and use another precious stone.

The ring you choose should be nothing more than a symbol of your love and commitment to the woman you want to marry. The tradition of sacrificing to save for a ring is more romantic and thoughtful than going broke just to get something super flashy. If you’re not sure how much to spend on an engagement ring, remember quality over quantity.

Get Inspired from Others’ Stories

Here are few stories from men who’ve been through the process of getting an engagement ring that may inspire you to be a bit creative.

My fiancé gave his grandmother’s engagement ring. It didn’t cost him anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s not special. Actually, I feel like it’s more special because of the rich history that’s attached to it. She endured a difficult life in Eastern Europe before she came to America, and even though she lost so much, she always held on to this ring because it was a symbol of her love for her husband. The diamond is small, but it shines so bright.


My husband and I wanted to get married straight out of college, but we were broke! So he proposed to me empty handed, but with a heart full of love. When we were ready to finally get a ring, we picked it out together and it cost $1,500. For me, it signifies our union and how we always make decisions together, whether they are big or small, and we always consider each other. And that’s true romance.


My adorable husband proposed to me with a $500 ring the day after I graduated and earned my mechanical engineering degree. The ring is made out of titanium which is a stronger metal than gold or platinum, and he was so proud of his idea to get me a ring made out of a "cool metal". His thoughtfulness meant the world to me.


For me, engagement rings are silly and I don’t even really like diamonds. When I married my husband, we exchanged simple wedding bands. I didn’t need a big ring before the wedding that would make my man go broke just to show off to people I don’t care about. The jewelry industry just pushed this idea on our society of engagement rings, and how the bigger the ring, the better the marriage. But my dad got my mom a huge flashy diamond, and then spent 40 years screwing around behind her back, so how much did that diamond actually mean? He just wanted to distract her


When my fiancé proposed to me, he gave me a beautiful and sparkly ring when he was down one knee and I was floored when I saw it. It was truly spectacular! Turns out, he didn’t know how much to spend on an engagement ring, and he didn’t believe the prices of the local jewelers, so he went out of town to a jewelry supplier, using about 2 hours, and got the ring at a fraction of the cost of normal jewelry stores' insane mark-ups. He really went out of his way to get me something special without causing us any grief with debt.


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