Ask any jeweler how much money you should spend on an engagement ring and they’ll likely give you the jewelry industry’s long-standing rule of thumb—three month’s salary.
The average person spends about half that amount, according to Census data.
The jewelry industry isn’t recommending three months of pay after taxes, but three months of gross pay—which adds up to about $8,500 for the average man age 25-34, according to Census data. The average person spends about $4,000 on an engagement ring.
A specific dollar amount or percentage of income shouldn’t be the determining factor in how much you spend on an engagement ring. The main factor should be how much you can comfortably afford.
You can also consider your earning potential in the immediate future, as well as ways to ease the cost, such as using a family ring. Here are a few things to consider:
Your financial situation
Even if your income is high, your living expenses may be so high already that you can’t afford to save much for a ring. Being in debt can make the major expense of an engagement ring more difficult to handle.
Financing a ring on a credit card can only worsen your finances if you don’t pay it off within a month and pay late fees or interest charges.
If you don’t have an emergency fund, an engagement ring purchase could leave you vulnerable if you lose your job or suffer another financial emergency.
If your significant other wants to get married soon, then you won’t have much time to save up for an engagement ring, the wedding or anything else associated with it.
This may require you to buy a simpler ring for now and add to it or replace it later.
How to pay for the wedding ceremony, honeymoon and other things can be part of the discussion around the type of engagement ring that’s appropriate for your budget.
Saving on an Engagement Ring
To save money on an engagement ring, some thoughts are to use a family ring, or buy a synthetic diamond or cubic zirconium ring, shop for a vintage ring, or buy the best ring you can afford and update it later.
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