“Two month’s salary,” “One month’s salary,” “Three weeks’ salary and a half,” “As much money as you can spare!”
You’ve likely heard a lot of answers to this time-tested question: how much should you spend on an engagement ring? Many of the answers either directly contradict each other, or cast the other answers into doubt. So what really is the answer, and what does it mean for you if you’re considering buying an engagement ring?
The truth is, the answer is different for everyone. That’s why it’s important to step back and ask a few other questions before popping that big question.
Tradition Says, “One to Three Months’ Salary”
You’ve likely heard some version of this answer, that you should spend anywhere between one and three months’ salary on an engagement ring. But does this apply to everybody? Suppose you make $50,000 a year, which could mean shelling out as much as $12,500 for an engagement ring. If you’re making $50k a year, can you really afford that? Some people in deep, committed relationships wouldn’t even let their partner think about spending that kind of money on a ring, let alone actually following through with the purchase.
Is it okay to abandon tradition altogether? We think that depends on the couple. Some couples are more traditional and prefer to do things the old-fashioned way when it comes to marriage, and that means everything from the proposal to the wedding day itself. And that’s just fine. You should spend your money how you want to; you earned it.
It’s also okay to be a little untraditional if both you and your soon-to-be spouse are on the same page. Some people choose the extremely simple route, opting for something that more resembles a wedding band. While others realize that there are many great engagement rings that can be had for much less than a three months’ salary.
Discussing the Engagement Ring
It’s becoming more and more common these days for couples to discuss the prospects of marriage down to the details of a proposal before it ever happens. Does this “spoil the surprise”? It can, to some extent. However, it’s usually a mature and sensible way of approaching the traditions surrounding marriage.
Discussing the engagement ring shouldn’t be off the table, especially given the investment one often has to make to procure the right one. At the very least, someone proposing marriage should have a good idea of what style of jewelry their potential spouse enjoys, whether it may be a specific kind of jewel or gemstone or simply a custom-made piece that’s built with a lot of thought and heart in it.
So the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is to spend however much you want. It really depends on what kind of people you are, and what kind of importance you place on the ring. We do know one thing, though; no matter how much you spend on a ring it’s always the thought that counts.