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How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

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Here’s one of my favorite money and gender questions: How much should someone spend on an engagement ring?

Out of curiosity, I once asked this at the dinner table, and my entire family put their forks down and stared at me. Not good.

I like this question because it highlights the gap between rational answers and emotional responses.

Whenever people talk about engagement rings on the internet, here is exactly what happens:

PERSON 1: “Hey guys! I’m going to get engaged to my girlfriend next month. How much should I spend on the engagement ring?”
PERSON 2: “Ugh! What a heteronormative paternalistic anachronism.”
PERSON 3: “I spent $42 on my engagement ring and we’ve been married 58 years.”
PERSON 4: “Forget diamonds. They’re all stained with the blood of exploited people. What about Mossanite/CZ?”
PERSON 5: “Any girl who *expects* an engagement ring is a gold digger! You need to break up with her now. You’re welcome.”

PERSON 1: (Commits suicide at the stupidity of the internet)

Before you answer, I’d like you to consider a few key points from this article: “Have You Ever Tried To Sell A Diamond?” This is the single-most interesting article I have ever read. Learn how diamond companies used highly sophisticated marketing and distribution to position diamonds as a luxury good, and how they have changed consumer perceptions over time.

Questions to ask before you leave a comment below:

  • Does how much to spend on an engagement ring depend how on much the guy makes? Or the woman?
  • What if the woman makes more than the guy?
  • How does Conscious Spending play into this purchase?
  • Do women want an engagement ring? Why or why not?
  • How does culture play into the decision of how much to spend on an engagement ring?
  • Does this change for same-sex couples?

Answers that will not be accepted because they are stupid:

  • “The divorce rate is 50% for everyone! Save your money!” (No, it’s really not.)
  • “This is ridiculous because it’s all anecdotes/stories. I want PEER-REVIEWED RESEARCH!!” (Attention, ass: There is no peer-reviewed research on how much you should spend on an engagement ring. That’s because this is water-cooler discussion, which is a valuable addition to quantitative data.)
  • “I hate you Ramit because you assume that only men buy women engagement rings and you are making all kinds of assumptions! Men and women are all different!” (First, this is obvious, but even within a heterogeneous group, there are still patterns. Second, if you’d like to offer up another view that applies to more than 10% of my readers, I am very open to it. However, edge cases of aboriginal nomads getting married on a crocodile farm in Malaysia (“THEY don’t buy engagement rings!”) do not count. We’re talking stories and averages, people.)

So, the QUESTION: How much should a man spend on an engagement ring?

Leave your comments below.

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403 Comments on "How much should you spend on an engagement ring?"

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Dawn
Dawn
4 years 3 months ago

I would say $2500. Anything more and it seems over the top. Anything less and you need to get your finances in order before getting married. Oh, my husband didn’t ask, he just bought it…. after asking my dad’s permission.

A
A
4 years 3 months ago

Some people may never be able to afford a $2500 piece of jewelry. (Or at least may have priorities that make a $2500 piece of jewelry unaffordable). Does that mean those people should never get married?

Suzie
4 years 3 months ago

My spouse spent $1200, and I thought that was excessive (though appreciated it!)

teezecrost
4 years 3 months ago

I think it’s a horrible way to spend money, no matter how much of it you have. Spending $2500 on a little pretty rock would have been laughed at before people started mindlessly following the famous de beers ad campaign back in the 40s.

Brent
Brent
4 years 3 months ago

EPIC first comment. It’s astonishing how you assume $2500 is a good fixed price for every single person in every area of the US. Somehow you manage to take it further and assume everyone that can’t afford a $2500 ring (and I stress “EVERYONE” as I defined above) needs to “get their finances in order.” Thanks for the laugh. XD

Chris H
Chris H
4 years 3 months ago
Personally, I believe it is whatever you want to afford. If you only making 60k a year, but want to buy a ring that is 8k, that is a choice you make and it will take you longer to save for it. I think as long as you can pay cash for it and you buy a rider for your insurance to cover it, you can buy as big as a ring as you want. This same question about cost of rings can be switched and rewritten as “how much should one spend on a car/clothes/house/etc.” and the answer really… Read more »
Hungry Hippo
Hungry Hippo
4 years 3 months ago
I agree with Chris H: whatever you can afford. My husband and I shopped for my ring together (I only wear 1 ring and it’s engagement-style, not a wedding band), and I talked him out of a flashier one for something that fit our budget and lifestyle. Money was tight then, and was about to become tighter so we have to be reasonable. My ring cost $1500 (in 2008). I love my ring and the commitment it symbolizes, and never take it off–unless I’m doing something like making meatballs or kneading bread dough. Every so often I think it would… Read more »
jon
4 years 3 months ago

“This same question about cost of rings can be switched and rewritten as “how much should one spend on a car/clothes/house/etc.” and the answer really isn’t much different. ”

Actually, the big difference in this question is that it deals more specifically with a romantic relationship between man and woman. The other material things are more of an individual thing.

Jessica
4 years 3 months ago
I think there’s two main factors: -What does your significant other expect -What can you afford If you don’t know what your significant other expects, have a conversation about it. Seriously. It doesn’t mean you have to go ring shopping together, but if you’ve talked about wanting to get married in the future, s/he has thought about this. In my case, my grandmother’s engagement ring was up for grabs in the family, and I really wanted it. My now-husband got the ring from my mom and spent a few hundred dollars on a new setting for the diamond because the… Read more »
Jeff Haines
Jeff Haines
4 years 3 months ago
I think the two points you mentioned here are key. My wife had a lot of expectations bottled up around her engagement ring, and I think that is true for a lot of women: – Finally receiving a gift they have likely anticipated their whole lives (and have probably already envisioned very specifically) – May wear it for the remaining duration of their lives–what will others think of it when she announces engagement/what will they think in thirty years – From what I’ve seen, for some women the price, size, quality, cut, number of stones, setting, etc. compared with the… Read more »
Meghan Williams
Meghan Williams
4 years 3 months ago

Jessica and Jeff have got it: the most important thing is getting everyone’s expectations lined up. That means what does the woman want in the one piece of jewelry she’s assuming she’s going to wear every day for the rest of her life? What kind of ring did the man envision buying his bride to be? So as romantic as the idea of a surprise ring is, its much better to have very direct conversations before hand.

After all, this is the first purchase of their lives together, so it deserve some attention.

Stacy McKenna
Stacy McKenna
4 years 3 months ago

Exactly this.

We bought rings designed the way we wanted them to look. They were inexpensive compared to most general “rules” about ring costs. But they are exactly what we wanted.

A fiance who wants to be surprised by her ring is a more troublesome issue to solve.

Susan
Susan
4 years 3 months ago

I totally agree with you, Jessica. And my son did the same thing with my mother’s diamond for his sweetheart. They were juniors in college. Two years later, they have automated their money (thanks to the IWTYTBR book I gave them) and due to their decision to continue living in their tiny student apartment even after he got a great job, they have saved enough for a down payment on a great house. I am thrilled to have a son and daughter-in-law who (IMHO) have their priorities correct.

liss
liss
4 years 3 months ago

Wish there was a “like” option for these comments. I think Jeff Haines does a really good job of explaining the myriad of factors that goes into getting a ring.

John C
John C
4 years 3 months ago
The general rule of thumb is that you should spend 2.5x your monthly salary on a ring. But it really depends on a lot of variables. It depends on the (possible) wife’s expectations, your actual financial situation, what you would be comfortable with, amond others. And when I say, ‘what you would be comfortable with’, it may be that you would want to give a bigger ring than you ideally should for various reasons. Myself, I couldn’t see spending a ton of money on a ring, I’d rather give something simple and elegant and spending more money on a down… Read more »
Rob
Rob
4 years 3 months ago
The 2.5 rule is total BS IMHO. It’s a guideline set by the diamond marketers. 2.5 MONTHS salary for a ring? That’s like a car…but for a ring. I spent less than .5 months salary on a ring. I found a jewelry design I really liked and had it custom designed based on an idea I had specific to our relationship so that it was very meaningful (this counted WAY more than stock-but-expensive in my case, and I suspect in many cases thought trumps dollars), went with a red stone instead of a diamond, had a platinum setting…all without breaking… Read more »
Hamed
Hamed
4 years 3 months ago

In keeping with the spirit of I Will Teach… here are the HONEST guidelines for what a man should spend on an engagement ring (based on the criteria I used when buying one):

1. Enough to buy a ring that is about as big and shiny as her friends’ rings;
2. About 50% more than you can genuinely afford.

If you’re tempted to use other criteria: think again.

(The exception to that is if you have a very nice family heirloom that you can give as an engagement ring. Emotional AND thrifty, which is a rare combo.)

DS
DS
4 years 3 months ago
Hamed I totally agree! I didn’t have any preconceived notions of rings or diamonds when I got engaged so the “about the same as her friends have” was something my husband used in his selection. I always liked emeralds was all I told my husband. We had moderately high incomes at the time but are both working full time in an industry where we can expect them to grow over time so stretching to about 50% more than you can genuinely afford and incurring some debt for the engagement ring was ok for us. God willing it will be with… Read more »
les
les
4 years 3 months ago
Hamed, I worry about the answer that you have given because I see these things daily. I live close to 2 big universities and there are jewelry shops EVERYWHERE! My wife and I just celebrated our 6th anniversary and we spent $800 on her wedding set. I have a young friend getting married next month, and despite any council I could share with him he purchased a $4500 wedding set and a matching $2200 band for himself. He did thins because that was her expectation to be able to compete with her friends in sparkle and size. This would be… Read more »
Michael
Michael
4 years 3 months ago
I agree with Hamed and I did the same thing. I wanted to get something that made her stand out to everyone else the way she stands out to me (man, that’s super corny – another crass way to say it is “I wanted her to have the biggest rock in the room”). In the end, though, the only reason I went out of my budget was because I was able to get 0% financing and pay it off before that expired. However, I would tweak #2 slightly: 2) About 50% more than you were willing to spend, but not… Read more »
david
4 years 3 months ago
When we got engaged, I was prepared to spend ‘as much a she needed me to spend’. I took her with me to pick out the ring. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted when she turned her nose up at diamonds altogether. She only wanted a simple band without a stone. You see my wife did not grow up in America. In her country, all that is expected is matching bands. (she comes from a nation that is considered an economic powerhouse in the western world). Diamonds are not a necessity at all. She chose her own without any prompting… Read more »
James
James
4 years 3 months ago
Question #1: What does your fiancee-to-be like? [I went ring shopping with my wife-to-be and she actually picked out a less expensive ring because she liked the smaller diamond. Apparently size doesn’t matter to her. 🙂 Also, does she want an engagement ring/wedding ring set that works together or does she want an engagement ring and a simple wedding band is something that factors into everything.] Question #2: What is your budget? [I would suggest paying cash for a ring. And how much you spend on it is a completely personal decision.] I made the choice to return to my… Read more »
Katrina
Katrina
4 years 3 months ago

James, your tale of how you bought the rings brought a smile to my face. When my husband and I were married, our venue was a greenhouse where I had volunteered in younger days. And our officiant was a fellow volunteer I had worked with. You brought back some very fond memories for me, and your story serves as a good reminder that lifelong memories can be made regardless of the dollar figure you spend (or don’t) on “The Big Day”.

Meg
Meg
4 years 3 months ago
I didn’t get an engagement ring because we had no money when we got married, and what we didn’t have needed to go toward immigration expenses. Once my husband is naturalized, I’ve told him I want a nice ring. I joked that we should spend on it what we spent on his immigration (about $12k). Realistically, I think we’ll probably spend the money to get my great grandmother’s ring remade for me, plus whatever it costs for a nice matching wedding ring that didn’t cost $20 like my current one. When I was engaged, a lot of people didn’t believe… Read more »
Suzie
Suzie
4 years 3 months ago

Partly we bought a ring to look ‘real’ to immigration. I do sometimes think he got the better end of the deal – he spends $1200 on a ring, I spend something ridiculous on his visa fees and citizenship. Oh well, I’m always going to earn more than him!

Chris
Chris
4 years 3 months ago

It’s not how much you spend, it’s how much better the ring looks when compared to the engagement rings that all of her friends get!

In all seriousness, this is the wrong way to look at the question. It isn’t about setting a dollar figure and then hitting that; it’s about getting what you want and using money as a means to that end.

Jessica Rudder
4 years 3 months ago
What should someone spend? Should seems like a very weighted word. People are told to spend between 2 and 3 months worth of salary (of course, they’re told that by the same industry that’s selling them the rings, so, I’m not certain why that’s considered ‘gospel’). My husband spent 2 months salary on my ring, but, he was working at Starbucks at the time so this was under $1000. He also had over $30,000 in savings at the time and was able to pay for the whole thing in cash. Perhaps some other girls would have been angry he didn’t… Read more »
Wintermute
4 years 3 months ago
In the US (at least, the part I’m from) the general rule of thumb is that you pay approximately 2.5x your monthly salary on an engagement ring. From the other comments, it looks like this is probably still the norm. Other factors obviously go into it, like savings, expectations from the soon-to-be fiance, cultural norms, etc. It also doesn’t hurt to know her preference in cut ahead of time 😉 When I went ring shopping 14 years ago (ironically, it woulda been about to the day, as I got engaged on the 19th), I went in knowing what cut I… Read more »
EM
EM
4 years 3 months ago

I like almost all the responses so far. People are right, it needs to fit in the budget, period. And most women appreciate thoughtfulness over expense. Who care if it cost 2 months salary if you can’t pay the bills. But if it cost 1/2 a months salary and she loves it, then that is all that matters.

Kara
Kara
4 years 3 months ago
ASK HER what she wants attached to her hand for the rest of her life. I was happy with matching bands (seriously) because I’m a clutz and manage to scratch the bejeezus out of myself and everyone around me with a sharp ring. But we got a big rock, because he likes seeing it on me. I’m happy because he’s happy. Everybody won because we compared our expectations and went with the greatest satisfaction solution. Also, we have comic relief when my ring attacks him randomly. Who wants to live with even a little bit of resentment every single day?… Read more »
Mark
Mark
4 years 3 months ago
Well I can give several answers to this one. We wed 23 years ago. I was a geology student at the time we got engaged and remarked at how expensive a bit of metal and some grit was… yeah that was a good comment! 😀 I’m UK based and have never heard the 2.5x monthly wage line – it’s “a month’s salary” over here… but I spent more than that as I was a student. 🙂 I’ve got a different line now that I am a wedding photographer – you should spend more on your wedding photography than on the… Read more »
Henry
Henry
4 years 3 months ago
The Atlantic article was great, I read it the first time you shared it. I wish I’d known that when I was looking for a ring (We would have ring-shopped at a pawn store!). I have a frugal wife with simple tastes and I spent about two weeks worth of income on a platinum band, 3/4 carat diamand. I didn’t read your divorce rate article yet, but anecdotally, I’d say the larger the ring insisted upon by the wife, the greater the likelyhood of divorce. When you want things solely to impress others, you’ll never be satisfied with life and… Read more »
Joe
4 years 3 months ago
This is the best comment so far. I also spent way less than 2.5 months salary on my wife’s engagement ring because even though I was making a lot of money at the time, my wife and I both agreed that there were better things we could do with that money, like pay for our own wedding and go to Brazil on our honeymoon, for instance. One thing I would add is that over the long term, the proposal story is more important than the ring, so make it romantic. I randomly popped the question on Xmas eve, without a… Read more »
K00kyKelly
4 years 3 months ago

A good solution for people who are marrying someone with very specific tastes is to pop the question with some kind of symbolic ring. Pick out something affordable or that holds special meaning and use that to pop the question. Having a ring to show off right away – even if it is just a placeholder – means a lot. Another option is to buy a ring from a jeweler you already know and trust. Then let your now fiance trade it in for the dream ring.

Brian
Brian
4 years 3 months ago

Henry, I fully agree with you. If she “want’s things solely to impress othres” you are in for future trouble in the relationship. Just say no to some other ‘like the Jones’s’ want or loose your job and see what happens..

Michal Palczewski
Michal Palczewski
4 years 3 months ago

One should educate themselves and read stuff like that article you sent. Read about blood diamonds and what not(if you care about that sort of thing). Read until you feel educated enough about the purchase you are going to make. Whatever amount you feel is right after that is probably the right amount.

Kelly
Kelly
4 years 3 months ago
This is a really interesting post, Ramit. Ultimately, like everyone else has implied or stated outright, it’s a highly individual thing and has to depend on all the factors you listed. But the most important thing to remember is that buying an engagement ring is a gift, and no one (ideally) knows your fiancee like you do. Have a conversation with her (not being able to do that doesn’t bode well for your communications skills going into a marriage). While I understand that I am the exception rather than the rule in this regard, I would have been horrified if… Read more »
Ray G
Ray G
4 years 3 months ago
I agree. The actual act of giving a ring at all is more significant than the price of the ring. Giving a ring signifies the willingness to take on the cost, not of a ring, but of marriage itself. Moving in together and putting both of your junk (material, financial, emotional, all of it!) under one roof is no small sacrifice, and certainly not one to be taken lightly, or done on a whim. I do think that it can be good to spend more on a ring than you would on a standard impulse buy, but that doesn’t mean… Read more »
Shanna Mann
4 years 3 months ago

Yeah. Conscious spending is a big deal to me, too. My first wedding ring was just a band, and I was fine with that. If I get married again, though *and we have money to burn* I’ve always wanted a really nice emerald ring, and a wedding is a good excuse to get one. If I can get a vintage one at an estate sale, so much the better.

