How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

You know you're ready to pop the question—the next step is investing in an engagement ring she'll want to wear for the rest of her life. While there are plenty of questions that arise when choosing the perfect engagement ring, determining a budget is one of the trickiest. When deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring, it really comes down to a handful of factors, not one simple rule (as has become a myth over the years). There's no clear-cut answer, but rather a series of personal considerations you should make to figure out what will be best for you and your partner. To help you decide an engagement ring price tag that will be right for you, we've outlined some of the major things you should consider.

Don't rely on the outdated "two-month's salary" rule

For starters, allow yourself to do away with any outdated notions or "rules" about precisely how much you should be spending on the ring. Everyone's financial situation varies and there's more to consider than naming a fraction of your salary. One popular myth that's been pushed by marketers is to spend two months worth of your income. This might make sense for you, but rather than arbitrarily accepting this number, it's important to consider what you're taking home after taxes, what other ways you're investing your earnings over the year, any outstanding debts like student loans, and your potential income. Do not compromise your financial situation over an engagement ring as that is much more likely to put a strain on your future marriage.

Understand her expectations

Her engagement ring will be the single most important piece of jewelry she owns and something she'll wear for the rest of her life. It should be in line with her hopes and expectations. The most effective way to allocate your budget—and ultimately design her dream ring—is to understand her specific expectations. Secretly speak with her close friends or family members you can trust to find out exactly what she's looking for in the ring. Knowing what style, diamond shape, and metal she's after will help you to begin considering options at different price points before narrowing down an option that will wow her without breaking the bank.

Shop smartly

When buying an engagement ring, there are plenty of ways to cut costs without compromising on the beauty of the ring. Certain cuts—while just as stunning as their counterparts—come at a significantly more palatable price than others, and buying just shy of the carat can get you the most bling for your buck. We've detailed exactly how to save money on an engagement ring so you can design her dream ring while staying well within your budget.

In summary

A one-of-a-kind ring isn't guaranteed by a hefty price, but rather the thought and care you put into designing it. An engagement ring is a symbol of your love and commitment and should be a celebration of such—not a cause of stress or strain on the relationship.