How much to spend on engagement rings

How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

With a recent study suggesting that smaller engagement rings lead to more successful marriages, there has been a lot of discussion about how much to spend on engagement rings and weddings. The study surveyed straight couples in the US and found that men who spend $2000-$4000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than those who spent less than $2000. Men who spent less than $500 on an engagement ring were also more likely to divorce, suggesting that there are thresholds for both minimum and maximum budgets.

It is tempting to point to these figures and then create rules for what is appropriate for everyone. Lots of people ask ‘How much do you spend on an engagement ring?’. The truth is, of course, that every couple is different. This is not only about their tastes, but also about their income and financial health. It is important to be honest with each other about what you think you can, and should, spend. You certainly shouldn’t feel pressured to go into debt, or to otherwise agonize when browsing the biggest engagement rings. Rather than asking ‘How much do engagement rings cost?’, consider how much you are willing and able to spend. It really comes down to what’s right for you.

Traditionally, couples have been told by the jewelry industry that two or three months’ income is a standard budget for an engagement ring. In reality, what it comes down to is how much you value the purchase, and what that translates to in terms of your own finances.

If someone knows their future wife isn’t particularly fond of jewelry, or would much prefer to put the money towards a house down payment, for example, this should be taken into account. If a lesbian couple wants to both wear diamond engagement rings, this will of course need to be factored into the budget. The key is to communicate and, if need be, compromise. These are valuable skills to hone before saying “I do”.

While money can be a significant factor in why divorce happens, it’s less about the dollar amount and more about the big picture. Couples should be open with each other about their expectations, their goals, and their values. This is about much more than the engagement ring – it’s about your vision of a future together.

Do you have a clear idea about how much to spend on engagement ring? Have you discussed it with your partner, or do you want to keep the proposal a complete surprise?