Ben
Ben
4 years 3 months ago
One should spend what they’re comfortable with on a ring they’re happy presenting. This is an individual decision – and I made it earlier this year. I’d been saving up for a long time, so I had $5,000 as my ceiling. Money is relative and I’m fortunate to be in a place where I had such a budget. I sat down with my semi-wife-to-be and discussed diamond alternatives. We also talked about colored stones. After several discussions, nights looking at rings, and a few shop visits, I knew full well that I could “get away” with spending as little as… Read more »
Alex
Alex
4 years 3 months ago
I looked at this from a logical angle. 1. I love (now my wife) this person 2. How much am I willing to risk to show her my love 3. What would she like When we got engaged I know it would be a while ( 4 years ) before we got married. We both were graduating from Undergrad and about to start professional school and work together. To my point (1) I loved and still love her with all my soul, but again poor college student didn’t have the capital to put that in a ring. So to my… Read more »
Emily
Emily
4 years 3 months ago
This is the kind of question that has no right answer. It is just very personal. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell what we did when we were about to get engaged. Recent graduates, buying our first house (at the time we were moving in together. The engagement was more of a comforting msg to my parents than something I felt necessary) and without many assets. At some point, I told him that, if I was going to wear the ring for the rest of my life maybe we should go window shopping together to… Read more »
Cat
Cat
4 years 3 months ago

I really like Emily’s answer!
I was engaged in 1984. And we are still happily married 🙂
I never cared for jewelry, but I loved music.
So my fiance bought me one of the first CD players, about $500 at that time which was almost one month net salary for him… With a great CD: Pink Floyd, Dark side of the moon.

It was a fantastic surprise and I loved it! It also meant that he knew me and knew my values.

Not all girls like a ring… Thank God for diversity!

Thomas Edwards
4 years 3 months ago
Having recently gone through the process (proposed on Christmas Eve), I can say it depends on the relationship and the expectations that follow. I spent much more than “what people would tell you,” and it was well worth it — I WANTED to do it. For me, I came down to what I thought she’d love that wouldn’t destroy my bank account. She also loves cocktail rings, so I ended up getting her something custom. But here’s the interesting thing: we’ve recently had to get it resized and my mother decided to loan her engagement ring in the meantime, which… Read more »
Travis
Travis
4 years 3 months ago
What is the purpose of the ring and of marriage? A marriage is not made or broken by the ring itself but rather the individuals who are uniting together. That being said the marketing behind the necessity of needing a ring is nothing short of brilliant. De beers, from what I can see, is the genius behind the slogan “Diamonds are forever” and the idea that a ring should cost 2-3 times your monthly salary…and they have been very successful with making this stick in our minds. The ring buying process is multifactorial and involves much more than simple economics.… Read more »
Thomas Edwards
4 years 3 months ago
By the way, can we also talk about how jewelers make out with BILLIONS of dollars off of the ignorance of people when it comes to buying diamonds? Most guys hate jewelry so buying something like this is not only a pain, but also a one-time thing (ideally) and not many of them will put in the time to figure out exactly what the process is. That’s where jewelers take advantage and can gut your wallet. I did a crap ton of research before buying the ring (over a year) and even with all that knowledge, it still was hard… Read more »
Travis
Travis
4 years 3 months ago
Gutting the wallet isn’t just about buying wedding rings but about anything to do with jewelry. For example I lost a lot of weight ~65lbs and my ring became way way too big and wanted to size it down. I talked with several different jewelers who stated it couldn’t be resized and buy a new ring or buy a new ring and we will put it inside your existing ring. Either way estimates where in the $400-$1,000 dollar range. ~ 3 weeks ago on a whim I asked a small watch/jewelry repair shop about resizing it. They took ~ 2… Read more »
Amy
Amy
4 years 3 months ago

My husband and I split the cost, both did our homework on buying the diamonds, and paid cash. We were both in grad school, making next to nothing, so it made sense to split the bill.

I wanted a non-traditional ring anyway, and we ended up with something I truly love. We were making about 35K combined, and spent $1800 on the ring and warranty.

We’re not perfect about money, but this felt like such a big deal at the time that we tried to do it the best way we know how.

Kimberley Mosher
4 years 3 months ago
I don’t know what the typical “rule of thumb” is, and I don’t really care. I do care about symbolism and for me, being female, I would like a ring, but only if it was a mutual financial decision between me and my husband-to-be. The way I see it, every purchase made represents opportunity cost, and I’d want to put our (see, that’s a joint decision) dollars to something meaningful without compromising other things. Heck, I’d take a nice vacation, a down payment on a house, or just topping up RRSPs (I’m Canadian) before I’d take a ring. It’s about… Read more »
Tom Rose
4 years 3 months ago

The smallest amount that will make the woman happy. I know my wife wanted something to show her friends, and I knew she was really traditional and would want a legit diamond. I was therefore screwed. I spent about $4k.

If I could have gotten away with less, I would have. Moissanite is a much cooler stone AND it costs less. If I were buying something for myself, or a less traditional woman, there’s no question that’s what I would get.

Sam
Sam
4 years 3 months ago
I truly WISH I could say money is not an issue, and the point of the engagement ring is to make the significant other feel happy and feel special. This is supposed to be the only time this will ever happen, even if you spend lets say $10k, if you’re married for 50 years that’s just $200 a year. However, we don’t all have $10k to spend so it really depends on your partner. True love does not depend on how much a ring is. Even as I type this I feel like cringing inside because I know so many… Read more »
A
A
4 years 3 months ago
I don’t think there’s really any “should” about it. It all depends on a) what you can afford, and b) what the expectations are of both people involved. If you’re marrying someone who expects an engagement ring to cost $2k and you get her a $500 ring, there are probably going to be problems. Conversely, if you’re marrying someone who wants a $50 ring or no ring at all and just a wedding band later and you buy her a $2k ring, there are also probably going to be problems. But if you go into serious debt to buy a… Read more »
Debi
4 years 3 months ago
As many have said, it depends on several factors with the key factors being what can be afforded and expectations of the receiving partner. My “love language” is NOT gifts and I don’t need to show off anything (except my wonderful boyfriend). I’ve found some rings that I really liked for less than $100. It takes my boyfriend hours to pick out cards for me as they have to say “just the right thing” — he means all the stuff the cards say and THAT is a big deal because they DO speak from his heart. We have had the… Read more »
Sally
Sally
4 years 3 months ago
Totally depends on the woman. Even though I was not a woman who dreamt all her life about getting married, the engagement became an important demonstration to me that he valued our relationship enough to do the planning to finance a ring of some substance. I don’t know and don’t really care what he spent, but understanding that he spent a long time making sure he was getting me something he would be proud to show off, while doing it in a financially responsible way, was so much more valuable to me than any number! I never thought a ring… Read more »
Tyler F
Tyler F
4 years 3 months ago

I find it interesting that some people talk communication and expectations, while others cite a “rule” in society. I definitely think short- and long-term happiness are much more likely if you follow the advice of the former.

Ivan
Ivan
4 years 3 months ago
I spent 30% of my monthly income at the moment of proposal on the ring (it wasn’t a lot due to my career only starting back then). I wanted it to be white gold as she likes it most and to have a decent diamond, so I went for the one that was within my budget. I’m from Russia, btw, we do not have your tradition of spending multiple salaries on an engagement ring, so my decision was less dictated by the tradition and more by willingness to find the compromise between the looks and the emotion from the ring… Read more »
Phillip G
Phillip G
4 years 3 months ago

I fall somewhere between “whatever she wants” and “what I can afford”. I took my girlfriend out ring shopping and she picked out the one she wanted. I looked at the price, thought “I can easily afford that” and we left. Bought it the next day, setting up the proposal now. Marriage is a partnership, so the ring and how much to spend on it should be a joint decision.

Ujjwal Trivedi
4 years 3 months ago

Metaphorically – It is like asking “How much time should one spend in the Toilet?”
– First you gotta get in and initiate the process and negotiate satisfaction level
– Secondly, you got a keep an eye on how much Paper you have …

Simple as that! – ( if you get the metaphor, of course)

Jules Cox
Jules Cox
4 years 3 months ago

Everyone has some points here. Do educate yourself on assessing diamonds before you shop for one, and get a jewelers loop.

Points I strongly agree with: Ask her input. Spend what you can afford and are comfortable with, not necessarily a preset number, like 2.5x your monthly salary. (Mine was 1/2 my husband’s monthly salary, $1600.) It is a personal gift, so the only really important factors are her happiness and your comfort with the price.

Karolyn
Karolyn
4 years 3 months ago
I grew up in the good ole US of A but have never really understood the desire to get an engagement ring. I like other nice material things- shoes, clothes, furniture, bags- I even like jewelry in general- but I guess I’m not a jewel kinda girl. Also, why does only the woman get something? Why doesn’t the guy get a gift? And doesn’t everyone know already about the crazy De Beers cartel/monopoly by now? Instead of buying a ring, we saved up and took off for six weeks in Southeast Asia. Wasn’t planned (by me) as an engagement trip… Read more »
Kate
Kate
4 years 3 months ago

You guys are so cool. That’s awesome. I really want a beautiful ring someday but if that were on the table, I would be persuaded to skip on the ring.

Crystal
Crystal
4 years 3 months ago

My personal answer is: NOTHING! I inherited a gorgeous heirloom diamond from my grandmother. If he tries to give me anything else, he’s crazy. If you need something to offer during the proposal, do it with the wedding band that you’ll eventually have to buy anyway.

griff
griff
4 years 3 months ago
Perspective from a girl who hopes to get engaged soon: The one thing I’ve made perfectly clear is that I want an antique. I don’t care for the new styles and I love old things, and my boyfriend is fully aware of this. I’m also smallish, and a big stone would look ridiculous on me! (lucky him, huh?) We’ve discussed styles and price point, and have figured out that it’s easy enough to find a 1/2-carat, 100-or-so-year-old ring for well under $1500. I do think it’s important to cost a bit beyond what you would pay for a regular gift,… Read more »
Marilyn
Marilyn
4 years 3 months ago

On “The Office” I think he spent 2.5 years salary.

Discussion with your fiance is the most important part, including how it’s gonna get paid for.

Allen
Allen
4 years 3 months ago
I ended up spending around $9k on the ring for my wife, so around 1.8x month’s salary at the time. I spent months doing research, went to stores, finally ended up using a site that one of my friends ordered his fiancee’s ring on (won’t say which so I don’t seem like a shill). She had previously said things like “I don’t know if I really want a ring or if I want a diamond” and what not. I knew her well enough to know that she would like it once it was on her finger. And she loves the… Read more »
Alistair
Alistair
4 years 3 months ago
I LOVE this question 😉 when I started thinking about buying my future fiance a ring I did what any sane geek does… research the shit out of the market! I came across many of the articles you highlighted in this post, found alternatives to diamonds, discovered the history of engagement rings and the relative newness of DIAMONDS as engagement rings and where the notion of X times the guy’s monthly salary (pre or post tax? 1x? 2x? 2x?) and after a lot of head spinning and anger, I came to the following conclusion: I wasn’t prepared to start a… Read more »
Sarah
4 years 3 months ago
I’m a lesbian and engaged to another woman. We had a frank discussion of what our values were around engagement rings. We decided that between $500 and $1000 was a good range for us based on what we earned and what we thought was reasonable for us. It helped that neither one of us wanted a diamond, and neither one of us wanted to wear our rings full time post getting married (for us, that’s what wedding rings are for). We both love our rings, and I feel great about what we spent. Really the important thing to us was… Read more »
Kurt M
Kurt M
4 years 3 months ago

I’ll spend what it costs to get the ring she likes. If she’s hung up on making sure it costs at least X number of dollars then I don’t want to marry her. It’s a symbol of commitment, not an investment portfolio. “Investing” a higher dollar amount in a ring isn’t going to result in a better marriage.

Tiffany
Tiffany
4 years 3 months ago
I think it’s ridiculous to spend lots of money on something that is supposed to be “symbolic” and has no practical use. Quite frankly, I would have been pissed if he spent more than $500 on the engagement/wedding band set. We shopped together and found a beautiful sterling silver/sapphire set that I adore to this day. The pressure on dudes to buy the “right” ring and spend the “right” amount of money is unfair. Ladies, be happy with what you get and lose the “princess” state of mind. There are more important things in life… and waaaaay cooler things to… Read more »
asraidevin
4 years 3 months ago

We spent less than $500 on our entire wedding, including dress and rings.
There is no should on an engagement ring, as with any other gift given. Or anything expense. How much should I spend on at TV? Well depends alot. If you are with the right person he will either know or be able to ask what you expect from this ritual gift giving in making a promise that someday you will legally bind yourself to another person.

Cory Kaufman-Schofield
4 years 3 months ago
Measuring how much to spend on an engagement ring based on income without considering debt and how much you’ve already saved / are saving is ridiculous. If I had to give an answer, I’d say pay as much or as little as you want, as long as you pay in cash. (Balance transfers and the like don’t count!) Also, if you’re really concerned about the ‘value’ of the ring (the only thing that *really* matter is how your wife values it, but anyways: ) buy an antique ring. They have character, they’re unique, and they cost much less than an… Read more »
Alistair
Alistair
4 years 3 months ago

As an aside, a friend of my wife’s takes the salary multiple to the extreme. whenever her husband gets a promotion, she damands a new engagement ring to match the new salary (1 month, 2 months? who knows…) and adds the outgoing one to a jewelry box with all her previous e-rings…

well if that’s what makes you happy, each to their own!

Susan
Susan
4 years 3 months ago
When it comes to an engagement ring, simple rule, buy the best you can afford and make a genuine effort to be able to afford as much as possible. I honestly, genuinely wouldn’t care if it cost $10 or $10,000 as long as I knew it was done in the spirit of giving me the best they could possibly give. I WOULD care if it cost $10 if he bought a video game the same day for $60, and I WOULD care if it cost $10,000 if he went into debt to get it or if it was to impress/compete… Read more »
Tom
Tom
4 years 3 months ago
LMAO at the ‘2.5x monthly salary rule of thumb’ answers. That’s just diamond-company propaganda. Spend what you want, what you’re comfortable with. Some of my Indian friends get $10-20k cars for dowries, and that’s common. Guys, it’s insane to let someone else tell you what to spend on a ring. If you think it’s a good idea, spend what you want. But I’m not financially masochistic, so I won’t be dropping $2.5 k nor 2.5x monthly salary on the Engagement ring. Keep in mind, that’s not even the marriage ring. Sheesh. Look at the bozo that gave whichever Kardashian the… Read more »
Laura
4 years 3 months ago

I realize this may sound like sort of a cop-out but a man should spend WHAT HE CAN AFFORD. I define what he can afford as what he can reasonably pay based on his income (and his other spending and saving habits). Personally, my husband took a line of credit and repaid it within 90 days. Some people may eschew debt, in that case I would say they should spend what they can comfortably save in cash. I don’t think there’s a hard and fast number, but it certainly shouldn’t be a disproportionate amount of one’s income.

Stephen
Stephen
4 years 3 months ago
I went through this last year, and got to apply some IWTYTBR principles that saved me some money and made her super happy. I also learned some of the same things Thomas did (price jumps once you go from .99 carat to 1.0, and size differences in that range that are less than .2 carats are invisible unless you put them side-by-side, color & clarity have similar differentiating features that affect cost There are a lot of these things). I got my fiancée very involved in the process, what she liked, what she didn’t like, what she cared about, what… Read more »
carol windfuhr
4 years 3 months ago

I think it’s up to the man … and woman 😉 It also surely depends on the income, and how important the ring is to both involved.
A fine ring can be inherited, bought, designed, whatever … anyway, it is not the ring that counts, it is the bond.
Flashy rings can be cool, and some people need them, like others want flashy cars. Again, if you’ve got the money, it is a nice symbol of status 😉 and if not, you gotta be creative search maybe a bit longer for the perfect solution, like with clothes …

Chris
Chris
4 years 3 months ago

I think the rule of ‘2x the man’s monthly salary’ is a good starting point. But how much money the woman makes matters as well – remember, she’s the one who’s going to be wearing it and showing it off. If she is making $100k/yr and wearing a $500 ring, it won’t fit people’s expectations.

Hell yea women want an engagement ring. It’s jewelry, very nice, expensive jewelry. Women love jewelry, and they really love showing off very nice jewelry. Of course some girls don’t care, but they are weird and uncommon.

I’m sure this varies by culture though.

daniel
daniel
4 years 3 months ago
I bought an engagement ring about five years ago. I did research about what I should spend. The trusty internet yielded that the “generally accepted” range (aka, pushed by jewelers) is somewhere in the 2x-3x monthly salary. I asked at three jewelers (one national chain, one regional chain, one single store) and none of them knew if that was supposed to be gross or net. That’s a pretty big difference and I took it to mean that no one really had any idea and it was some marketing ploy. I think I ended up spending about 2x net wages, but… Read more »
Lily
Lily
4 years 3 months ago
2.5x your monthly salary winds up being a big chunk of your annual income! Maybe 2.5x your disposable monthly income would be a better metric! Anyway, 2.5x my boyfriend’s salary before taxes would be almost $30,000, which IMHO is far too much for us to spend on a ring! I just want a beautiful piece of jewelry that we both love and that I will be happy about every time I look at it. I’m guessing about $11k will be spent – a little over a month of his salary – and he has it in savings. And for what… Read more »
Brandy Lawson
Brandy Lawson
4 years 3 months ago
Hmmm…. what should a man “spend?” He should spend the time to figure out what the partner for the rest of his life wants. He should spend the effort to do some research, harness expertise and figure out his part of the equation. When it comes to actual dollars, that part will work itself out if the other upfront “spending” has taken place. For me, I’ve never been much of a diamond girl and knew I wanted something unique and a Montana sapphire since those come from the same place I do. When my boyfriend at the time & I… Read more »
Rick
Rick
4 years 3 months ago

Answer: as much as she wants you to spend.

Vicki
Vicki
4 years 3 months ago
I went on a blind date once with a guy who bragged how he spend over $30,000 on his ex-girlfriend’s engagement ring, then dumped her when he found out she had been lying to him about her religious affiliation (he was a Lebanese Catholic and she turned out to be a Muslim). It was weird because he’s bragging the whole time what a big spender he was, but then he seemed upset that my Coca Cola he paid for at Panera was about $3. Very odd guy. Very odd, mobbed-up, Detroit dude with some weird personality problems. There was no… Read more »
Nick
Nick
4 years 3 months ago

The correct answer is $0, why would a man get married in the first place.

Second why is the man expected to shell out thousands for the woman’s ring however the men’s ring is a gold band that cost a few hundred at most. Sounds like a bad deal to me.

Happily never married..bring on the hate.

Anne
Anne
4 years 3 months ago
Love this discussion. As a woman getting married in exactly 30 days- this is my input. 1. Do what makes her happy. I wanted something big and shiny and didn’t want to spend a fortune so I ended up with a gorgeous white topaz that looks just like a diamond. It’s big and flashy like I wanted, and we paid around $500 (but it easily looks like a $5000 ring). 2. Unless you like getting screwed steer clear of mall jewelers. The quality of the stones you get for the money is disgraceful. If you can find a local jeweler… Read more »
Jim
Jim
4 years 3 months ago
Got married last year, so I went through this process recently. I just want to echo the sentiment that it’s more important to have a conversation and understand her expectations. For some, like my wife, the style and cut are much more important than the price tag. Thankfully for my pocket book, she has tiny hands that would make a large rock look very silly. I ended up picking out a beautiful, smaller diamond, with a unique band style (assymetric curves ftw), that cost a little less than a month’s salary. I actually went in planning to spend more than… Read more »
jess roxx
jess roxx
4 years 3 months ago
i don’t believe in engagement rings. i recognize they exist, and maybe what i should be saying is that i don’t support the engagement ring industry, although i’m not sure that exists. blood diamonds and horrific mining (for stones and metals) conditions aside, here’s why i’m not into engagement rings: -they objectify women (acting as a place holder or reservation on a human being, or as a decoration of one’s property) -they’re totally one-sided (why don’t dudes get ’em?) -they are materialistic status symbols (let’s be honest, people judge women and their fiancees by how shmancy the engagement ring is)… Read more »
Tiffany
Tiffany
4 years 3 months ago

Amen, sister!

Karolyn
Karolyn
4 years 3 months ago

Aha! I guess I found my peeps, Tiffany & Jess 🙂

susan
susan
4 years 3 months ago

+1 on all of this Jess. Agreed. All though I have to admit, the objectifying women thing, I get it and agree and I know this is odd, but I don’t wear any jewelry ever. Like ever ever. I’ve always said I’ll never wear any ring except my engagement and wedding ring. Maybe I’m party to my own objectification, but I like keeping that placeholder for someone…born in the wrong century I think.

sarah
sarah
4 years 3 months ago

THANK YOU. I’m reasonably confident that in a few decades, engagement rings will carry some sexist stigma… as, I think, they should.

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 3 months ago
I would think no more than 2 months salary. I think my husband spent 1-1.5 months salary and we shopped for it together (well, the wrap…he knew the diamond cut I preferred so got the engagement ring himself). BUT, I will say, being young and surrounded by friends getting engaged, etc it is quite easy to think that the perfect diamond and ring are essential. After a few years, I was of the opinion that a nice simple band (maybe etched nicely) would suffice and also not get caught on all manner of clothes and such. If I had a… Read more »
Diane
Diane
4 years 3 months ago
My husband spent $3,100 on mine, 7 years ago, back when we were broke fresh out of college. He found a jeweler that he liked and trusted early in our relationship (6 years by the time he was ready to do engagement ring shopping). He looked at hundreds of rings, settings and diamonds before deciding none fit what he wanted to give me. Mind you, he took me twice to look and get ideas from me, and I had pointed out a simple, 1/2 carat princess cut diamond with two 1/5 carat trillion cut diamonds flanking it on a simple… Read more »
Greg
Greg
4 years 3 months ago
I proposed about 8 months ago. Leading up to the proposal I tried to “casually” figure out what types of rings she liked (cut, layout, etc.). I wanted the proposal to be a surprise so ring shopping was out of the question. I don’t think shopping for the engagement ring together is all that romantic…too much like a going to the hardware store and picking out appliances. During our chat sessions beforehand a common phrase that came from her was “I want to be surprised”. I did a lot of research on the internet about all the C’s and what… Read more »
shannon
shannon
4 years 3 months ago
To be honest, I think you should spend as little as possible to buy a meaningful object (I say this as a custom jeweler, btw). Decide what would be most meaningful to your partner (their input is vital in this!) and shop accordingly. Do a lot of research (i.e. talk to people who actually make jewelry, peruse catalogs), and find the best price for what you intend to purchase. That’s seriously all there is to it. It’s a major purchase, even though it’s very sentimental, it should be carefully considered and treated like any other major purchase.
Lynn
Lynn
4 years 3 months ago

A little follow-up…when we got engaged I was finishing grad school and he was getting ready to go. I knew we couldn’t afford anything too terribly expensive, so was happy one of the diamond cuts I preferred actually is shallow and has a large surface area on top so my slightly less than .5 carat marquis cut looked as big or bigger than a friends 1.0 carat round and we spent a lot less. Yes, I was sucked into the marketing of wanting a glitzy diamond while trying to keep my head about it.

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 3 months ago
This is good question, indeed. Let me first state – I am of the opinion that the amount of money spent on your ring, in no way dictates how much your significant other values your relationship or you as a person. I think couples tend to get too engrossed in their emotions when this topic arises. I was engaged to another man before I was married to my present husband. He was finishing law-school and I hated the idea of him spending too much on a ring. I INSISTED that he purchase a cubic zirconia (sp?) since no one would… Read more »
Erin
Erin
4 years 3 months ago
I like Chris H’s response…you CAN switch out “how much should you spend on_____” (insert home, pets, cars, jewelry, clothing, food, bars, college tuition). Any material thing is subject to that question, some (like pets, engagement rings, and homes) are subject to more scrutiny and judgement than others. I mean, there’s lots of people out there who will tell you not to go to grad school, college, not to waste money on a home, to put your dog down the minute it’s sick. There’s so many people telling you how to spend your money, you really need to block it… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 3 months ago
The “should” in that question is really the killer. You get told your whole life that the engagement ring is the most important symbol of your most important relationship. If you’re a woman, you get judged based on how good the ring was (which might mean big, but it also could mean tasteful or personal or something else, depending on your community). If you’re a guy, you get judged on how much money you spent or how much time you put in. Plus, we have this romantic notion of the ring as a surprise gift. That’s the part that really… Read more »
Ellen
Ellen
4 years 3 months ago
I think there is a larger purpose to having an engagement ring be a big purchase (big is obviously a relative term based on income). It should encourage the purchaser to go through a thought process that is valuable for the relationship and stability of the future marriage. 1) Would she want an engagement ring and if so, would she want to pick it out herself? If you know her well enough to propose, you should have a pretty good idea on this. 2) What kind of ring would she want? This may involve talking to her friends and family… Read more »
Jana
Jana
4 years 3 months ago
Having some creative hobbies, I like my hands and fingers free and ready for action 🙂 Any ring on my finger feels like an obstacle and makes it very difficult for me to understand that some people wear those things permanently. Like every woman, I do like to dress up occasionally, which might even involve a ring, but then I’m happy to take it off. So, should a man offer me a £2000 engagement ring, I would probably do my best to 1/ show him my appreciation 2/ try to convince him that a basic £20 ring would do for… Read more »
steph
steph
4 years 3 months ago

Coming from another country and a rather traditionnal family. The ring will actually be paid for by my bf’s family and we are both working, independent, in our late twenties and with plenty of savings.
Of course, we discussed what we wanted and what we found reasonnable(an estimate of the budget) between us, but his family is responsible for the ring and I will not know the exact price.
Also, it will not be a diamond but a colored stone because I just find them prettier.

Lisa
4 years 3 months ago
So, let’s look at an engagement ring as a signaling mechanism. The amount you should spend depends on the signal you want to be There are two signals to consider: the signal the ring purchaser is sending to the recipient, and the signal the wearer it is sending. Does the wearer care if it’s a real diamond? (Does the purchaser agree with purchasing a real diamond?) What does the wearer want others to think of him/her based on the ring size/setting/shape/etc? How will the wearer judge/view the purchaser based on size/shape/setting/etc? How will the purchaser judge him/herself based on size/shape/setting/etc?… Read more »
MW
MW
4 years 3 months ago

Q: “How much should a man spend on an engagement ring?”
A: However much he is comfortable with.

Rebecca
Rebecca
4 years 3 months ago
My parents had very little money when they got married and my mom’s engagement ring has the TINIEST stones — an emerald that would be more of a side stone on most engagement rings. For their 10th anniversary, my father bought her the same ring, but in a more legitimate size: 3/4 of a carat stone. She wears it, but didn’t want to and hasn’t taken off the original one. She says that it represents a wonderful (if impoverished) time of their lives. I love that story. As for me, I want a stone from the mine on the mountain… Read more »
Johnny Gear
Johnny Gear
4 years 3 months ago

My boyfriend spent maybe $4 on a chain and lock from a hardware store, I’ve been wearing his collar for almost a year now.

We may be an edge case…

sarah
sarah
4 years 3 months ago

Haha. This is good.

Erin
4 years 3 months ago
I think, assuming the man is buying a ring for the woman, that he should spend whatever he is comfortable with. Typically, an engagement ring is something that will be worn daily for many years, so it should be something durable unless they are planning to replace/upgrade, but certainly doesn’t NEED to be expensive. If he has the money and wants to spend $50k on a ring, fine. If he has a lot of money and wants to spend $500, fine. The only thing I thing is a little outrageous is going into debt for a piece of jewelry –… Read more »
April
April
4 years 3 months ago
Whatever the two people want–taking into account how BOTH feel. When I got married, no engagement ring. My fiance’s family didn’t believe in spending money on jewelry. If you had extra you should give it away to charity. Plus we were students. So I said okay. What I didn’t reealize was that it wasn’t just about what his family believed. He never asked what I would want. It was a signal I missed that he didn’t and never would really care about how I felt. Heck, I’d have been happy with cubic zirconia–IF HE HAD ASKED how I felt and… Read more »
Alison
4 years 3 months ago
When I got married, the conversation that my (now) husband and I had was about price- what could we afford at the time- and about what I would want to wear on my finger for the next 50 years. I don’t believe in upgrading a wedding ring. Do what you want, other ladies, but I went in to this preparing to wear this ring for the rest of my life. That in mind, it was really about the look of the thing. What fit out budget and what did I like looking at on my finger? I found a ring… Read more »
Aaron
Aaron
4 years 3 months ago
There are no right answers, because the entire industry was fabricated by extremely clever marketing by De Beers which made diamond a symbol of commitment. They also for the most part ritualized the “once-in-a-lifetime” romantic ritual of engagement (DID NO ONE READ THE ARTICLE RAMIT LINKED???) Diamonds are not valuable because they rare (there are rarer stones that are worth less), but like Santa Claus, the engagement ritual and the ring were pretty much created out of thin air to sell stuff, but because they sold stuff so well, they eventually become inseparable from American (and even international) culture. For… Read more »
Peach
Peach
4 years 3 months ago
Yeah, Aaron, no one read the article, but since the article dates back to 1982, and every educated person already knows that you buy diamonds at retail and sell them back at a huge loss decades later at wholesale, perhaps they felt they didn’t need to read it again. Even perhaps you didn’t really read the article if you think diamond is a hedge against the dollar. As for the insurance fraud idea you hinted at, thinking that if you need the money you can “lose” the diamond, and you profit instantly because insurance appraisals for gemstones are for far… Read more »
Marlon
Marlon
4 years 3 months ago
I spent $3K on my wife’s engagement ring, plus an extra $900 for the wedding band. In return, she bought my wedding band (she also works and makes about 80% of what I earn), which cost her $200 if I remember correctly. I thought the engagement ring, which she picked up, would would buy me some nag-free time…it didn’t. But that’s a different story. I bought the rings online, which helped me save some $$ vs buying them from a store. Funny thing, when we were shopping around, all stores would say “we also have layaway plans”…why would you spend… Read more »
Jen
Jen
4 years 3 months ago
But is that a “big difference?” You show off a BBQ, she shows off a ring – the big similarity is showing off a status symbol to a group of people who care about it. For example, you probably wouldn’t show off the BBQ to say, your 6 year old’s friends, whose status symbol is, IDK, Pokemon cards. To me, that actually shows how similar people are – the things we do are very similar, it’s just the details of what symbols matter and I don’t know if that IS that big a difference, especially because if you were a… Read more »
Amy
Amy
4 years 3 months ago
This is a really fascinating conversation. My now-husband is from a country where they don’t do diamond engagement rings (just a silver band for engagement and a gold band for marriage), but he wanted to honor the U.S. traditions I grew up with – though lucky for him, I really didn’t want anything fancy, and I see no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a ring! As most people said, I agree that it’s much more important to find out what SHE wants than to follow some formula about how much to spend. If he had spent according to… Read more »
james
james
4 years 3 months ago

I’d try and reason about practicality, durability, appearance, feel, value, price, expectations (hers), fears (losing it). I’d probably be accused of destroying all the romance.

I’d want something with meaning (of the sentimental, rather than astrological kind). Giving a grandmother’s ring would be much more significant than buying one, for me anyway.

The ring isn’t the commitment to the girl. The marrying her – that should be the commitment.

Emi
Emi
4 years 3 months ago
I say the amount should be however much has been saved for the purchase, so no debt. If this is just a small figure, meaning a small diamond (or no diamond), so be it. If she expects a more expensive ring that he can pay for outright, perhaps the cost of the ring is not the most important question they should be looking at, at that moment. Perhaps they need to wait a bit longer and save, if it’s that important. Perhaps she values the jewelry more than the marriage. Perhaps he is a cheapskate. Every one is different. It’s… Read more »
Joe
4 years 3 months ago
Engagements rings are tangible symbols of the next phase of life. So pick a ring that is symbolic or holds meaning, not one that is governed by price. To that, if you have married a woman that is judging the ring based on price, you picked the wrong woman, sorry to say. I chose a wood ring because a) we love nature b) we love fine craftsmanship b) it’s as unique as she is c) I spent $200 so I could save for more important things like trips, life experience. Check them out here. This is in no way a… Read more »
M8
M8
4 years 3 months ago
We got engaged when we were 21/22. My husband was making about 125k at the time and had minimal expenses. We live in the Bay Area and my engaged/married friends all had fancy 2 carat engagement rings, so being young and stupid and jealous of their bling, that’s what I wanted. I didn’t care about quality as long as it looked OK from arm’s length. I didn’t voice either of these opinions to my husband, but knowing what my friends had, he picked out a 2 carat round brilliant. Except he went with one that was really high quality, so… Read more »
reeder
reeder
4 years 3 months ago

So did he get it to please your peer group as well? And how does one downsize the ring after the proposal if it is bigger than what you want as he purchased what he thought you should have?

Kristin
4 years 3 months ago

As much as he can and wants to afford. I know how much my husband spent on my ring, and, because it is an antique, he would have paid more than double for it elsewhere. But is that the real point here? I don’t think so.

To me, the value of my ring is priceless. No one else in the world has my ring, or, much more importantly, my husband. Being fiscally responsible and knowing what would mean something to me is and was more important than the actual price or street value of my diamond.

Joelle
Joelle
4 years 3 months ago

I agree with a lot of the commenters here. Her expectations and your expectations need to align. For instance, I never had an “engagement ring dream”, and I don’t like wearing rings anyway, so I wouldn’t want a ring. Then there are the girls I know quite a few of my girlfriends who’ve always had dreams of the perfect solitaire diamond/pink sapphire, and then there are the other girls I know who don’t want to carry a giant rock on their finger. Communication is key, just like in any relationship!

Carla McCasland
Carla McCasland
4 years 3 months ago
Hey Ramit, I kind of jumped the gun and ruined my husbands proposal plans–I told him I wanted to be his wife before he had a chance to ask me…doh! Chalk it up to the heat of the moment. Anyway, later, we found out that we’d been looking at the same engagement ring sites online. I was concerned about cost, I knew that my husbear had some interest in jewelry-making, and I love working on projects with my man, so I asked him if he’d be interested in making our own wedding rings (hammers and tongs and everything!) . He… Read more »
Mark
Mark
4 years 3 months ago

It doesn’t matter. If she really loves you she’ll just want to be married.

Susan
Susan
4 years 3 months ago

count me as in agreement.

Teeny
Teeny
4 years 3 months ago

Mark-

There is truth to that. Sure I hope you wouldn’t propose unless she loved you, but there is something about knowing the effort, and time you put into looking for something that is just for her, something that she can look at, admire and remember great memories just about you and her. Truth is that a ring does matter, just not how much you pay for it.

Erica Douglass
4 years 3 months ago
I just got engaged, so it seems fitting to weigh in here! My fiance and I bought our rings in Grand Cayman while on a cruise with his family. Then he got to propose to me in front of his family. We planned the whole thing together, but I still teared up when he got down on one knee even though I knew it was coming. For me it wasn’t about the size of the diamond, but more the style of the ring. I have a more unique-looking ring and got a better deal on it since we were in… Read more »
Eric
Eric
4 years 3 months ago
I agree with many of the comments above: You should pay whatever it costs to buy the ring you and your partner would truly value (and that you can afford). Joe’s wood rings are perfect for them, but may be inappropriate for others. I paid in the $3k range for my wife’s ring which is a lot, but frankly every time my wife and I look at it, we feel an immense sense of satisfaction. I feels like a tangible embodiment of the essence of our relationship and makes me happy every time I see it on her finger. Frankly… Read more »
Kristal
Kristal
4 years 3 months ago
The only 3 things I am sure about how much a man should be spending on an engagment ring for a girl are: 1. He should buy it with cash. If he can’t even save up for that, the couple may be headed for financial disaster. Finances are one of the primary reasons couples get a divorce. 2. He should ask her what the expectations are & style/metals desired. If what he wants & she wants are miles apart, they should be able to both compromise to where it’s a win-win. If he can’t communicate with her on something that… Read more »
liss
liss
4 years 3 months ago

” If he can’t do 1) or 2) very well and he STILL wants to propose, he should at least wait till the fiancee is out of college & not surrounded by a bunch of other gals pouring over wedding magazines and receiving engagment rings at the same time”

This seems to assume that there has been both a long dating period and (at least the expectation) of a long engagement. What if that’s not the case?

Jen
Jen
4 years 3 months ago
Well, if you want a contribution from the world’s most unobjectionable lesbian couple – I spent $1300 on the engagement ring — she spent about $300 on mine because all I wanted was a colored pearl ring (also she’s 8 years younger than me and was broke at the time). We went looking together because she’s picky and likes jewelry, and I paid for it out of a severance package (not the whole package) the day the next job came through. I doubt we are really that different from a lot of hetero couples except for maybe the part where… Read more »
Beth
4 years 3 months ago
Oh, such good thoughts here. I love this discussion: An engagement ring is a pretty important ritual object, so one thing I wouldn’t react to well is anybody being cheap — whatever that means for them. In an ideal situation, I would never, ever have a discussion about how much the thing cost, and never want to ask — I would just want to know it was special. Something like “I took a jewelry class and forged you this simple gold band with my own hands. . . ” Or, “I know you love art nouveau jewelry, so I found… Read more »
Chelsea
Chelsea
4 years 3 months ago
I’ve heard 2-3 months salary. That makes it proportional to what you make. A man that practices conscious spending should have no problem doing this in about 4-6 months.. which is probably how long someone should spend thinking about it! I think an engagement ring is a great financial commitment and statement that every man should make as a part of deciding if they’re ready to marry a specific girl. If you can’t get it together to save up 2-3 months’ salary for a ring, or can’t make it a high enough priority (in your conscious spending), or feel uncomfortable… Read more »
Larry
4 years 3 months ago
I disagree Chelsea. I spent 6 months ‘deciding’ whether/when/how to propose. It was an incredibly nerve racking time, since I couldn’t ask many friends for advice lest my partner caught wind of my plans. That would’ve killed the romantic surprise! But spending that planning time to also save my money? Noooo At the time my wife-to-be an I were serial entrepreneurs, make money from one idea to pump into the next. If I had just taken 2 months of cool profit from this cycle, it would have hampered our business – all for the sake of some marketing object to… Read more »
Ano
Ano
4 years 3 months ago

I’m with Chelsea on this one. I’d like to know he’s capable of spending (and willing to spend) a large sum on me because he has the determination, discipline, hustle, and generosity necessary to do so. What type of ring actually gets purchased is secondary to all that.

Tara
Tara
4 years 3 months ago
I agree. My husband bought me a gorgeous (and, it turns out, pricey) engagement ring, and he found a way to do it even though he had just finished his doctorate and had only been working for a few months. I’m fairly pragmatic and minimalistic in the rest of my life but to me, the engagement ring symbolized commitment. I basically changed my entire life to marry my husband. I left a lucrative job, family and friends, and a city I loved to move to a smaller city where I knew no one but where he had a job in… Read more »
Teeny
Teeny
4 years 3 months ago

Great comment Chelsea! To help with saving for my ring my husband moved into a friend’s house after his lease ran up. Of course I didn’t know that was one of the reasons at the time he was living there (surprise proposal) but it was just something he did which showed me his commitment . He saved while he was considering marriage, and had his buddy right by him for some guy time before moving in together.

Hilary
Hilary
4 years 3 months ago

There is no *should*.

If the fiance’s “love language” is not gifts then the price or perceived value of the ring is irrelevant.

If the fiance has very specific expectations then the amount spent has be budgeted accordingly, taking into consideration how much you can actually afford (and whether it’s worth going cheaper for a more grandiose wedding, or if the ring is the bulk of the wedding budget – I’d rather have a giant diamond on my finger than a giant wedding.)

Hilary
Hilary
4 years 3 months ago

Why? It fits with my priorities of how I spend my money. I buy myself shiny things and expensive shoes but I rarely eat out and I don’t drink.

Cathy0
Cathy0
4 years 3 months ago
Hi Hilary, I agree with you. If you want to do marriage the ‘traditional’ way, there are lots of expenses – ring, engagement party, wedding reception, honeymoon. We looked at how much we had to spend on all this, and divided it up. I chose a more expensive ring, and spent less on the engagement party (had it at home) and honeymooned locally. In answer to Ramit’s ‘why’ – because I will look at my ring every day, forever, and the wedding only lasts a few hours. Every time I look at my gorgeous ring, it makes me happy that… Read more »
Larry
4 years 3 months ago
When I got down on one knee I just had a placeholder $20 zirconia ring in the box. After all the excitement settled down I explained to my girl that I’d love to make an EXPERIENCE out of the engagement and wedding ring process, so she would always be able to look at the ring and remember the moments that it inspired. We’d have special dates where we would drink champagne and select various features for the ring, or even research stone dynamics. We didn’t even consider Diamond, who wants the same stone as everyone else? hahahaha At the end… Read more »
Johnathan
Johnathan
4 years 3 months ago

Larry this is an excellent answer, and my thoughts on how I’d propose! I’m not married and have not experienced my own case of mindset vs. savings vs. women-involved to comment on how I’d handle the cost side!

jen
jen
4 years 3 months ago
Buy what you can afford and what will make you happy. We did not have much money when we decided to get married. We went together and I picked out a 10k white gold ring with a small, poor quality, princess cut solitaire. Didn’t have the money to buy anything nicer, and I was perfectly content to get that – I was happy to have a ring. We’re now debt free including two nice cars, a house & enough money in the bank to feel secure. To spend 2.5x monthly income seems outrageous – we make very good money now… Read more »
Erin Heckenekmper
Erin Heckenekmper
4 years 3 months ago

I’m sorry, but if I get a ring that costs more than $3k I won’t marry him out of principle. Put that money into something more “practical.” Like building my classic dream car.

Johnathan
Johnathan
4 years 3 months ago

An engagement car! I like that. A thoughtful guy will plan for the girls expectations before popping the question.

Thomas Edwards
4 years 3 months ago

I just don’t believe there are a lot of people who spend a large amount on engagement rings. A lot of times, we just assume rings are expensive because it’s of the taboo nature of talking cost but those we actually do hear, are probably the ones that spent a fortune (ex. Kimmy K and Kris Humphries).

I don’t think there are many women here who would refuse an expensive ring (of course under the circumstance the person didn’t kill someone / or themselves for it) but it’s just not likely — and seems they are ok with that.

Agree / Disagree?

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 3 months ago

Thomas, when my husband and I were dating, one of the things we talked about was financial values and aspirations. He was in debt and I was not, and I would not have married him if unless I knew he was carefully and intentionally working his way out of debt.
If he had shown up with a very expensive ring, I would have certainly refused it and probably broken up with him, as it would have shown that he was willling to throw our plans away on an emotional implulse (not a good character trait in a marriage partner).

Ned
Ned
4 years 3 months ago
I cringe every time I hear the 2.5x month salary rule. I believe the right price is whatever it takes to get something you think she will like, and will be respectable to her friends. I looked at rings with my fiance to see what she was into, and she ended up picking out a ring that cost $700. She said she didn’t care that much. When it came time to buy one, I ended up spending $3000 more than that because I wanted to make sure the diamonds were high quality. Size wasn’t much of a concern, the fiance… Read more »
EM
EM
4 years 3 months ago
My fiance gave me a ring that has been in his family for over 80 years. Not big, not flashy, but incredibly meaningful (and he didn’t have to spend any money… on the ring that is). Now the bed and breakfast he took me to cost some money, but certainly not a couple thousand dollars. I know not everyone has this luxury, but for us it was perfect. And on another note… Most women I know do want a nice engagement ring. Not because they are gold diggers, but because it is something meaningful and something to be proud of.… Read more »
Pat
Pat
4 years 3 months ago
Chris H. has the right idea. Buy what you can afford. My husband was in grad school with little money when he bought mine 21 years ago. Even though I could have a different, more expensive ring now I cherish the one he gave me. Besides there are much better things to spend money on and not every woman wants a big diamond. The other caveat is to know what your future spouse wants. Some women want a different stone other than a diamond and some like vintage rings. Make it your own style and you’ll find a way to… Read more »
Chelsea
Chelsea
4 years 3 months ago
Ramit left a comment about how few people backed up their comments with tangible numbers, so to back up my post above: My expectation was that my fiance would spend $1500-3000 at most on my ring. He bought me a $12,000 ring. But, he had a family friend that’s a diamond wholesaler who helped him get it for $7,000. He saved up for 5 months, with the goal of saving up $10,000 which is 3 months’ worth of post-tax salary. He’s proud of it and says he loves to see me wear it. He’s proud that he splurged on a… Read more »
Caleb Huitt
Caleb Huitt
4 years 3 months ago
I’m not going to give any simple formulas, like 2-month’s salary or anything like that. What I am going to say is the man should get a ring that a) his to-be-fiancee likes, and b) she won’t be aghast at the amount spent (high or low), and c) won’t seriously hinder other financial goals he has — alone and shared with the to-be-fiancee. For guys, of course, this means knowing about the woman you are going to propose marriage to. A shocking idea, I know. Even so, there are some things you may want to watch for, to get an… Read more »
Crystal
Crystal
4 years 3 months ago

Ramit, I never said that I didn’t want a big ring…just that I already have one. It would be dumb to have two pieces of jewelry that cost as much as my brand new convertible.

Chelsea
Chelsea
4 years 3 months ago
Also.. in agreement with what Erin said above.. When I found out how much he spent on the ring (and you have to understand, the only reason how i found out at all is that I own a house and needed a copy of the appraisal of the ring in order to purchase an insurance rider for the ring)… when I found how he spent on a piece of JEWELRY, I was actually a little peeved. We could have saved that for a house, a vacation, or our kid’s college education… But, like I said above, it’s a symbol of… Read more »
Moo
Moo
4 years 3 months ago
I honestly can’t see why anybody would buy a ring that costs more than $10-50. Even if the marriage lasts forever, the ring is just a finger trinket. Even if you’re a billionaire, who are you trying to impress? It’s especially bizarre if the ring’s recipient makes more than the ring’s supplier (gender be damned). True, conscious spending means that a person who considers a super-awesome ring to be really important has the right to pay whatever s/he desires. It’s a head-scratcher to me, though. Most of the women I’ve dated want an engagement ring, at least in the abstract… Read more »
Honey
Honey
4 years 3 months ago
I knew exactly what I wanted my ring to look like, and I wasn’t willing to compromise on that at all. However, it didn’t matter to me if it was “real.” So we got an emerald-cut .75 “carat” center stone with channel-set baguettes on either side, and it was I think $350 (we went with CZ). What was a surprise to him was that I also wanted a wedding ring (which I think a couple other people mentioned that you should talk over as well). He said off-hand in conversation one day that at least his ring-spending was over, and… Read more »
Honey
Honey
4 years 3 months ago

$200K in educational debt, sorry (though I would imagine that was obvious)

Rob
4 years 3 months ago
I recently came across a booked called the Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live. It is an amazing book that discusses the histories of our modern ideas about life by examining how these ideas came to be and what we can learn from ancient civilizations and their practices. The first chapter is about our modern notions of Love. In a subset of the chapter the author details us the history of De Beers and diamonds. It also discusses how purchasing fine jewelry for one’s significant other was practiced only by the most affluent individuals prior to 1938 and the… Read more »
Katherine Chalmers
Katherine Chalmers
4 years 3 months ago
It depends on the circumstances of the couple. We got married at 24 when neither of us had much money. We researched diamond buying together, looked in horror at the quality/price offerings at the mall stores, and then had a nice ring made at the much less glamorous diamond market for about $1100. I loaned him the money to buy it and he “paid me back” with fancy anniversary dinners for the first decade. It was fun. My ring is clearly a “first wife” ring, but I cared a lot more about having a very good quality stone and setting… Read more »
Jamal
Jamal
4 years 3 months ago

I find it surprising that nobody has commented on Ramit’s headline: “How Much Should a Man Spend on an Engagement Ring” (emphasis on man). I think this is an interesting point in itself on gender and money, and considering it’s Ramit it was written that way for a purpose. What other big ticket items have clearly defined gender exclusivities on who’s buying?

It’s obviously dictated by tradition, but funny how strongly it’s held.

Honey
Honey
4 years 3 months ago

One of my friends in grad school bought her own engagement ring (without telling her boyfriend), shipped it to herself, took him out to dinner (interestingly they had a huge fight about where to eat which ended up with them missing her reservation and having to be sat at the bar while they waited for a table), proposed to him, and then pulled out the ring she had bought and put it…on herself! It always flabbergasted me, but the fact that he said yes means I guess she chose the right guy for her.

Gary
Gary
4 years 3 months ago
When I was purchasing my engagement ring I already knew approximately how much I wanted to spend. I took my girl friend around and had her look at a few styles and it seemed that she wanted a bigger diamond than I planned to purchase. As ridiculous as it sounds people are just not rational. Here are some reasons give to me from my girlfriend: “I want a ring that’s not the smallest in my group” “Some of my female friends have smaller diamonds and they all try to give an explanation on why it’s small, for example they say… Read more »
Ellen
Ellen
4 years 3 months ago

Wow. Is your girlfriend aware of how little respect you show her in public? You have compared her to a child, called her ridiculous and irrational. Is that really what you want out of a relationship? Is that what she wants in a relationship? Or do you just think it’s normal for men and women to relate that way?

Dan
Dan
4 years 3 months ago
Wow. This is a popular topic. I skimmed most of the comments and noticed the common theme of meeting your girlfriend’s expectations, within your budget. What many might be forgetting is that how good your fiancee feels about her ring is strongly influenced by how her ring compares to her peers. This is subconscious and she will not likely express this directly when “discussing expectations”. Before they get their ring, many women may say that “size is not important”. Hogwash. Size makes a big difference, even if she is not aware of it before she gets her ring. Size of… Read more »
Honey
Honey
4 years 3 months ago
I couldn’t describe any of my friends’ engagement rings except one, and that because she made a big deal of it and sent photos (she actually cared about having a really ornate band, so her band is Tacori but the stone is a sapphire). Her wedding band is a super cheap-o one with tiny diamonds that have flaws visible to the naked eye. I remember that one too because I was on a trip with her when she saw it, called him, and said she was buying it herself. I’ve ogled over other women’s rings when they were newly engaged,… Read more »
D
D
4 years 3 months ago

Dan, keeping up with the girlfriends is huge. My wife and I were engaged young and she had her engagement ring 2-3 years before any of her girlfriends. It was perfect for her at the time, but now I’ve noticed that she seems less proud of it now that her friends are all engaged (with bigger rings of course)

Steve
Steve
4 years 3 months ago
My general observation is that girls are so happy to be proposed to that they like ANY ring–until one of their friends inevitably comes along and says “oh honey, how much did the ring cost? He OWES you 3 months salary for a ring.” Then they become dissatisfied with their ring and complain. Source: watching many women talk about their rings at the office. As a man I think anything beyond a simple band is a prolific waste of money that could be better spent on a house to live in, fun honeymoon, or expenses that inevitably come along with… Read more »
Suzie
4 years 3 months ago
Mine was $1200. I had never planned to get married (on principle) but my husband was from a different country so we ‘had’ to. He worked in a call-centre and I was unemployed, so we didn’t have a lot of money to throw at it. I would recommend other people get more financially together, but for us the marriage was a gamble — we couldn’t live together first to test it out. We did spend a lot of time picking it. I think that mattered more than the cost. We got a diamond from one ring put into another band,… Read more »
Jared
Jared
4 years 3 months ago
I spent $9,000 for my wife’s… It was the only ring I saw that embodied her style. I love the way it looks on her finger, and she still gets compliments to this day. I don’t mind saying that I like to hear the compliments, and I get some kudos because she always answers “Thanks, he picked it out on his own!” I didn’t take into account resale value. I didn’t do the math of 2x my monthly salary. I found a ring I loved, and knew she’d love. It was an expense that I thought was worthwhile. So I… Read more »
Teeny
Teeny
4 years 3 months ago

Jared –

I think you had a very good approach. My husband also did a similar approach, and he also get’s all the kudo’s for picking it out himself.

Teeny
Teeny
4 years 3 months ago
I think the appropriate price is up to the person giving the ring. Why it is so hard to decide how much to spend on a ring is because it is so subjective. My husband and I had kind of discussed an engagement ring in an abstract way, and I did mention that I wouldn’t mind not having a diamond and thought moissanite or another hard gem would be fine. But the ring he popped the question with was a $5k diamond. It was a gift from him, and I loved it because I know how much time and thought… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 3 months ago
A bit more about conscious spending on engagement rings: My partner and I calculated the cost of the engagement and wedding rings as part of our total wedding costs. We chose an overall budget of $15k as our starting point, because we could afford to pay that without going into debt. We each got to pick three priorities for the wedding, and we agreed to cut costs ruthlessly on everything else. We both picked “wedding rings” as one of our priorities. Neither of us picked “engagement ring.” That pretty much answered the engagement ring question for us! Since we both… Read more »
Stacy
Stacy
4 years 3 months ago
Ramit, where do your readers live?!?!?! I live in NYC. Every single one of my friends has at least a 2 Carat ring – which is at least 20k depending on the color, and can be way more. I was honest with my boyfriend. I told him I really wanted a gorgeous ring and thankfully he wanted to make me happy and bought me a gorgeous 2 Carat ring for $23,000. I think you WANT your readers to make above-average salaries and spend thousands on self-development courses, travel, health & beauty, etc. Because people who don’t invest in themselves are… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 3 months ago

I also live in NYC, and none of my close friends gave / received a ring worth more than $2k. I think it’s a question of what community you live in and what the norms of that community are. This totally makes me want to have coffee with you, though, and find out more about your social world!

A
A
4 years 3 months ago
I agree with Jess. It’s not just about where you live, it’s about the social circles you’re in. Of the friends I know about (e.g. the rings where I know how much they cost), none of them has spent over $1k. I suspect the one I don’t know about was in the $2,500 range, but the man in that couple had a fairly substantial inheritance to draw from. Some gay friends of ours got Tungsten Carbide rings… I don’t think the spent more than $60 for the two of them. My other friend got a small $900 ethical diamond ring… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 3 months ago
It’s up to the couple. Some of my friends wanted very nice rings, some wanted ethical stones, one (divorced) wanted one bigger than the last one she had, some wanted something smaller than what they got but their husbands thought it was important to be blingy. Some did installments, some paid in cash, some used family heirlooms. (I’m a little older – I’ve got lots of married friends). It was just whatever made the most sense to those people at that point in time. I personally didn’t want diamonds. I actually didn’t think we needed an engagement ring at all… Read more »
J
J
4 years 3 months ago

What does a 1 karat VS or better stone cost? that is what you should spend..

Agota
Agota
4 years 3 months ago
Wow, reading this comment thread was an interesting glimpse into the American culture (since I assume that most of commenters are from US)! I didn’t know that engagement ring was such a big deal over there and that there are so many subtle and not-so-subtle issues surrounding the topic (since I only heard references to that in movies, never from real people). Definitely very interesting. P.S. I’m from Lithuania. In my country, people usually get either plain bands or some simple rings. I don’t think that many women would expect to get a ring with diamonds unless the guy is… Read more »
Daniel G.
Daniel G.
4 years 3 months ago
I recently bought an engagement ring and spent $5,300. I make $35,000 a year. I have no idea how many months/weeks/lifetimes of a salary that is, but I do know that I am proud of the ring that I bought my fiance and I believe she is proud to wear the ring. I approached ring buying as a goal-setting process. I decided about a year ago that I wanted to ask her, so at that time, I started to look at rings and get a ballpark of how much the one that I thought she would want would cost. Spending… Read more »
Tiffany
4 years 3 months ago
Personally, I think Caleb Huitt says it well. It doesn’t depend solely on the woman, or the man, like everything to do with marriage, it depends on the couple. I knew, and I think this is practical, that I wanted a ring from a jeweler with a good reputation for quality, because I wanted to spend as little time as possible for the rest of my life getting the ring fixed or a stone replaced. So that meant a ring that would be at least a few hundred, which I was fine with. Conversely, I didn’t want a diamond, because… Read more »
David
David
4 years 3 months ago

Unless I misread your tone, I am surprised that someone who is an economist and so rooted in logic is so fascinated and wholly supports the diamond industry, specifically spending a large amount of money for an engagement ring. I am not wholly opposed to diamond engagement rings or even expensive ones at that but you present this survey to your readers and before they have a chance to answer, you dismiss anything that might not agree with your views by calling such answers “stupid.” This is a strange post, all around.

Casey
Casey
4 years 3 months ago
How much should a man spend on a ring? Well I just bought one and proposed to my soon to be wife. She said yes! This is how I look at it. Over about a two year period I saved up a good chunk of change after I started Ramits conscious saving spending system. (3K+) I already knew what rang of rings my fiance was looking at and could have easily gotten her something she would have been happy with and have a little extra money left over. If you knew me you would think thats exactly what I did… Read more »
Joann
4 years 3 months ago

I wouldn’t want to marry someone who will give me a cheap engagement ring. It’s for life so they should at least spend some money on it!

A
A
4 years 3 months ago

Right, but what’s “cheap”, though?

Alan
Alan
4 years 3 months ago

I’m surprised nobody has brought up how much people spend to improve the diamonds they already have. I was completely STUNNED when my co-workers spent ~$20,000 to $30,000 on upgrading their wives rings (which were already very expensive) after we got a little bonus money.

Overall this is a very interesting topic.

Henry
Henry
4 years 3 months ago

Spend whatever you want. The cost of a ring pales in comparison to the money you’re about to spend on vacations, kids, house, in-laws, an suv like the neighbours’ etc.

Eric H.
Eric H.
4 years 3 months ago
Ah, diamond engagement rings. They are a huge waste of money. We buy them because everyone expects to get one when they get engaged, and that is because of marketing by the diamond industry. I’m in my late thirties and I can tell you that the only women wearing diamond engagement rings are either recently engaged or recently married. Every married woman eventually realizes how impractical diamond engagment rings are. Most rings tend to get caught on things or are uncomfortable. And there is always the fear of getting mugged or losing it. So after a few years of marriage,… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 3 months ago
You absolutely do not HAVE to get your future bride a diamond engagement ring. There are tons of women in this thread alone saying that their experiences don’t conform to that particular story – me included. (I don’t even have an engagement ring, let alone a diamond one. My husband wanted to get me one but I told him I wouldn’t wear it.) I think it’s really interesting that the experiences of real-world couples get subsumed in this story about what “women” want instead of, you know, what the real woman in your life ACTUALLY wants. Have you ever been… Read more »
Erin
Erin
4 years 3 months ago
It’s about prioritization. You should know where your and your future spouse’s priorities lie if you are going to be married to them. That’s quite a generalization, but let’s pretend its true. Are your priorities keeping up with the Joneses? Style? Beautiful things? Travel? A house? Something else? There is no SHOULD in buying an engagement ring. I didn’t even have an engagement ring, and we went to Europe my with husband instead. I’m not better or less materialistic than anyone else – that was just my priority. And it’s really funny when you tell someone you are engaged and… Read more »
Krista
4 years 3 months ago

I am an a-typical female that doesn’t want a big diamond ring and would actually be ticked off if my guy spent a ton of money on one without my input. Rings are ridiculously expensive and although the sentiment is sweet about wanting to value our relationships by showing that in an expensive ring–I would rather use the money to travel someplace amazing or as a way to furnish our home.

Huda
Huda
4 years 3 months ago
I think the engagement ring is just like a home, a car or whatever other purchase a couple can make, a reflection of the couple financial ideas. You must have talked about finances before take this step. Maybe a more wealthy couple don´t think it is important to spend a lot of money in engagement ring, and they preffer spend this money in the honey moon or weeding celebration, home…While another couple not as wealth preffer to save money for this ring which they give much value but be merciless about spending on weeding dress (which I don´t think so,since… Read more »
Ben Donahower
Ben Donahower
4 years 3 months ago
I spent $550 on my wife’s engagement ring, which I bought second hand off of a jilted bride. If I would have bought it from a jeweler, I would have paid something like $1,750. My wife was happy that she didn’t get ‘blood’ diamonds and I was happy that we bought a traditional ring and a good price. We bought our wedding rings from a department store that was going out of business at 90% off. All told, we paid under $700 for all rings. On a different but related topic, we had a very nice wedding but after some… Read more »
Tony Zarembski
Tony Zarembski
4 years 3 months ago
My girlfriend doesn’t like diamonds (I don’t either), which is a relief. We’d much rather pour money into a Roth or go on vacation, and I’m starting to save up to replace my dying car. I am astonished that marketers were successful enough that people assume there’s a specific guideline for the minimum salary (2-1/2 months) that anyone should spend on a ring. Kudos to them for positioning a rock as a rare commodity! But what really blows my mind is this: most people would never feel safe walking around with a few thousand dollars in hand, but they think… Read more »
Nick
Nick
4 years 3 months ago
It depends on how much you want to buy into the marketing of diamonds or from another perspective, it depends on how much the bride to be has bought into the fallacy of diamonds. I think most men would love to debunk this marketing scheme, it is very costly. I believe it is just a luxury item and status symbol, kind of like a luxury automobile, do you really need it? It’s a status symbol and people that play those “keeping up with the… whoever” games, will buy into it. I personally do not believe in diamonds, but I do… Read more »
C W
C W
4 years 3 months ago
Back when my male friends were all getting engaged, about 5-7 years ago, the rule they tossed around is “3 months’ worth of salary”. They almost all ended up buying rings with 1-2 karat VVS1/VVS2 diamond, spending $10k-20k on it, more if the guy decided to overpay for something from Tiffany & Co. Background: these guys were about 25 years old then, making mid-high five figures. The relationships were all long and stable, many started back in college days. Their girlfriends were in the same age, making similar amount of money. Everyone, including the couple themselves, were expecting them to… Read more »
Michael
Michael
4 years 3 months ago
The conventional “rules of thumb” differ, depending on whom you ask. Many people say one month’s salary; others swear that two months’ salary is the accepted standard. This is the first time I’ve seen people suggest 2.5 times their monthly salary. I think marketing for jewelers has gotten out of hand, and this has inflated popular expectations about price, carat size, etc. I think we need to consider more than “How much should a man spend on an engagement ring?” An important, and related, question is “How much are you getting for your money?” I paid about two months’ salary… Read more »
Karolyn
Karolyn
4 years 3 months ago

Maybe part of it is that the women don’t necessarily want a big ring until they see the beautiful big rings?

Pam
Pam
4 years 3 months ago
I hope my future-husband spends no more than $1,000 on the ring regardless of his/our collective income. IDEALLY, he’d have in his possession an heirloom ring passed down in his family so that NO money would be spent but it would be incredibly valued and treasured. The way I personally look at it is: it’s a ring. I’d much rather we put money towards the wedding (which, even if frugal, will still cost a shit-ton since I plan to have an American ceremony and my mom will kill me if there’s not an additional Hindu ceremony – and Indian food… Read more »
-Rob-
-Rob-
4 years 3 months ago
I seem to recall when I was in the market for an engagement ring, one of those Hitchcock-style ads popped up on the TV and told me “three month’s salary” (I assumed they were talking gross). My wife has no interest in the “why” of things, she just expects me to beat the curve, so that’s how I approached it. The important thing is, you should know what’s important to your (future) wife. The ring was an important symbol for mine, and so I took it seriously, ignoring all the back story from friends/family about the artificial inflation of diamonds,… Read more »
Daria
Daria
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve always heard 3 months’ salary. But it depends. If she’s ready to marry you she should know what you can and can’t afford. If you’re ready to marry her you shoul understand what matters to her. Discuss before you buy.

Doris
Doris
4 years 3 months ago
In 1986, my husband and I went to the jewelry district in NYC just to browse. Yes, I saw lots of glittery bling but we chose a one carat emerald cut stone , set in a band with two rows of side diamonds on each side. The cost then was $2650 for the ring and it was a VVS-1 , G color stone. This at the time seemed outlandishly expensive but it was what I desired and I had what typically happens to a lot of women—it was a defining moment where I just knew it was the ring. Never… Read more »
Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones
4 years 3 months ago
My engagement ring for my wife (interesting phrase, that) cost $580. She gets compliments on it all the time. It’s an Art Deco-ish 1920’s or 1930’s ring that we found in a pawn shop and that I snuck back and bought. Has a matching band we found on ebay for $220 and they look like they were made for each other. The engagement ring has a respectable size diamond on my wife’s small hand. (If she had bigger hands I don’t know what I would have done, as I didn’t have more money than that, had to borrow that as… Read more »
Nick
Nick
4 years 3 months ago
From a mathematical perspective: X dollars spent = Y status achieved (much like any other luxury item) May substitute Y status with ” Y for Yes to proposal” 😉 From a guy’s perspective, I can’t ever recall myself taking note of another women’s diamond ring and thinking to myself, “wow,” “that’s nice.” I’d have to say I’m to wrapped up in thinking about my own life then to envy the status of others. But I did notice the jet black Lamborghini with chrome rims and a racing stripe parked in front of the neighbors driveway the other day, damn. Hard… Read more »
April
April
4 years 3 months ago
A man should spend a little more than the woman expects him to? Unless she has really crazy expectations that he could never meet, let alone exceed, in which case, that’s not a good sign! 🙂 I feel like my husband spent too much. It was a much bigger rock than I expected. But I love it. And I don’t care if it’s shallow or silly or whatever–when I look at it, it makes me smile, even four years later. Not so much the size, which gets comments from time to time, but the fact that he merged two styles… Read more »
Sasha
Sasha
4 years 3 months ago

Completely agree =P

Wes
Wes
4 years 3 months ago
2-3 months salary, as others have said, is the general rule I hear tossed around. I’m a 26 year old engineer, and that would mean I’m buying a ring that cost more than my car… INSANE! (I’m also perpetually single, and somewhat cynical about relationships in general, so read this with a grain of salt) Some of my friends have dropped massive amounts of money on rings, and their significant others hardly ever wear them for fear of losing them, getting robbed, etc. I prefer the approaches taken by my parents and sister: my parents bought a very affordable set… Read more »
Andrea
Andrea
4 years 3 months ago
It’s about the best match for the couple TOGETHER. When my long-term boyfriend and I first talked about our expectations for marriage, we had a lot to cover – we are both from big Catholic families, so a “family only” ceremony is 100 people minimum. But neither of us is religious, so we have to navigate those expectations, in addition to divorced parents, both of us being the oldest sibling (and thus first married), etc., not to mention the cost of all those choices. Ultimately, a ring symbolizes a choice made to commit to a partner over other available choices.… Read more »
Annie
Annie
4 years 3 months ago
Thank you Stacy for being so real, yours is one of the very few comments that makes sense. Engagement rings are not cheap nor should they be. They cost a minimum of $20,000 for the kind of quality that one should expect. And that’s just the starting range. I would go even higher and price it at $30-$50K. To the guys, I would say, this is your future WIFE. She’s going to be the mother of your children and (theoretically) the most important person in your life. Why wouldn’t you want to spend at least that much to show her… Read more »
Suzie
Suzie
4 years 3 months ago
Not all wives are going to be mothers of a man’s children. Some are gay, some are infertile, some just don’t want them. Also, my ring was a lot less than 20k and I am still loved; I still feel loved, I know exactly what is special about me and my husband (like the fact he was prepared to give up his country, his home, his family, his job to come and be with me in a rural town and not be allowed to work in order to be with me!). If you have that money, fabulous, treat her. But… Read more »
Hungry Hippo
Hungry Hippo
4 years 3 months ago

If my husband spent $20,000 on my ring, I would have been PISSED. That’s a down payment on a house in our city!! How nice it would have been to start married life with $20,000 in the bank.

But to be fair to circumstances, we married about 2mths after I graduated university, and right when my husband quit my job due to the immigration process he was starting. So we knew I’d be supporting us financially with my entry-level salary for approx 2 years.

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 3 months ago
That’s all lovely in theory, but where is the money supposed to COME FROM? Hello, marriage is not about a My Little Pony vision of rainbows and daffodils, it is about making it through everyday life together. If my husband had saddled me with 50K of debt for a shiny rock, I would NOT feel loved, I would feel decieved and cheated. I would be the one paying it off, and I would NEVER have chosen that. If he waited to save up 50K before proposing, that would have taken years. YEARS. I would not feel loved if he refused… Read more »
Jay
Jay
4 years 3 months ago
Annie, the fact that you are trying to translate love into monetary terms summarizes the inherent problem with our consumer culture. You cannot commercialize love. Engagement rings, much like Valentine’s day, are marketing propaganda. They take real human relationships, and try to turn them into a financial competition of “who’s spouse loves them the most” based on the size of a meaningless shiny rock with no utilitarian value. Women who want a ring to brag to their friends are getting married for the wrong reasons. Additionally, this tradition is only setting back women’s rights and equality movements from evolving. There… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 3 months ago

For me, that feeling isn’t something you can buy with any amount of money. Buying an expensive object is a one-and-done moment. My husband shows me he loves me through his actions every single day.

Believe me, my marriage is special. I think I’m the luckiest woman alive. I know plenty of women with gorgeous rings who would kill to have the kind of husband I do, and I don’t have an engagement ring at all.

C W
C W
4 years 3 months ago
All’s rational from your point of view, except that marriages these days tend to last significantly shorter than 20 years. Again, from a pure utility perspective, is this the best way to spend $20k (or if you want to rationalize it, $1k a year)? Would the bride-to-be be happier if it were an extra $20k to spend on the wedding? Would the couple be happier if it were towards down payment for a house? Paying off student debt? Seed capital for a business? A fantastic, unforgettable honeymoon? A cottage? Retirement savings? The answer is different for everyone. No, I don’t… Read more »
liss
liss
4 years 3 months ago

word.

