One of the first questions that people ask when they are about to propose is “how much should an engagement ring cost?” There are many different schools of thought on this and every situation is different. Here are some tips for budgeting for an engagement ring, and how much an engagement ring should cost.
Figure Out What You Can Afford
It’s definitely a good idea to set your engagement ring budget before you start shopping. There are many benefits to this. One is that setting your budget first will help you narrow down your search. You won’t have to spend time looking at a bunch of rings that are out of your price range and can instead focus on those that you can afford. Setting a budget before you shop also takes a lot of stress out of the process, and you’ll have one less decision to worry about when you enter the store.
But how much should an engagement ring cost?
We’ll all heard sayings like “two months’ salary” or “three months’ salary” but these “rules” are really just guides to follow. They're not written in stone and they don’t apply to everyone in every situation. To figure out how much you should spend, think about what you can afford.
Every individual’s budget is different. If you’re paying down student loan debt, credit card debt, or have large mortgage payments to make, you’ll have less money available to you than someone who doesn’t have any of these costs, even if your salaries are the same. While you obviously want to get a great ring, know that your future fiancée likely won’t want you to put yourself in a bad financial situation to get one. You can always upgrade your ring later.
Determine What’s Important
Different rings will have different prices, depending on their style, size, type, etc. Each of the 4 Cs of diamond quality (color, cut, clarity, and carat weight) affects the price of a diamond. You likely won’t be able to afford the absolute best in each category (after all, very few can) so you’ll have to figure out which aspects are the most important to you, and which ones you can adjust a bit to reach your price range.
Keep in mind that the cut of a diamond best determines its beauty and sparkle. This is because a well-cut diamond disperses light into various colors, which are perceived by the eye as flares. This is appealing to the eye. Plus, a well-cut diamond also has greater brilliance and scintillation, meaning that light reflects from the surface of the stone and it sparkles when the diamond or its light source is shifted. The result is a diamond that appears more beautiful, and even sometimes larger, than one that is poorly cut.
Some people start off by picking a carat weight first, but this isn’t necessarily a good way to buy an engagement ring on a budget. Two stones can be the same carat weight but, depending on their cut (and other factors), they can look very different from one another. Instead, when you are choosing a diamond ring on a budget, look for a good cut first and then find a well-cut diamond that fits your budget.
You’ll also want to consider whether or not you want to have a custom engagement ring designed. Custom rings are truly unique, but there is a cost associated with this service. If you want to have ring custom-designed, keep this in mind when you are choosing your budget.
Once you’ve set your budget and figured out what kind of ring you’d like, don’t just run out to the closest store and buy your ring there. There are many, many different options out there when it comes to engagement rings, so make sure to shop around for the best price and selection.
You may even be able to find a deal by shopping online. Online jewelers are frequently able to offer lower prices as they do not have to spend money on a large space to showcase all of their rings. Shopping for an engagement ring online is also a great way to comparison shop. It’s a lot easier to compare prices, styles, and rings from different stores when you’re using the internet than it is to do the same in person.