Average Engagement Ring Cost: How Much Should You Spend?
You’ve finally met the one person you can envision spending the rest of your life with. They get you. You share the same dreams, the same goals and, of course, boundless love. It’s time to propose to this special person. How much should someone spend on an engagement ring?
What Does the Average Engagement Ring Cost?
According to The Knot, the average engagement ring cost in 2022 was $6,000. Keep in mind that this figure is not a benchmark. It is a national average of all engagement ring purchases and is influenced by a variety of factors, the most noticeable being region.
Moreover, on average, young millennials and Gen Zers think an engagement ring should cost less than $2,500, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll, on behalf of TD Ameritrade. They tend to reject the three months’ salary axiom, while younger couples often foot the bill for their own weddings, making less money available for the engagement ring.
What Is the Three-Month Salary Rule?
The old rule of thumb for engagement ring shopping was that three months of your salary would be the right amount to spend. This amount is actually based on a highly successful marketing campaign by De Beers, a diamond company, to boost diamond sales. It can be traced back to the 1930s when it launched the iconic tagline “A Diamond Is Forever.”
This marketing campaign successfully tied engagement rings with diamonds and not only increased profits for the company exponentially but also made high-quality diamond rings the standard when you are deciding how much to spend on a ring.
How To Shop for an Engagement Ring Without Going Into Debt
Purchasing a diamond engagement ring should probably not land you in debt. However, this investment has the potential to make your money grow, and a diamond’s value isn’t likely to increase over time. Here are seven factors to consider when it’s time to buy that perfect engagement ring.
- Set a budget
- Comparison shop
- Shop online
- Consider a different stone
- Be flexible with clarity, carat weight and color
- Buy vintage
1. Set a Budget
Setting a budget for your engagement ring should be part of your overall budgeting strategy.
How much can you afford to spend on engagement and wedding rings? Set a budget before you go shopping so that you don’t get talked into spending more than you can afford. These days, more and more couples are shopping for the engagement ring together, which has many advantages:
- Ring shopping is an experience you can share.
- No guessing about what size to get.
- They can try on rings and see what they like best.
There is a huge variety of engagement rings with different colored bands, unique stones and cuts. Take some of the gamble out of the guessing game and shop with your soon-to-be fiance. Certainly, you lose the element of surprise, but you can make the way you propose a surprise instead.
Set a Budget Together
Today, many women often earn less than men, while couples are often saddled with student loans and other debts. This may be why the majority of Gen Zers and millennials think spending less on an engagement ring is appropriate.
Setting a budget together will set you up for a sound financial future. The wedding and engagement industry may want you to think that the more you spend, the happier your marriage will be, but that’s not entirely true. It seems that there’s a sweet spot.
Financing a Ring
If you must finance a ring, look around for a credit card with 0% financing and pay it off as quickly as possible. Jewelry stores have financing options, and some may offer 0% for a certain period of time. But be careful, because if you take longer to pay than the 0% interest period, you’ll get hit with the financing costs. These costs usually start from the date you took out the loan.
2. Comparison Shop
Visit a few different jewelry stores to get a sense of what’s out there. The markup on diamonds at a jewelry store can be up to 200% of the original cost. If you go shopping at Tiffany’s or Cartier, you’ll pay more, but there’s some wiggle room, and some jewelers may have better prices than others.
In general, chain jewelry stores are more expensive because they have higher overhead and advertising budgets.
You can negotiate on more expenses than you might think, and engagement rings are one of those things. Find either an independent jeweler or a wholesaler and have at it. Here are some negotiating tips you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Go when the store is quiet — jewelers don’t normally want to negotiate in front of an audience.
- Make sure the person you’re talking to has the authority to negotiate.
- Don’t go shopping during busy seasons such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas.
- Mention you’re shopping around.
- Be prepared to walk away.
4. Shop Online
You’re more likely to get a good price from an online retailer because they have lower overhead costs. Make sure when buying an engagement ring online that it is with a reputable jeweler and read reviews before you shop. Most importantly, make sure the ring is certified.
You can save money by shopping online, or you can use the information you find to negotiate a better price at a local jewelry store. If you decide to buy from an online retailer, make sure the ring shipment is insured and that there’s a money-back guarantee.
5. Consider a Different Stone
Diamond engagement rings weren’t a thing until just after World War II. Consider a sapphire — it worked for Princess Diana. Sapphires can make for great engagement rings because they’re strong and have great hardness. Emeralds and tanzanite, on the other hand, are more delicate and prone to chipping.
6. Sacrifice Clarity, Carat Weight or Color
You can save money by going with a smaller center stone. You can also respect your financial situation by getting a lower clarity rate, given that diamonds are graded according to how close to colorless they are.
- Color: Completely colorless diamonds are graded D and go all the way to Z, which would be slightly yellow or brown-looking.
- Clarity: Diamonds often come with tiny dings and birthmarks. The complete absence of these marks occurs in flawless diamonds, which are both very rare and very expensive.
- Cut: The cut is a major contributor to the diamond’s cost and is responsible for the sparkle and brilliance. Consider getting something other than a round brilliant diamond, which is the most expensive cut, such as pear, oval, square or emerald.
7. Buy Vintage
For a truly unique engagement ring, consider buying an antique ring. Talk to your spouse-to-be about this before jumping in, as some people love history and some people just don’t. Vintage guarantees that not everyone else has a ring that looks just like yours. Another benefit is that older diamonds typically cost less than similar-looking modern diamonds.
Final Take To GO
Despite what diamond companies would have you believe, the success of your marriage does not rest on what engagement ring you choose or how much you spend on it. The ring is a symbol of the love you have for each other and it doesn’t define your relationship. Whether the price tag is above, below or right at the average engagement ring cost, what’s most important is that you purchase something you can afford and that your intended spouse will love.
FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about average engagement ring costs.
- How much should you spend on an engagement ring?
- There are no rules on how much you should spend on an engagement ring. Gone are the days when it is suggested to spend three months' salary. Find something within your budget that you know the person you want to spend the rest of your life with will like. If you find a beautiful ring for $1,500 there is no need to spend $2,000 or $3,000 on a different one just to meet some sort of societal standard.
- Is $2,000 too much for an engagement ring?
- There is no set amount that will be too much or too little for engagement rings as everyone's financial situation differs. That said, you can find a beautiful ring for $2,000 by shopping around, comparing stones and maybe even buying vintage.
- Is $3,000 enough for an engagement ring?
- There are plenty of engagement rings in the $3,000 range. Keep in mind that buying an engagement ring should not run you into debt and you should set a realistic budget as beautiful rings can be found at any price.
Elizabeth Constantineau, Caitlyn Moorhead and Jennifer Taylor contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of April 21, 2023.
Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.
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- Brides. 2023. "Everything You Need to Know About Engagement Ring Shopping as a Couple."
- Brides. 2022. "How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring."
- Brides. 2021. "A Complete Guide to Diamond Cut."
- The Werner Law Group. 2021. "Top Reasons For Divorce In 2021."
- The Knot. 2021. "Do People Still Follow the 3 Months' Salary Rule for Engagement Rings?"
- The Knot Worldwide. 2021. "Outdoor Marriage Proposals Skyrocket in 2021, According to The Knot 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study."