John S
John S
4 years 3 months ago

I would put it into an equation:

enough to make her happy > $$ of ring > what you can comfortably afford

If that doesn’t work out, you probably have the wrong girl

Susan
Susan
4 years 3 months ago
How much should one spend on an engagement ring? I believe the engagement ring is optional and a simple gold band for the wedding is adequate. However, I am a strange woman who doesn’t understand the allure of shoe shopping, so my comments probably don’t count. I have found that many of my female friends (who married years ago), went with an inexpensive wedding ring, because that was what their fiances could afford (and even then, a whole month’s salary would have been stretching the cost). Fast forward 25 years or more, and the women are earning fairly good salaries.… Read more »
Victoria
Victoria
4 years 3 months ago
It really depends on a number of factors: – Does the woman care at all about diamonds/jewelry? – Does she judge her friends’ rings? – What can the man afford? Something about wearing anything worth as much as a used car makes me uncomfortably paranoid (hence not wearing diamond earrings from my mom and not owning designer bags). I’d be more thrilled if my engagement excluded a ring, but included plane tickets to Paris instead. Half my girlfriends gossip about whoever’s ugly/small/whatever ring. The other half could really care less. The judging girls will most likely compare their rings to… Read more »
B V
B V
4 years 3 months ago
I didn’t think about my future engagement ring until my fiance proposed! It ended up being about 1/3 of his salary and I picked out the design I wanted. I’ve been asked: This is from Tiffany, isn’t it!? – it’s completely not; AND it’s about a tenth of the price. Moral of the story: – for all the waffle around about the 4Cs, few people (even those wearing pricey jewels) can tell at a glance what your ring is worth if you select the design and stone/s well. Personally: – I prefer to channel a five figure sum into the… Read more »
Julie
4 years 3 months ago
Oh man, it depends on so many things. 1. How much do you make? 2. How much do you have saved? 3. Does your girlfriend like diamonds? 4. Does your girlfriend need to “compete” with said diamond? So if you make $100,000 a year, have a lot of money saved, but your girlfriend likes sapphires? You’ll spend zero on a diamond. Make $20k, your girlfriend likes diamonds? Find an estate sale. Make $80k but your girlfriend has to keep up with her friends? Bigger diamond or halo setting, but lower quality (more inclusions, and whatnot, that most people can’t see… Read more »
Joyce
Joyce
4 years 3 months ago

This all depends on how much the man wants and needs the woman. Someone who is only looking for a live-in cleaning lady or fuck buddy, probably won’t spend much. Whereas, someone who is looking for and life partner will spend more, but won’t go to extremes. And someone intending to marry someone who is “out of their league” will spend everything they can to impress the idea that he is willing to go to any lengths to keep her near. It’s the image thing, much like the kind of car a person drives.

Sasha
Sasha
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t think that’s what Joyce means, per se, but that some people just reach a point in their lives when it’s time or perhaps more convenient to get married, and not about love or the woman at all.

Mia
Mia
4 years 3 months ago
I love reading these comments! I’m not engaged nor even dating anyone seriously, but I’ve hit the point in my life (mid-twenties) where people in my peer group are starting to get married. Thanks to Ramit’s advice, I’ve started saving/budgeting/planning for the wedding I’m 99% certain is going to be in my future within the next ten years. All my friends that I’ve told about this pre-planning think I’m a hilarious nerd for doing this. First, I should make clear that for me, weddings, engagement/wedding rings, and all the hoopla around marriage are social signifiers above all else. They are… Read more »
Sasha
Sasha
4 years 3 months ago
So many great points made in this comment, which I completely agree with. It introduces some perspectives I hadn’t even considered before. Definitely true that an engagement ring is something a woman will be looking at every day for the rest of her life, so it should be a source of pride rather than embarrassment! I hope to look down at my ring one day and each time get a warm fuzzy glow thinking about how much my fiancee/husband loves me, how well he knows me, and how much he sacrifices to make me happy, not “ew I can’t believe… Read more »
Teeny
Teeny
4 years 3 months ago

Mia –
I am also one of those nerds, but it’s ok because we know how awesome we are. Your comment makes so much sense, sure we don’t want to judge our ring versus other girls, but we do. My brother told me before I got engaged the the best advice he had about engagement rings was to find out the size of all of the girl’s friend’s rings, and then get a ring that was bigger. After I got engaged, I can tell now that was actually really good advice.

Mia
Mia
4 years 3 months ago
Thanks, Ramit! I’ve been studying weddings within the US as a cultural & anthropological phenomena on my own for the last few months, so have been giving a lot of thought to all aspects of the topic. It’s also fascinating from a marketing standpoint since the wedding/bridal industry generates billions of dollars in revenue every year. I just realized that despite writing a novel of a comment, I forgot answer a few of the questions you set out. Here are my thoughts: Does it depend how much the guy makes? Or the woman? What if the woman makes more than… Read more »
Honey
Honey
4 years 3 months ago

My fiance’s an attorney, and I said almost the same thing as you in my comment. To not have a ring that matches your more affluent clients = not being able to professionally advance. You’re going to have to wear your ring to work, fo’ sho’.

sarah
sarah
4 years 3 months ago

This is one of the many reasons I didn’t go into law. (My parents were lawyers, and I remember all kinds of stuff being done for appearances.) All of the female scientists I know who have been engaged have wanted an atypical ring or no ring at all… because their fashion decisions have no repercussion for their science. It’s too bad that other professions have to rely on such indirect signals of quality.

sarah
sarah
4 years 3 months ago

“Saying that it’s stupid or irrational or illogical to spend so much on a piece of jewelry misses the entire point and the social significance of the thing.”

Not exactly. The point is that some people will think a couple has it made because the woman is wearing 2 carats, and other people will think they’re anachronistic, irrational, and/or self-absorbed. The “significance” is totally context-dependent.

q smith
q smith
4 years 3 months ago
• Does it depend how much the guy makes? Or the woman? Yes income matters. it should cost enough that the purchaser feels the expense in the form of having to give up something else. so, higher incomes have to spend more. • What if the woman makes more than the guy? some might expect a man to buy more than he can afford knowing that the combined incomes will eventually take care of the extra expense. • How does Conscious Spending play into this purchase? It should be 100% conscious… • Do women want an engagement ring? Why or… Read more »
Paul
Paul
4 years 3 months ago

It should cost enough so that it’s painful. I went on a nine-month payment plan for it, and each payment was painful. This is not somewhere you should cut corners. That being said, I can look at her ring finger and be proud that it was a sacrifice and it was worth it. This number will vary from person to person. I spent about two months’ salary on it.

qsmith
qsmith
4 years 3 months ago

the diamond history was interesting, but i already knew diamonds were hype, just like gold. you can’t eat them. the value is 100% emotional. it is all about culture and the resulting hidden scripts…

Sasha
Sasha
4 years 3 months ago
Julie above has it right. And it really does depend on the two people involved. I have dated people from I would have been thrilled to have received a $1500 ring, and people for whom 2.5 month’s salary would have meant a rock with its own zip code. I wouldn’t really want one that large, but I do want to know that I matter. The reason the salary percentage number works better than a set dollar amount is that an engagement ring is symbolic of a commitment, a decision, a plan, a sacrifice, a choice, a request, etc., and so… Read more »
asraidevin
4 years 3 months ago

I would presume your partner asking you to spend the rest of your life with him would tell you that you matter to him? As well as the marriage ceremony and continually living with you and sharing his life with you being a concrete showing of his choice, commitment, sacrifice to you.

Why do you require a symbol?

What kind of price says you matter vs you dont matter?

Ben
Ben
4 years 3 months ago

Shesh. I have trouble with a lot of these replies, because they’re so focused on me or I instead of us. If you’re guessing at what your SOs expectations are with regards to a ring, that’s trouble!

My wife and I picked out a stone (traditional sapphire) together and had it custom made at a local jeweler. 3k was a lot of money at the time, but no complaints 10 years later.

Sasha
Sasha
4 years 3 months ago
I think how much is spent on an engagement ring also largely depends on when in life you are getting married. If you are in college or fresh out of college or even in grad school, a modest dinky little ring is more acceptable. So men, if you are young or still in school and you think you have already met the love of your life, you would save money by locking it in early! However, most people, especially college grads, are getting married much later–about 28 to 35 (at least based on what I have observed in my own… Read more »
Nick
Nick
4 years 3 months ago

Buy at auction. The mark up on retail is frightening. I bought the wife’s ring at auction. 10 quid on a box at a jewelers round the corner. Done.

Same size stone in a ring retail was 600% more. 7 times the price. ie. A stone that makes other women jealous (isn’t that one of its purposes?).

Ryan
4 years 3 months ago

I spent what it cost to get her the ring she wanted. Luckily she’s into Etsy. Handmade, unique, stone with a ton of character, reasonable price.

Every couple is different, and everyone has different expectations. A good relationship is about communication, and that involves communication about expectations about thing like rings. If my fiancée insisted on a $3000 ring, and thought I wasn’t fit to marry without one, I would never have proposed.

KC
KC
4 years 3 months ago
I never wanted a diamond ring because I have a negative view on the diamond industry in general. I’m more interested in the metal in the wedding band than the rock on the engagement ring. I will probably just get a nice gold band. What should a man spend? Don’t base it on your monthly salary just because a commercial told you to do so. Find out what she wants. If it seems too high either save up for it, or try to negotiate. If you can’t find a price you both agree on, then maybe you should consider if… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
4 years 3 months ago
I agree with the comments about meeting both peoples’ expectations. When I was a teenager, I always said I wouldn’t marry a man unless he gave me wedding socks instead of a ring. After my husband and I had been dating awhile, we talked about marriage and decided neither of us liked the “man proposes to woman and she decides whether to accept” thing. He did want a ring to signify that he was taken, so we bought matching hammered silver bands on Etsy for about the same cost as the fancy wedding socks we picked out. We proposed to… Read more »
Anon for this
Anon for this
4 years 3 months ago
When my now-husband proposed marriage, he did so without a ring, so the act of engagement was separate from the presentation of an object (an appeal to my feminist tendencies). He explained that he knew I hated surprises, and that I should get to choose something I wore for the rest of my life (the promise of a ring was an appeal to my traditionalist sensibilities). So I ended up with the uncomfortable reality of having a lot of say in how much he spent on my engagement ring. As much as I like to think I’m pragmatic, aware of… Read more »
Rebecca
Rebecca
4 years 3 months ago
I have to weigh in on the side of “it depends on the couple involved, and their backgrounds, desires, resources, and expectations”. I don’t think there’s a “should”. I think that talking about it together and making it a shared financial *and emotional* decision bodes well for a healthy and mature partnership. I also think it’s rather chauvinistic to suggest that women only *say* they don’t want a big flashy ring because it’s mixed company or they don’t want to seem like a gold-digger but they’re actually either lying or don’t know their own minds. I think the number of… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 3 months ago

I’ll add one more thing, and then I swear I’m done.

It makes a big difference that he WANTED to buy me a fabulous engagement ring, and that I was the one who said, “Actually, if you want to show me how you value me, that’s not a great way to do it.” It would be very different if I felt like he didn’t want to, or he saw it as a burden. I probably still wouldn’t want one, but I wouldn’t be nearly as happy about my choice – because it wouldn’t be a choice we made together.

Henri Heikinheimo
Henri Heikinheimo
4 years 3 months ago
Short answer: None, or maybe max 10-20 % of the month’s salary. Long answer: Maybe I’m too young or live in the “wrong” country, but I would NEVER pay 2.5 month’s salary or more for a ring. If you can get a good looking ring for under 50 bucks or so from ebay, why the heck would you pay 10k or even 20k for that? Diamonds aren’t any prettier than crystal, nor can I tell the difference between electroplated piece of jewelry and a real one. And even if you decide to go for a real thing, small is usually… Read more »
John
John
4 years 3 months ago
A friend had this theory on how to figure how much to spend on an engagement ring: Ask your girlfriend a hypothetical question, “If you came into a bit of unexpected money (through inheritance, lottery, etc), lets say $25k after taxes, how much would you spend on a new entertainment setup for us (you know, flat screen TV, surround sound speakers, receivers, etc)?” Whatever she says, is what you should spend on her ring. I know it’s silly, but it kind of shows how much she would unselfishly spend on something you get more value from than her… similar to… Read more »
E.Duke
E.Duke
4 years 3 months ago

I live in the deep south and interviewed 10 of my friends today who have gotten engaged in the last 5 years and here is where the numbers fell:
Three got theirs for free as heirlooms
Two spent 1000-3000
Four spent 3001-6000
None spent 6001-10,000
One spent 10,001+

I’m also looking for a ring right now and have budgeted between three and four thousand

Seth C
Seth C
4 years 3 months ago
I went through this about a year and a half ago, and I think my experience was a little different from most that I’ve read in these comments. We went shopping for rings together (can you imagine spending this much money on something and just *hoping* that the other person is going to like it?). We actually found that to be the most fun of the whole experience — finding what we liked and mocking some of the ridiculous things on display. After looking for a while, we narrowed it down to two settings that she loved. One was very… Read more »
E.Duke
E.Duke
4 years 3 months ago

This is an excellent point. The first time I went to look at rings my girlfriend came with me and we had a blast looking at them together. She doesn’t have to be involved with every step of the process, but she’ll love it and it makes the experience of walking in the jewelry store the first time a little less intimidating.

AA
AA
4 years 3 months ago
As a newlywed who didn’t want an engagement ring and whose wedding band cost ~$60, I know I’m not the norm and this conversation is fascinating. Seems like a lot of men and women are still pretty traditional in this area even as gender roles have become a lot more fluid (how many women stop working after getting married these days, for example? probably not many.) I wonder if this question needs to be asked with a corollary, which is: “How much should you spend on a wedding? And who should pay for that wedding?” I have a feeling that… Read more »
Steven
4 years 3 months ago

I work for a jeweler.

It is surprising how many engagement rings are bought with the help of the soon to be fiancee.

I think it makes a lot of sense.

However, I think a good surprise will add a really awesome element to your whole engagement story, so you have to weight your options.

We cater to a younger (25-35), affluent, educated crowd. Most of our customers pay cash for their rings.

The ones that use plastic are usually doing it for the points or airline miles.

sendaiben
4 years 3 months ago

As much as the buyer is comfortable with 🙂

If this is different enough from the receiver’s expectations that it causes a problem, they probably don’t have much of a future as a couple (in my experience people with different attitudes to money don’t do so well together).

I think I spent about $900 on the engagement ring, and another $300 on the wedding ring (my wife wears them together).

Nikkence
Nikkence
4 years 3 months ago
I found this fascinating because I’m obviously from a different culture entirely, either due to my country (Australia) or my social network. (Many of my friends have a higher eaerning capacity than their partners, which may have something to do with it as well.) I’d never heard of the 2.5 months’ salary guideline and being the clumsy git I am, I would be terrified to be wearing something worth that much on my hand (plus, I don’t like diamonds). Several of my friends would be in a similar situation if for no other reason than that they’d be taking it… Read more »
mustardseed
mustardseed
4 years 3 months ago
There is no amount of money a man “should” spend on an engagement ring. The whole idea of engagement rings IS anachronistic and vulgar in spite of the fact that everyone does it. It’s like a way for women to show they they are “wanted” and thus have “value” and their value is linked to how much cash their man has. Have you ever witnessed how a woman with a big honking ring gets all awkward when they get comments on it, even though they’re clearly flashing it around? But engagement rings are just the tip of the institutional marriage… Read more »
Jason
Jason
4 years 3 months ago
Personally, I would never have spent multi-thousands of dollars on an engagement ring… I suppose we went into the $2500 range when you consider all engagement & wedding jewelry (roughly $1600 on her ring, she spent roughly $250 on a watch for me, then around $600 for both our wedding bands… if I recall correctly). I just didn’t consider the ring to be so important that it required a larger financial outlay. We picked out the setting she wanted, which was more expensive than she had originally thought she’d want, I picked out a diamond slightly smaller than I would… Read more »
Kate
Kate
4 years 3 months ago
I never thought I wanted a pretty sparkly diamond until I had one on my finger. It’s amazing how much your attitude can change when you have it there. So yes I thing culture and society do play a part. As a female it’s really nice to have people look at your hands and oooo and ahhh over it. My husband spent $2500 on my engagement ring but through negotiating had managed to get $1000 off the price … So I feel like I’m walking aroun with $3500 worth of sparkly on my fingers but know that it cost less.… Read more »
Jenna
Jenna
4 years 3 months ago
So, here’s something I’d like to see a discussion about. Most of the discussion has been about what would make the woman happy. What say does the man have in it? What if the woman wants something simple and the man wants something more complicated for some reason? For us, what I thought I wanted before I went ring shopping was different than what I actually liked on my hand. (I wanted to go shopping with him because it was going to be on my hand forever and I wanted to like it. I don’t normally wear jewelry so this… Read more »
Shaquita
Shaquita
4 years 3 months ago
As a female I have watched many of my friends flash big shiny rings around. I helped my brother buy and engagement ring for his girlfriend. The original price was $900.00 but I waited until the Christmas sale and purchased it for $250.00. Though I would love a $2000.00 ring I would hope I chose a man who wouldn’t pay outright for such a ridiculous thing. It would be my only piece of jewelry and I think it would be ok to wait until we had been married for 3-5 years before he gets me a nice ring. Unfortunately with… Read more »
Judith
Judith
4 years 3 months ago
So many of these answers that repeat share the same assumptions: That you will marry when you are young, and (generally associated) poor (Sasha points out that when you’re older you can afford more, but then makes the totally silly point that it would be “embarassing” to have a ring that cost 5k or less); that it matters to you what your friends and/or family think of the ring; that it’s up to the man to pay for the ring. We married in our late thirties, when our salaries together were well over $250k/yr. We decided together on a budget.… Read more »
Khairy
Khairy
4 years 3 months ago
Haha, I love this conversation. I have to say that finding out how much people pay for engagement rings and wedding bands in this side of the world was one of the biggest culture shock for me. I come from a culture where people rarely wear “wedding proof”. Seriously, I had a hard time at first understanding why people fork out so much money just to prove others they have a husband or a wife. What? Maybe I am being to simplistic, who knows. I just know that I’ve never seen my mother wear an engagement or wedding ring (married… Read more »
Khairy
Khairy
4 years 3 months ago

I should mention that we were students when we were engaged and got married, so maybe the $400 would be more if we were getting engaged with the means we have today 🙂 But again, I come from a place where people don’t even buy engagement rings, not really in our customs. 🙂

Paul
Paul
4 years 3 months ago
Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, but I’m staggered by the number of commenters here with variations on the same few points: 1. X months salary / X$ 2. Whatever she can compare favorably with her friends’ rings so she (and you) won’t be negatively judged 3. Whatever she expects Why would you ever try to place a dollar value on something that’s purely a symbol of something that you can’t place a dollar value on in the first place? If a woman expects or demands (literally, psychologically, whatever) a certain value of ring (or a certain value of wedding) then… Read more »
Chris L.
Chris L.
4 years 3 months ago
The first time I got married, we were young and eloped, there wasn’t any engagement ring. The second time I consulted with her about what she would like in a ring, but I knew very little about rings, yet still ended up with something pretty. It’s an emotional process that we do our best to rationalize. As a symbol, it says, I’m willing to spend a large chunk of my income on you, so you do in fact mean something to me. This works even more for those who are using rings passed down from one generation to another since… Read more »
aelle
4 years 3 months ago
You should discuss it together, because 1. it can be a huge financial decision and hopefully after the proposal the 2 of you are going to be a single financial unit, and 2. because it’s a very loaded, irrational, emotional event. And that’s not a bad thing: most traditions associated with weddings (and love and family in general) are hugely based in emotion and not in reason. That’s perfectly okay. It doesn’t mean that you need to embrace all of the Wedding Industrial Complex, but that you as a couple need to examine this institution and figure out which parts… Read more »
Steven
4 years 3 months ago
De Beers manufactured demand in America, but they also rode a wave of middle class prosperity and class movement. For a woman of the late 20th century, the ring was a symbol both of the man’s means and his commitment, two vital things for a jobless housewife. With more women working, personal finances more likely to be shared within the couple, and later ages for couples making their futures more legible, the diamond loses its value as an estimate of the breadwinner’s value. I remember this great explanation I heard for the extravagance of an Indian wedding: “if we make… Read more »
Ed
Ed
4 years 3 months ago
A lot of people are focusing on a dollar value, which makes this is an impossible question to answer, because everyone is different. I am interpreting the question in a slightly different way. What people should focus on instead is finding a way to pay as little as possible, once the “requirements” have been defined (i.e. you’ve talked it over with the future fiancee, figured out the size and cut of the stone, the ring metal and setting, etc). You can do this by using your network. Here’s a 3-step process to getting a good deal: 1. Find a design… Read more »
Benson Wallace
4 years 3 months ago
On wedding rings and conscious spending: My wife is Chinese. Modern Chinese women are known for being notoriously materialistic in their search for a husband. Anyway, her cousin recently got engaged. The guy spent $25000USD on a ring. I spent $1500 on wedding bands and the engagement ring combined, and even then I had to negotiate her down (there was no proposal “moment” for us. We just lived together for 2 years, and then gradually realised we might as well get married. We didn’t even plan to have a wedding originally, but in the end had a small one due… Read more »
Harm
Harm
4 years 3 months ago

If I was going to get married, yeah, it would be to someone I love. Do I feel
it’s smart to spend 2 or 3 times my monthly salary to PROVE that I love her
(or him)? No. I expect my intended to appreciate spending the money on
a future house payment, tuition payment for one or more kids, or a few more
months of a comfy retirement….

Tom@easyfinance
4 years 3 months ago
According to me “Love” doesn’t intensify the amount of materialistic expenditure. True love doesn’t come up with the amount of investment that you do in buying gifts for your partner. There are millions of people over the world who can even hardly afford a silver ring for their partner, forget any costly metal. Still their love grow with time. So it hardly matters at the end of the day how much you spend in buying engagement ring, wedding attires and so on. We should spend it keeping our gross income in mind and go on up to the limit we… Read more »
Jeff
Jeff
4 years 3 months ago

The Atlantic article on selling diamonds was fascinating. Does anyone know how the landscape has changed since the 80s?

Paris Hunter
Paris Hunter
4 years 3 months ago

Interesting you bring this up. I read that article a few months back (from a link on Reddit) and I asked a group of my female friends would you prefer a diamond ring or me paying off your car or student loans? The response was interesting. Even after I explained the article and gimmick, all of them (age 24-32) agreed that they wanted a diamond ring REGARDLESS of anything else. And the bigger, the better (long as it is tasteful).

I realized at that point, I need new female friends and to marry someone who can think long-term financially.

Mike
Mike
4 years 3 months ago

As much as you are comfortable spending. It’s all material. Spend the money on an unforgettable honeymoon – experiences last forever.

emily
emily
4 years 3 months ago
I spent the same amount (2k) on my husband’s wedding band as he did on my ring. Apparently I’m allergic to platinum, so I don’t even wear it anymore. Everyone I know said very little when they saw the ring, because I wanted a tiny stone flush with the metal. I think nobody cared essentially because they didn’t have to wear it. I think people *will* continue to spend a lot of money on rings because humans are hopelessly materialistic, possessive and competitive. I don’t think people *should* spend any money on rings, because they are a physical hindrance, and… Read more »
CC
CC
4 years 3 months ago

A little research upfront can get you the best deal. find the local diamond dealers who sell to the jewelers , make an appointment with them and buy direct. you will pay about a 1/3 of the price.

sarah
sarah
4 years 3 months ago
“Ugh! What a heteronormative paternalistic anachronism.” Yes. I honestly feel sorry for the women who want them. It’s so much brainwashing. Just get yourself rings you like, when you want to. If you’ve really been fixating on a diamond ring from a man since you were a little girl, then there might not be much you can do now. It’s sick how much of a woman’s identity is supposed to revolve around her romantic/marital status. The engagement ring is an extension of this. Most of my peers (and at the risk of sounding really elitist, I’ll say we’re all around… Read more »
sarah
sarah
4 years 3 months ago

I should add that I do know people (like family members and my closest friend) who received “nice” rings costing >$10,000. They’re generally more traditional/conventional.

I also know a woman who agreed with her fiance that the money he’d spend on a ring go to a charity instead. Isn’t that 1000x more beautiful? What’s keeping us all from doing that?

Alex
Alex
4 years 3 months ago
From other poster’s comments I’d say how much you should spend depends on: 1)Your hidden script. 2)Your fiance’s hidden script 3)Your social circle’s scripts. (Including parents, co-workers, friends and even neighbors) For some it may be OK to get something in the low numbers. But for others it’s an investment, not in terms of selling it later at a higher price, but a “social investment” Think of it as when you buy a tie – what purpose does it serve? Think about it, why do you wear a tie?. But a cheap one looks, well… cheap. In certain social circles… Read more »
Chris Hess
4 years 3 months ago
When we got engaged I was in college working part time making about $700 per month. I spent $1250 on her ring. I don’t however think there is a number that everyone should spend. I took my girlfriend to a few ring stores and she picked out a ring setting she liked (well a style but I knew which one she loved) and I later went back and got a diamond that fit that setting that I could afford. My thought is that it is important she knows you care about her and the decision of getting married. That means… Read more »
Tracey
Tracey
4 years 3 months ago
Phew. I read them all. I love these discussions and I’ve read quite a few of them over the years. A really excellent discussion is on Corporette, which focuses on the professional/legal world for women. Diamonds can be a tricky thing! http://corporette.com/2011/03/17/diamond-rings-and-the-working-girl/ As for my thoughts on how much should be spent, I completely agree that you need to talk about it but also know that in some cases, that won’t work (well or easily!). Personally I don’t care what he spends because it is important to him. He is important to me and him being happy with his choice… Read more »
MT
MT
4 years 3 months ago
I think it’s pretty subjective. It should be tempered by the man’s income, the woman’s expectations, etc. I never considered myself a “jewelry person” and during my courtship with my now-husband was constantly telling him NOT to take me out to dinner, or buy me expensive gifts, or whatnot. But when he popped the question and spent money on an engagement ring – it meant THE WORLD to me. The symbolism, the sacrifice (because he knew I didn’t want him to take on more debt, he actually sold one of his prized possessions: a Fender guitar, in order to afford… Read more »
B.B.
B.B.
4 years 3 months ago

I am coming from this at a completely different angle than most but it might still apply to some…
I grew up very middle class and married someone significantly older (15+ yrs) who comes from a very affluent family. His late grandmother’s ring was reset for me totaling a little over $50k if purchased today. When I get around most of my social circle I see them looking at it and feeling uncomfortable which makes me uncomfortable. I don’t work professionally and am not trying to impress anyone because I know how much money we have. Bigger isn’t always better 🙂

Lindsey
Lindsey
4 years 3 months ago

Man, I am not going to be one of those chicks who doesn’t want her guy to spend money on her, and I would never go out with a guy who tried to be as cheap as possible. And while I realize that price doesn’t necessarily correlate to quality, it would mean something to me to know that he spent a fair amount to get something nice — not even for bragging rights but just, you know, for the same reason I paint my toenails: it makes me sleep better at night.

Sunny
Sunny
4 years 3 months ago
My husband spent an amount he deemed “painful enough” (eg. required a bit of planning and saving for cash-flow) and also bought me a ring that both he and I are proud to show off and wear everyday and do not plan on “upgrading”. That ended up being a gorgeous 1 ct solitaire in a platinum setting in the $9k range which we researched extensively and bought for a fair price. In terms of my social group, my ring is probably right in the middle in terms of size/cost. As for percentage of salary, its just over 1 month of… Read more »
Buck
4 years 3 months ago
I think one of the interesting things with this kind of topic is the difference between what someone might say and how they would actually feel if you acted in that way. It’s a similar situation with something like a birthday or anniversary or something, when you say you don’t want to do something, or don’t want to give cards, etc. but ultimately most people would probably be exponentially happier if you went ahead and did that “off-limits” action/purchase anyhow. I imagine it’s the same with a wedding ring. The girl might say she doesn’t want 2 months salary spent… Read more »
Angie unduplicated
Angie unduplicated
4 years 3 months ago

I’m with 2. I was married (to a man) without engagement or wedding ring. I later chose a non-slave-labor non-blood-money North Carolina pink ruby and had it set in a family ring from which the diamond had been sold, during the Depression, to put food on the family table.
I also think that huge expensive weddings are barbaric and that any man who marries a Disney Princess is setting himself up for serious sorrow.

John M.
John M.
4 years 3 months ago

Hey Ramit, how about summarizing some of this? You’ve probably already identified some trends.

Alex
Alex
4 years 3 months ago
Complementing: How much should a man spend on a car? (or many other items) The cheapest Nissan/Ford/Toyota/Chevy will bring you to the same places as a Mercedes Benz. But an expensive car isn’t just about transportation. It involves emotions, and we’re irrational with those. You really don’t feel the same driving/riding a cheap car than an expensive one. It goes to your ego – your emotional part. We all want to be different – for the best. And that emotional / aspirational part is what sells expensive cars. Not that they deliver more miles per gallon, cheaper overall costs. You… Read more »
Anonymous cuz they'll hate me
Anonymous cuz they'll hate me
4 years 3 months ago

And there’s the old “I want you to use my grandmother’s wedding ring” trick… and go buy an “antique”.

Kristin
4 years 3 months ago

I got a a simple “proposal ring” ring from my husband then picked out my own sparkly engagement ring..i think we spent more on our custom made wedding bands which have no stones. It’s important she helps with the more permanent jewelry selection!!

Rudd-O
4 years 3 months ago

ITT: people who are being filched by those who SAY love them the most.

may name
may name
4 years 3 months ago

I would not want a stone. Just a 22/24k gold band with some design but nothing super ornate. Why? Simple – gold has real value no matter what and I am not talking about today’s crazy values. In an emergency, you can get money out of gold. A stone? You may not even be able to sell it in an emergency. Do I sound practical or what eh?

Helen
Helen
4 years 3 months ago
My husband and I had long discussions about rings when we first started discussing marriage. I wanted a thick wedding band and no engagement ring because I knew I would not wear it. It was also far more important to me to have the wedding that I wanted with the people important to me attending. So rather than spending the money on rings, we paid for everything for the wedding, including hotel costs and plane tickets to our wedding. We also declined gifts and requested donations instead. We had the wedding of our dreams. This was last summer and I… Read more »
Krista
Krista
4 years 3 months ago
Great answers! I think the most important thing is that the person buying the ring should really try to take into account what their loved one wants. For example, if my boyfriend had a lot of money, yet spent very little on the ring, I think that says something. If he didn’t have much money, and spent a little on the ring, it says something different. Also, I think a key question, that I don’t believe anyone asked, although I have to admit, I skipped the last half of answers because there were so many, is, “Why are you asking… Read more »
Amy Driscoll
Amy Driscoll
4 years 3 months ago
My husband spent the equivalent of a week’s wages (about $200 at the time) on my engagement ring, but he bought it at a pawnbrokers. It’s a rose gold vintage men’s signet ring, which he knew I would love. That had more romantic value to me then a big rock. We also bought our wedding bands at a pawnbrokers that was having a sale about a week before the wedding. I think they cost us about $60 each. We were both students and I didn’t want to start our life together with a massive debt. We did replace them about… Read more »
lhamo
lhamo
4 years 3 months ago
I’m on a quick lunch break and haven’t had time to read all the comments so forgive me if this is repetitive, but I think it is worth stating: if most couples spent half the time/effort/money they put into thinking about/planning/researching the issue of rings and weddings into more longer-term life/financial planning discussions prior to getting engaged, we’d probably have a lot more weathy, happy, long-term couples out there rather than the kind of debt and divorce rates we see in society. What should he spend? Depends on so many things. How much debt do they have? If so what… Read more »
lhamo
lhamo
4 years 3 months ago
PS: Left the final sentence off — meant to say that if he HAD spent a ton of money on a ring I probably wouldn’t have married him, as it would have been a sign that he didn’t really “get” me at all. That being said, I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that he doesn’t quite understand that a small acknowledgement of my birthday, Mother’s Day, etc. would be appreciated. Nothing extravagent gift wise is needed, but offering to cook dinner or wash up would be nice. Cross-cultural relationships are challenging sometimes, even when you are very compatible… Read more »
ravi
ravi
4 years 3 months ago

my wife said “why do you want to waste money on a ring? you can’t do anything with a ring. use the money for a house instead.”

match made in heaven.

prufock
prufock
4 years 3 months ago

Spend as much as you feel comfortable spending, I guess. A man should have a pretty good idea of his wife’s priorities, so if deciding between spending 1000 or 2500, he should know if that extra 1500 bucks would be more valued if spent in some other way.

Jim B
4 years 3 months ago
How much should one spend? No rules. Whatever works for you, personally, financially and socially. I was 49 when I asked my first and only wife to marry me. I knew that she would love it if the engagement ring came from family, so I called my 90-year-old mom and asked her if she had a ring she could send me. She sent two and told me to take my pick. Then I took them both to my men’s group and had them vote. After that they trained me on how to properly pop the question. I had some weird… Read more »
Jenny
Jenny
4 years 3 months ago
I don’t know for sure what my husband spent on my ring. He bought the engagement and the wedding ring together as a set. I love it; It’s beautiful but far larger than I ever would have allowed him to pick out if I had helped. One of the above comments talked about taking her internal script into account as well as his. I honestly think he went in with a vague idea that he had to spend 2.5 or 3 months of his salary on a ring as his only script, and the salesperson saw him coming from a… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
4 years 3 months ago
I know I’m late to comment on this, but just wanted to add that in my observation women tend to be more concerned about engagement rings when their engagements are longer. My hubby and I got married 9 months after getting engaged and during that time we were both in grad school, he was also working full time, we were living in different states, etc. so our social lives were somewhat on hold during that time. I didn’t really have time to think about what other people thought about my ring. But I knew several girls in grad school who… Read more »
Noadi
4 years 3 months ago
First of all I’d suggest discussing marriage and views on rings/fancy weddings BEFORE proposing. I honestly don’t understand straight couples who don’t even talk about it before one of them (usually the man) proposes. When you get married it’s a huge change in your life, especially if you don’t live together before marrying, and that is a decision that should be made at the end of a lot of mutual discussion not a decision sprung on someone unawares (I can’t be the only one who finds big surprise proposals incredibly creepy?). I don’t think this is something that happens as… Read more »
Noadi
4 years 3 months ago

By the way, I should point out the difference in what the diamond industry wants people to spend (2.5x salary) vs what I said I would be comfortable with. If my boyfriend wanted to go the 2.5x route that would be over $10k and I would be afraid to even wear a ring that cost that much. Keep in mind that this would mean someone at the poverty level (about $12k for a single person in the US) would be expected to pay $2500 for a ring. That should tell you just how ridiculous that convention is.

Susan
4 years 3 months ago
When my husband asked me to marry him we were heavy into rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain bike racing… Frankly the idea of any kind of ring with diamonds was out of the question in my mind. I would have probably damaged it or lost it, ie. I wouldn’t have been wearing it much. If we had an extra $2500 laying around , I would have wanted “gear”. 🙂 I had no “traditional” expectations when it came to our relationship. He proposed to me by presenting me with a beautiful wooden box (that he made) and in it was a black… Read more »
Eric S. Mueller
4 years 3 months ago

I’m not sure there is or should be a set amount that should be spent on an engagement ring. When my wife and I got engaged, I told her I’d get her any ring she wanted. She picked up a ring at Wal-mart that cost $129.

Not long after that, she was listening to a morning DJ. A girl called in to say her fiance gave her a ring, but she found a receipt and even though she loved the ring, the receipt said it cost $179 at Wal-mart. My wife hoped the guy dropped her.

Kate
Kate
4 years 3 months ago
I’m with your wife on this one! To me, it’s not what the cost was but the reason I’m wearing it. When my then-boyfriend and I were becoming serious (about 6 months in), I knew it was unlikely we’d be getting married for at least two years, due to the cost of everything. Neither of us were in a great financial place, so I didn’t expect anything. My family loves him, and my sister knew I loved an heirloom ring from our family, that my aunt had inherited. My husband proposed to me about six months in, with the heirloom… Read more »
Chris
Chris
4 years 3 months ago
I got a lot of insight working with an excellent small jewelery store. I have always been into “quality”. I bought a diamond first and foremost, not a ring, and then had it set in a simple white gold setting that I knew my wife would like. I spent a lot of time looking through the microscope and found a beautifully colored and clear, albeit smaller, diamond. In part because of my values and scripts, but also because I knew my wife and she had commented about how some of my female relatives’ diamonds sparkle and shine more than others.… Read more »
Bonnie
Bonnie
4 years 3 months ago
Just to share what I told my husband when he asked me at the time: I had a story about a couple who was just engaged and the stone was small because they were starting out. Unfortunately, the stone fell out during a get-together and there was a group of a dozen women and a very, very, embarrassed guy looking for a tiny diamond in the carpet (we found it eventually). My husband at the same time wanted a nice TV for the new home we were also in the process of purchasing. So – after I shopped for the… Read more »
Jane
Jane
4 years 3 months ago
This is all really fascinating. I definitely agree that expectations have a lot to do with your peer group/family/profession, etc. I’m from a somewhat conservative religious background and got married during college at a university where getting married young (and still a poor student) is very common. The typical norms associated with engagement rings in American culture (as in, a big ring=your spouse has a great job, worked hard to save up for it, must really love you, etc.) didn’t apply quite the same way in that situation. At school, it seemed like having a ring that was HUGE almost… Read more »
Jed
Jed
4 years 3 months ago

My incredible wife had me donate $5k to charity instead. Finding a woman like that is your first step.

Someone else
Someone else
4 years 3 months ago

Yes! I am surprised and a bit sad that this trend has been so slow to catch on! (I’m female, btw.)

punching bag
punching bag
4 years 3 months ago

I spent $4K on my wife’s engagement ring when we married, then upgraded it to a $8K ring 8 years later because my wife really appreciated it. A year after that, she left me, but did not return the ring. She currently lives off support that I pay her and has not made any effort to get a job. I have no objection in spending a lot on a ring for a wife who is faithful to me, but I resent what I spent on an ungrateful parasite.

Holly
Holly
4 years 3 months ago
Wow after reading through the article and the feedback I am feeling a bit guilty and shocked. My boyfriend and I have discussed a ring and we decided that a ring between $5000 and $6,500 would be reasonable. I don’t ever want to upgrade so I want a beautiful ring with a diamond as my engagement ring that I will wear forever. I don’t feel like the one item I will wear for the rest of my life should be something I cheap out on. We are in our mid 20’s and make a combined salary of over $125,000. I… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
4 years 3 months ago
“…how little people are willing to spend on such a sentimental item…” The answer is right here! It’s sentimental, not functional (except to signal status, assuming you keep the sort of company where you need to do so through jewelry). Many women will look at a dinky ring on their finger and think back to how happy they were to get engaged. Other people will look at a dinky ring and think “Dinky ring! He must not love me that much/He must not be a good provider or very successful/What will my friends say.” This is straight out of the… Read more »
Ms. Ivi
Ms. Ivi
4 years 3 months ago
I was 21 when we got engaged. I was finishing up school and he was a successful Investor in his mid 30’s. To me the thought of spending more than $500 on an engagement ring was a sin! And he didn’t really care how much it cost in the sense of what our friends would think or society or being defined by the ring. I guess to us a ring was just a ring. When we got engaged he took me to an engagement rings store and we spent about 5 hours just looking at rings and having a good… Read more »
Alison
Alison
4 years 3 months ago

I am a real bling kind of gal so diamonds are a much loved part of my life. My husband and I took a progressive approach – we spent what we could afford when we got engaged and have since ‘upgraded’ my diamond on anniversaries as our finances has allowed. In most cases you can keep the same setting and enlarge the diamond in it. We have been able to trade in the previous stones towards the cost of the new one. Just one approach.

Laura
Laura
4 years 3 months ago
My then-fiance and I agreed that we wouldn’t spend more than we could reasonably afford on an engagement ring — I say “we” because we were about to combine all our money into a joint account, so any savings he spent was my future money too! I think he spent about $1000 (he was working but about to go back to grad school full-time; I was still in grad school.) Over ten years later, we have two beautiful children and a great marriage — but a few months ago the diamond fell out of the ring and disappeared, we realized… Read more »
Felipe
Felipe
4 years 3 months ago
Spend to feel good about yourself. Spend to make your wife feel loved. Spend so that your wife can make other wifes feel their husband doesn’t love them as much, because they didn`t spend as much. Glad I don’t share this American feeling, even though I admire the country for so many other things, like the capacity to influence people to “spend, spend and spend” to be happy, and profit big while doing it. I am 26. My income streams generate low 6 figures income and I didn`t buy any ring (we both don`t care) and last time I was… Read more »
Brian Harnish
Brian Harnish
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve heard some men (older than me) say, “a man should spend three months pay on a ring.” I make about 50K a year and three months pay is certainly a significant amount.

Another reader wrote, “A woman that is both emotionally and spiritually rich will always be happier than one seeking financial abundance…” I think that says it all.

Ideally, my future wife will share the same morals. Spend more on things that really matter to you and yours; conscious spending should play a role.

Money Mentor
4 years 3 months ago
My biggest advice would be to stay away from large national-chain jewelry stores and stick to small diamond brokers around town with less overhead expenses. The engagement ring I got for my wife several years ago was less than $3500 but that same carat diamond was more than double that at helzbergs jewelry in the mall in overland park, ks. To me, it’s not how much do you want to spend, but rather how much bang for your buck do you really want to get and how much time are you willing to shop around for the best deal?
Bolt
Bolt
4 years 3 months ago

I negotiated with R.H. Macy’s on the engagement ring for my wife. All in all I spent around $3,000 out the door and then had the ring appraised for $9,800. I took an overall view of my portfolio and decided what percentage I would be comfortable with losing. I was concious about how much I was spending and knew that by negotiating, even with a big box store, it would prove to be an advantageous position for me. My Brother’s advice to me after I bought it? “You get married at least once”.

Shannon
Shannon
4 years 3 months ago
I don’t know if anyone’s still reading at this point but I’ll share my opinion/story. My fiancee and I talked about rings in general about 6 months before we got engaged, and I shocked the hell out of him by saying I thought the “3 month’s salary” rule was ridiculous and dreamed up by diamond marketers. He literally thought I was just saying that to mess with him. My point with him was, three months of his salary is basically a car, and I didn’t want to wear a car on my hand every day, I thought colored gemstones would… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
4 years 3 months ago
(Apologies in advance for the British currency; Multiply everything by 1.6 for $$) The comments have made for some interesting reading. I must say I am surprised by the number of people who spend a significant chunk of money on a ring. I had just got my first job after university when I got engaged, I was only earning £16k. A lot of people say that you should be spending 3 months salary on an engagement ring, but there was no chance I was going to spend £4k on a ring. That would be ridiculous. Maybe those people mean you… Read more »
Kristen
4 years 3 months ago
I secretly hope this means dear Ramit is getting closer to making this decision himself. The sensible answer is that the ring needs to be the one that is perfectly suited in style/values for your lady love WHILE falling within a price range that won’t give either her or you anxiety. And in order to figure that out, you and she are likely going to need to discuss rings. Because even if giant 6 carat canary diamond rings are pinned to her wedding pinboard on pinterest… that could still be wrong choice. Some ladies would have crippling anxiety over wearing… Read more »
Gilles
Gilles
4 years 3 months ago
My fiance and I discussed the diamond thing and I made a proposal: let’s forget the De Beers mind-f*** and take 6 months traveling France and Africa building some memories that really last forever (as forever as we’ve got anyway). We also trimmed down the wedding to about $1500. Great trip, great decision. 20 years later, we are still married, and we still love travel (we just finished 18 months of travel around the world with our kids) over shiny rocks. Her work colleagues gave her funny looks when there was nothing to show and I had to deal with… Read more »
ABC_PQRS
ABC_PQRS
4 years 3 months ago
I am from India and I realize every unit (culture, nation, group) would have its norms tied to some tangible (and visual) rite/event/object. Even so, I realize that Americans don’t posess diamonds as much as diamonds posess them. Especially in this conversation. Same with Americans and automobiles. Not sure who is driving who. Don’t worry, there are plenty of Indian equivalents for this. It is so strange people (across humanity) tie their identity to something external and also **devalue** others on the same basis. And, as I see it, this pattern will grow in times to come. Simply because we… Read more »
Katrin
Katrin
4 years 3 months ago
I think the most important thing about engagement rings is that they give a couple a chance to see how each other thinks about money. I used to think that engagement rings were an impractical waste of money (but I still sort of wanted one). My fiance and I sort of lucked out (I thought) because his mother had a lovely diamond that she had saved for him to use for an engagement ring. I designed the setting for it, we took it to a jeweler, and I left it up to my fiance to deal with the rest of… Read more »
Heather
Heather
4 years 3 months ago

I was just looking at Ramit’s survey from 2009 about what people wish they’d saved for in their 20s, 30s, and 40s…and a wedding ring is listed as approximately $10,000. So that must be the right answer. 😉

Jackie
Jackie
4 years 3 months ago

Dear god my finger is sore from scrolling down this far… Amazing.

Now I’d be curious for you to do a follow up post asking the women who have been proposed to when they got the ring if it made them happy, upset them, etc….

I have a friend who is actually putting tremendous pressure on her boyfriend for a ring as we speak. I don’t truly understand what makes women stupid in the head for that ring and if they don’t have it they don’t feel “safe” I suppose.

Rye @ Mis-Sold PPI
4 years 3 months ago

Speaking as a woman, what I value more is the sentiment behind the buying of the ring. I certainly would not want a ring that my partner felt reluctant to buy because of the price. A ring does not need to be expensive to be special. With a little imagination and taste, you can choose a ring perfect for your partner and not spend too much.

Melody
Melody
4 years 2 months ago

I think a guy should spend what he is comfortable with. For some guys its not much for others its a lot.
Whatever, he spends he should think about the desires of his intended as well. Some girls don’t want a ring. Some girls want something subtle and some girls want something flashy. It depends on the person and I think that impacts how much he should spend.
Anyway, to each their own. I don’t think there is a set amount. Don’t go into debt over a ring (that wouldn’t be a great way to start out a marriage).

Luckydragon
Luckydragon
1 year 1 month ago
So I’m wondering if I missed this but, did you know that the whole “two months salary” was actually started by the De Beers cartel in an ad campaign back in the 90s? Don’t believe me? check out this YouTube video with a 30 second commercial that announces just that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUzmUH55iKo I was once a chick dead set on “any many who WANTS to marry me NEEDS to propose with a diamond ring and it better be at least THREE months salary” Well, not anymore. I’m raising up a glass and toasting myself to shying away from nearly a century… Read more »
Luckydragon
Luckydragon
1 year 1 month ago

*any man. How did that “y” get in there?

Jyoti shokeen
1 year 20 days ago

Both men’s and women’s incomes are positively correlated to the amount spent on an engagement ring. The money spent on an engagement ring is indicative of marriage customs found in various cultures such as bride wealth and dowries.

Tommy
11 months 23 days ago

If not then perhaps considered one of her friends
will be happy to ask a number of “innocent” questions and obtain to you.
In the olden age, we were holding used only with the royal class.
This newfound appreciation for tht flash and parkle of diamonds
is proof that men aren’t affraid to put on a little.

motek
11 months 17 days ago

Some people are not able to spend lots of money on diamonds rings but they think about majority that what will other people say if they don’t purchase expensive engagement ring for their partner and buy so costly ring out of their budget I want to give advise such type of persons that they should not follow majority and spend money on engagement ring according to their budget.

Joseph Lee
9 months 26 days ago
Having read through these comments, I think one way to frame the problem is as a cost-utility economic analysis. The utility to be maximized is joint couple happiness. First, you have to figure out your utility measure – what is important to you as a couple and what will make you happy. This depends on your values, your partner’s values, and societal pressures. It requires sincere communication, as many commenters have already mentioned. Given an overall budget and a utility measure, there are many ways to maximize the expected utility. If a diamond is the predominant source of happiness, then… Read more »
Phillip
Phillip
7 months 29 days ago

It’s not about the cost of the engagement rings it’s about what they present.

Sally Mack
Sally Mack
7 months 28 days ago

A man should spend onEngagement Ring as much as he loves the woman he is giving it to 🙂

Tim c.
Tim c.
7 months 27 days ago

I think that Diamond Engagement Rings are overpriced, with the economy like it is today, it’s very hard to get the ring you desire most..

Freda Moss
Freda Moss
7 months 27 days ago

No, I could buy a perfect diamond engagement ring with my income, that is mediocre. So everyone can do it too if you just save a little or a little more depending on what you want.

Leona Paul
Leona Paul
7 months 27 days ago

Engagement Rings are something that can always be affordable, small diamonds or large it’s a matter of taste. Price is a relative object and can go over and under.

Angie Olson
Angie Olson
7 months 27 days ago

You could buy any diamond engagement ring with a little saving 😉

Charlie Keller
Charlie Keller
7 months 27 days ago

I spend third of my paycheck on diamond engagement ring I got for my wife some time ago.

Rudy Miller
Rudy Miller
7 months 27 days ago

For something that your heart wishes like engagement rings the price is relative and can be purchased. Just match your resources with your wishes.

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7 months 21 days ago

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AmmyWilson
AmmyWilson
6 months 22 days ago

What you want to spend is totally on you,yes if your girl forces you to get that particular ring and that to very expensive then it’s time to let her go. I’m also a girl and yes of course even I like Diamond rings the most but when it was my time I didn’t force my fiance to get that expensive ring instead he asked me to go along with him and coincidence was that we selected the same ring.Both of us liked that that one ring and he gifted me that.Really, a lovely ring it is.

Awen
Awen
6 months 21 days ago

Interesting read. From my opinion, Online store is the best place to buy an engagement ring. Here,you will find various designs of engagement rings. Choose the best one according to your choice and taste. It will also save your time and money.Thanks!!
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Beth Gilber
Beth Gilber
6 months 1 day ago

I have a beautiful two stone diamond ring mu husband gave me for engagement and I know he didn’t spend a lot on it. More money doesn’t get you more love!

Lena Neal
Lena Neal
5 months 23 days ago

For good diamond rings I don’t look the price, it
s just the beauty that matters.

Walter Duncan
Walter Duncan
5 months 18 days ago

Today price is very big for diamond rings, so you have to look deeper and more to find the one you can afford.

Gina Henry
Gina Henry
5 months 2 days ago

Diamond engagement rings is worth your money knowing the happiness of the one who is given to.

Mary Fox
Mary Fox
4 months 29 days ago

In my opinion, someone should spend on diamond engagement rings as much as he wants, that is the choice of that one individual. You will always have more or less expensive rings to find.

Sanaya
3 months 17 days ago

The importance of jewelry in ancient Indian scriptures has been beautifully described as a part of life and its well-being. Wearing jewelry not only adds to the beauty and grandeur of a person, but it also brings health benefits.

DianeBlankenship
DianeBlankenship
3 months 3 days ago

i spend around $2500 on my wedding ring. i don’t think its too expensive. The ring was really beautiful.

Robin
2 months 24 days ago

Look at this blog , it helps you to find right diamond in your budget
http://education-diamond.blogspot.in/2016/05/how-to-choose-diamond-diamond.html

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2 months 22 days ago

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Alice
2 months 21 days ago

I agree with Chris’s comment. It’s not how much you spend, it’s how much better the ring you get .anyways, good article..

Kevin Toronto Custom Engagement Rings

It should be whatever you are comfortable spending, set a realistic budget and create something she will love. The most important thing is the love that you will share not the size of the diamond on your finger. We make gorgeous engagement rings for all budgets! Anywhere from $250-$100000.

Braden Bills
2 months 13 hours ago

My son is planning on proposing very soon. He wanted to ask me for advice on finding a ring. I’ll be sure to let him know that it varies, and it might not be a bad idea to talk to his girlfriend about it. Thanks for sharing!

Nancy
1 month 12 hours ago
It’s all about your priorities and where you are in your life. I’m 57 years old, so probably a little older than most of the people who responded. I’m at a different stage of my life. I’ve been on my own now for 11 years. I never thought that marriage would happen for me again, so becoming engaged last week, and having an engagement ring is a VERY big deal to me! I’m a jewelry lover. I collect vintage pieces of different types, as well as fashion pieces. To have a beautiful sparkling diamond on my hand would be so… Read more »
Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
25 days 13 hours ago

How much you spend on an engagement ring its depends upon you, But Now all are like stainless steel jewelry .I personally know a online store named “ZuoBiSi Jewelry Wholesale Store Ltd.”They have all types of trendy stainless steel jewelry like Stainless Steel Rings, Skull Jewelry, Stainless Steel Bracelets, skull engagement ring and many more. Choose your favourite jewelry in your Budget .

Martis Sylvester
Martis Sylvester
24 days 12 hours ago

I believe this question depends upon individuals budget and its capacity to spend on his partner. Sometimes there shouldn’t be any limit when it comes to express feelings. An engagement ring is very special.

mike
mike
23 days 11 hours ago

I spent $1800 and bought a nice ring from https://segaljewellery.com/ .

vera
vera
6 days 21 hours ago
Hello everyone, “[robinson.buckler @ yahoo. com]” helped me out when i thought my life is lost don’t know where its going……… It all started when the father of my two kids left me and sworn never to have anything to do with me and all effort to get him back prove to be abortive and i decided to let things be the way they are cause i felt my life is lost don’t know where its going. But Priest Andrew came into the picture and things turned out to be how i have ever wanted it to be……….I will forever… Read more »
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