an engagement ring

Does It Matter How Much You Spend On an Engagement Ring?

When you're ready to ask that very important question, “Will you marry me?” you want to make a good impression by presenting your partner with the perfect engagement ring. You need to take into consideration several factors when deciding on the perfect engagement ring, including how much you should spend on this special of jewelry. 

Do I Need to Spend Two Months Salary on an Engagement Ring?

You may have heard the adage that you should spend two or three months of your salary on an engagement ring. While spending a large amount of money on an engagement ring will buy you a stunning piece of jewelry, the reality is that you don't need to go broke finding the perfect ring. You don't want to bring excess debt onto a new marriage, so it's important not to spend more than you can realistically afford. 

Don't feel pressured into spending more than you're willing to because of advertisements or the myth of spending two or three months salary on the ring. Talk with your partner and come up with a realistic engagement ring budget. Keep in mind, that you can always upgrade to a more expensive ring in the future. 

Why Is the Two or Three Months Salary Rule Outdated?

Back in the 1930s, the De Beers diamond company devised a marketing campaign to sell their diamonds. The campaign alluded to the idea that true love and commitment can only be expressed when a man spent at least one month's salary on the ring. Before the ad came out, diamonds weren't always used for engagement rings.

De Beers started the campaign to sell expensive diamonds. The “Diamond is Forever” campaign took off, and by the 1990s, nearly 80% of engagement rings had diamonds. Understanding that the two-month salary rule is just an advertising campaign lets you decide how much you want to spend on an engagement ring, not what the ad tells you to spend. 

How To Determine the Right Budget for an Engagement Ring?

According to the New York Times, the average cost for an engagement ring in the United States is about $5,000 with the median price around $1,900. The average couple spends about $3,000. The study also found that the millennial generation spends less on their engagement rings than older generations. While you can use the average price and two-month salary rule as benchmarks, you want to look at your personal finances. 

Carefully review your budget for housing, health care, insurance, car and student loans, and then see what's leftover. Start a savings account and every month put a comfortable amount of money into it. You can also work with your jewelry and see if they have a plan where you can make monthly payments on your engagement ring. 

Should I Borrow Money to Buy an Engagement Ring?

Unless friends or family are willing to loan you interest-free money, you want to try and avoid borrowing for the ring. It's possible to get a 0% credit card that offers that low rate for a prescribed amount of time. To stay out of debt, you'll want to pay the balance off before the end of the promotional low-or no-interest loan. Instead of going into debt, buy an engagement ring within your current budget that you'll both love, and upgrade in the future if you desire. 

Do I Have to Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring?

Choosing a gemstone for your engagement ring is a personal choice. Diamonds are beautiful, timeless, and extremely flattering. Depending on the carat, clarity, cut, and color of the diamond, as well as the type of metal you choose, you can find affordable diamond engagement rings. Letting your jeweler know your budget can help them find the perfect diamond engagement ring for you. However, you can also choose from a variety of other precious gemstones such as topaz, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. They each have their own allure and jewelers can create an engagement ring using these valuable gemstones.

Whether you choose a diamond or another gemstone, you can have a custom engagement ring made. Having a custom engagement ring lets you get creative, get the stone and shape you want, and can help you stretch your budget. 

What Alternatives Can I Use for an Engagement Ring? 

You have lots of alternatives for an engagement ring. Here are a few examples:

Vintage or Estate Rings

Vintage or estate rings have a romantic lure that many find attractive. You can use a family heirloom to pass on the family history or shop for quality vintage or estate rings. When shopping for a vintage ring, verify that the stone is truly a gemstone and free from blemishes and that the band is made from gold, silver, or platinum.

Birthstone Rings

Birthstones also make lovely engagement rings.  All of the birthstones are beautiful but, some are more costly than others. Research the stone and its cost before committing to buying a birthstone engagement ring.

Rings With Their Favorite Color

If your partner loves wearing blue, choose aquamarine, sapphire, or blue topaz. If they love red, buy them a ring with a garnet or ruby. Whatever their favorite color is, when they wear the ring, they'll look at it and find joy and happiness. Presenting your future spouse with a ring that has their favorite color in it shows how much you know them. 

A Ring Based on Its Shape

Another option is to choose the ring based on its shape. The common engagement ring shapes include round, oval, cushion, emerald, and square. Additional shapes include heart, marquise, Asscher, and the classic pear shape. Jewelers can cut most stones into any of these shapes and place them into a variety of settings to create a custom engagement ring.  Your jeweler will know the best cut and setting to highlight the clarity and shine of each stone. 

Now that you know your engagement ring budget and the style that your beloved will fall in love with, let our professional jewelry experts at Martin Busch Jewelers help you find the perfect fitting ring.