Getting engaged is one of those life moments you want to remember forever, so it's not surprising that many couples look to saving two to three months' salary for buying an engagement ring. The actual amount you spend on your engagement ring can depend on a few different factors, including your personal budget and overall style preferences. This guide covers that and more, including average engagement ring prices, what to think about when shopping for your ring, and tips to budget the costs so you can make the perfect choice.
Average Costs for Engagement Rings
No matter the average, a diamond engagement ring comes with some investment. According to data from American Express, the average price of a one-carat diamond engagement ring is around $5,500, but that doesn't mean all couples are actually spending that amount. In fact, many couples end up spending more than $6,000 for their rings, while there are many others who find a beautiful ring for less.
Even while considering the national average price tag, it's important to note that the cost of a diamond engagement ring can vary depending on where you live and where you shop. For instance, some cities like New York City and Chicago may see an overall market of larger stones available, with average prices ranging between $7,000 and $10,000.
Factors to Think About When Buying an Engagement Ring
Average prices aren't the only factors that can affect your total bill, though. You'll need to consider the style, shape, cut, and other important elements that highlight your unique preferences in ring design. Ask for your partner's input, too. A combined set of criteria between the both of you can help you stick to your budget and avoid overspending when shopping for engagement rings.
- Cut: Think about budget-friendly traditional cuts like a square cut. Generally, the price increases with more intricate cuts, like a round cut diamond. The carats can also factor into your cut, so if you choose an complex cut for a high-carat diamond, you can expect an increase in price.
- Clarity: Even though it seems like the higher the clarity the better the diamond, if there aren't any inclusions that you can see, you don't need to let clarity dictate what you're willing to spend.
- Color: Color is mostly personal preference, but it's worth noting that less common colors tend to be more expensive. Opting for a traditional white diamond can help you save more on your purchase.
- Carat: Here's where the price can vary substantially between options. Typically, the higher the carat, the more expensive the diamond. Size also weighs into it, so if you're looking for a larger diamond, a lower carat is going to be the best option for your budget.
Another aspect of ring shopping to consider is whether you want to purchase a whole wedding and engagement set or just opt for the engagement ring separately. If a set comes with a bundled price and can save you money in the long run, it could be worth the choice. That said, your choice in rings will ultimately direct your budget. While the three-month-salary rule doesn't apply to everyone, you'll still need to plan for the expense.
How to Budget the Cost of Your Ring
It is definitely possible to set a budget for your purchase and still find a meaningful and gorgeous ring. Several ways you can budget for your ring include planning according to your finances, combining finances with your partner, and opting for less expensive choices, both with style and factors such as carats.
Plan For What You Can Afford
Before making your final decision, it helps to establish the maximum amount you're willing to spend and to weigh your options before shopping so you aren't tempted to go over your budget. You can also venture away from a traditional diamond and opt for a less expensive gemstone like a white sapphire, topaz, or aquamarine. Additionally, using some unique and affordable elements to make smaller stones stand out (like a halo of tiny stones to make your center gem look bigger) can add personal touches without breaking your maximum budget.
Combine Finances With Your Partner
Consider your partner's expectations in regard to cost, style, and custom elements. With shared expectations in the look you both want, you can better decide on the elements you can afford. If you and your partner are able to, combine your incomes together so you can either increase your budget a little or pay down the balance on your purchase more quickly. However, you and your partner choose to combine your finances, doing so can ensure you stick to your budget and only look at options you can afford.
Think About Less Expensive Options
Less expensive options like opting for a fraction-size carat—like .95 rather than 1.0—can help you save on the expense of your diamond. Similarly, you can purchase your gemstone separately and have it mounted, which can cut down on the total costs of your purchase. Ring settings are another element you can save on, especially when you look for simple bands with fewer enhancements. Talk with your partner and decide together what elements you can do without and which ones you just have to have.
Consider Financing Your Purchase
Depending on what you're looking for, where you're looking, and what's available, you can also choose to finance your ring. Look for options that offer payment plans with little to no interest and that you can pay off within one to two years. If you're looking at custom embellishments or unique colors, financing might be an option to consider to help you budget your engagement ring purchase.
With a better foundation to start from, you'll know what to look for, what you can expect to spend, and how to start budgeting for your purchase. The next step now is to take a look at what's available, so if you're in New York City, get in touch with us to see how we can fit your style and your budget.
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