Budget Basics for the Engagement Ring




Historically, the engagement ring was a way for the man to show the woman (and her family) that he could make a conscious effort at saving and could take on the support of a family financially. By saving for the ring, he showed that he was capable of saving for a future home. Should the couple fall upon hard times, there would always be the ring to ‘pawn’ in order to get through. In this day and age, couples are getting engaged later, women have become equal earners so men in most cases do not have to “prove their worth” in dollar amount…  However, anyone budgeting and purchasing an engagement ring should remember that it is an investment. This ring will most probably be passed from  generation to generation. Getting the best metal, the best stones and the best design you can afford is not a waste of money.




Below are some steps to help you decide on how much to spend on the engagement ring:

1- Start browsing online to get more familiar with engagement ring prices. You will notice that settings and center stones are sold separately in most cases. Though the price of each setting is set, the overall cost of the ring will change depending on the quality and size of the center stone.

2- Crunch numbers and decide on an overall budget and lay-away plan. It used to be a two months salary recommendation but it’s silly, just make it work for you.

3- Once your budget is set, you have to make a decision on where to spend most of it, the setting or the center stone. It really depends on what your fiancé is more excited about or adamant she wants. A specific “ring” or the biggest diamond you can afford. So let’s say she really wants an expensive setting, you can pick a diamond stimulant or CZ or color gemstones as the center for now, until you can afford the real thing. Or focus most of your money on the center diamond and pick a simple solitaire setting, then upgrade the setting down the road. There are also popular middle of the road options . Pick a halo type setting (1 or  2 halos of little diamonds surrounding the center stone), a cluster of diamonds (the center stone is made of 4 or more diamonds to give the illusion of a larger stone from further away)  or a special cut that will make the center diamond look larger and be more affordable than a classic brilliant cut (such as the rose-cut or the L’Amour Crisscut).


Browse our engagement ring gallery here to find some inspiration!

Ring and pendant pictured designed by L’Amour Crisscut and Christopher Designs.



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Comments (16)


  1. Lori Wright says:

    I love jewelry! If I was rich, I’d be broke on jewelry, especially rings! I just wish I had someone special in my life :(

  2. William Stout says:

    My name is William Stout my wife and I will be married 30 years in June of 2015 I would like to find her something nice because I would like to renew our vows I am a disabled veteran of Afghanistan and I am going to try and get my dress blues purchased between now and June I was injured in Afghanistan 4 years ago so if you have any ideas and can help me with this task that she has no idea of what im wanting to do.Thank you

  3. Matt says:

    Does the 2 month salary before or after taxes?

  4. juliette says:

    Hi Matt,

    The two month salary “rule” is more of a guideline than a rule, what’s important is showing your love, not a series of digits like on a tax form.
    Hope this helps,


  5. Michael Ayala says:

    I just want everyone to know that I’ve finally met the woman of my dreams, Lauren R, and I’m absolutely and infallibly in love with her. Merry Christmas everyone :)

  6. jacob says:

    This was clearly written by a woman… who in the heck would spend that much on some ring with a rock that was pulled out of the ground… screw it, if she loves you then she will be focused on spending the rest of her life with you and not the ring, if she’s more focused on the ring, leave her.

  7. Depends on how long we’re together and what our relationship is worth. Don’t want to be a fool. I had one that I thought I might spend the rest of my life with but she proven to be the biggest pain in my existence.

  8. Todd says:

    Lori, please don’t give up. There is someone out there for you. Trust in me. I was once like you. I was 500 lbs, living in my mothers laundry room and was addicted to huffing perfume samples from magazines. Then it came to me. By sharing my thoughts on the internet I could get what I want. I am now 112lbs, living in my own penthouse and rubbing perfume behind my ears all because of the advice of Internet strangers. Never give up.

  9. Michelle says:

    Does anyone really know why we need an engagement ring to propose, or just need one in general?? It was for diamond companies to get more people to buy jewelry, so they started mentioning women needed a ring to become engaged in their ads. Men can’t propose to their women unless they had a ring. It’s just so jewelry companies make more money, there really isn’t any other reason behind the engagement ring.

  10. Heather says:

    michelle, when I was in college, I did a 12 week long research project on wedding traditions. There of course is no “need” for an engagement ring however its an age old (many many centuries) tradition for the man to provide some sort of gift while “taking” a bride. However it was Mary of Burgundy who received the first ever diamond engagement ring. Her groom Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Many many years before that the Egyptians have each other bands made of gold and silver. So you see it’s not really the jewelry companies making it up, unlike Hallmark holidays; it’s more like De Beers doing a great job of marketing and the fact that diamonds are more affordable/available now then they ever were even a hundred years ago. I’d rather receive an engagement ring than my husband give or receive a dowry. This is much more romantic. Plus you by no means have to buy a diamond. TONS of woman prefer a color gemstone instead. Hope this sheds some light on the subject.

  11. Cyndy says:

    Just recently got engaged to the love of my life and it up to the man on how much is relationship is worth, he will determine what he is will to spend. Also factoring his budget and the style of his future wife.

    As for myself, my fiance spent three months salary and I would consider him as a classic gentleman. We are a bit older and established in our careers 24yrs old female and 31yrs old male

  12. Pedro says:

    the two month rule is for sheep who like to give there money to the industry. This industry is a joke. A party that would cost $10k for any other reason costs $30k if you mention wedding. If you s/o needs a ring that’s two months of your salay then you should run the other way. How about putting that money towards a house, vacation, honeymoon or you know actual wedding. If you spend more than $5k (I spent $3k) then you are asking for it. My s/o adores her ring and it’s not a big diamond as you can’t get a big one for a reasonable price. What a crooked industry! Be smart. Buy a house save your money retire early and experience the world. Would you rather have a huge diamond or 3 more vacations with priceless experiences. Screw you and the horse you road in on wedding industry. The world would be a better place without your unneeded, unwarranted and useless stigma. If you think any different. It’s because you aren’t married or have haven’t been married long enough. Experiences are what matter in this life not material things. On your death bed you won’t think of your beautiful engagement ring but you will think of how you spent your time with your loved ones. Make it count.

  13. Mandi says:

    I think diamond size and price is over rated. Can you take it when you die? Nope! I think it is all about love. I really don’t care if my Mr. Right proposed with a penny with the middle cut out, I’d be proud to say yes.

  14. Mandy says:

    First of all, you men are haters.

    Most importantly though, keep in mind that this is something she is going to wear every single day for the rest of her life. Are they expensive? Yes. But nothing else you will ever buy her will be more important than this ring. Homes are bought and sold throughout a lifetime. Same with cars and everything else. This she is going to wear this one ring for decades to come. And it will be the most important piece of jewelry she will ever own, reminding her of the day you proposed, your wedding day, and all the good things since. Oh, and I heard the 3-month rule, not two. Of course, it does depend on your financial capabilities, her style, and so forth.

    So buck up and do the right thing. Don’t be a cheap bastard.

  15. Ashli says:

    The thing about an engagement ring is that it is forever. Your wife/ fiancé will wear it almost everyday for the rest of her life. No, you can’t take it with you when you go, but many people pass it on for generations to come. If it’s remarkable and symbolizes something as amazing as the marriage and lifetime that you share then who ever receives it later will also carry that with them forever. So guys, don’t be cheap and splurge a little. As previously mentioned houses come and go but that ring is forever. Besides most down payments on a house are well above around $5k. Also if financially you aren’t there yet to spend a lot then you can always upgrade later on or add to if you renew your vows or something.

  16. diana says:

    Can I pay part if I want something very expensive? Were in our late 40’s second marriages for both.

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