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Popping the Question Without Breaking the Bank: How much should engagement rings cost, anyway?

So, you’re ready to pop the question? Before you do, let’s talk engagement rings. Price to be more specific. Here’s a hint: don’t break the bank. Base your purchase on your budget, not the budget you think everyone else has in mind.

Before you buy, ask yourself:

  • What’s her style?
  • What type of setting will work best for her lifestyle?
  • What are you comfortable spending?

Outdated Adages

Somewhere along the way, friends started telling friends to spend two months of salary on an engagement ring. This isn’t the 1950s and you’re smart enough to ignore a big diamond company’s advertising tactics.

So what should you spend? The average person spends around $5,000-6,000 on the right ring. When you look at the average salary, that’s more like 1.22 months’ salary. I’m here to tell you that it’s less about price and more about the final product.

It’s Not (all) About Size

Maybe you’re thinking you need to find something the size of a small boulder to make you’re girl happy. In most cases, that’s just not true. Most people have stronger preferences when it comes to the cut of the diamond and the setting it’s in. Keep these two things in mind and, budget-busting or no, you’re sure to have a happy fiance.

Think About Her Style

Unless you’ve been playing it way too cool, everyone around you knows you’re about to ask the big question. Use this to your advantage. If your future fiance hasn’t dropped you hints directly, just ask around. I’m sure she’s told a close friend or family member exactly what she wants. Once you’ve collected the intel, start shopping around. Build a budget based on what she likes and what you can afford.

She’s Not Going to Ask, So You Won’t Need to Tell

Speaking from experience, I am absolutely in love with my engagement ring. The last thing I want to know is how much it set my husband back. I love the diamond, I love the cut, and I do not want any bit of (non)buyer’s remorse attached to it. Most people won’t want to know, so the price isn’t going to be an issue after the deed is done.

Don’t Break the Bank

Presuming she says yes (and if we’re at this point, I’m guessing you’re pretty confident), once you’re married your debt is her debt. The last thing you want to do is discuss a payment plan for that big rock she’s been proudly showing off.

Maybe you’re not a great planner. Did you wake up this morning and think, “Gee, I think I’ll pop the question this weekend!” