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Engagement should be about romance, the prospect of the future, and love. However, along with the engagement comes a new range of costs: the party, the big hit that is the wedding, and immediately – the cost of the engagement ring. How much should you spend on an engagement ring? Are there rules you should be following? How do you meet expectations without breaking the bank?
The reality is that you should probably set the budget before you do the browsing. It’s not much fun to discover the much-coveted ring isn’t a realistic prospect without an extra mortgage. However, you should also note that there is no set amount that you should spend. What’s right for you, and your relationship, is personal. However, there are some guidelines which will help you decide.
Most of these guidelines are summed up in etiquette rules of the past. Let’s take a look at these and see how realistic they are for helping you decide how much should you spend on an engagement ring.
In the US men who get down on one knee have typically been encouraged to spend between one and three month’s salary on the ring for their soon-to-be betrothed. You might hear it expressed as a percentage, usually 10%. What’s good about this old-style rule is that it is a quantifiable, determinable amount. There aren’t any questions left, you just get given a nice round figure to work from.
This can work just fine for many couples, and means you can head on over to the jewelry store or website with a clear expression of budget.
However, this rule was fashioned when Americans tended to get married younger – therefore having naturally lower salaries. Additionally, this rule was started when setting up home together, and the first mortgage, was very much part of the marriage arrangement. Nowadays, the average age for marriage in the US is 28 and many are already living together, and already burdened with the expenses of accommodation and bills.
This can mean that this rule is difficult to interpret in modern scenarios. You could have more, or less, disposable income depending on your personal circumstances. Such a prescriptive budget guide is possibly less suitable for modern couples. It’s also worth remembering that the salary guide for budgeting for engagement rings has its roots in a De Beers advertising campaign, and successfully tapped into the emotive nature of this type of ring purchase.
If working on a proportion of your salary doesn’t work for you then there are other options open to you. Many couples choose to work out what they should spend based on what the majority of people do. Working from the average engagement ring spend can give you a ball park figure of what you should spend. The average cost of an engagement ring is $4758.
This gives you a good working guide, however, it doesn’t take in to account your own personal circumstances at all. Even if you earn the national average salary it doesn’t mean that your finances are completely average. This situation may lead to over-stretching yourself on one hand, or not truly demonstrating your fiancée’s worth on the other.
The result is, that for most couples, how much you should spend on an engagement ring should be determined on an individual level. The amount you spend should be decided between you, or solely by the person buying the ring. You should consider what you can afford, whilst also ensuring that this is a large and symbolic gesture.
Once you have established your own budget, you’re then better placed to begin looking at engagement rings within your price range. Also, don’t forget, that a carefully selected engagement ring holds its value, and will become an heirloom. Money spent on an engagement ring is an investment, and rarely lost.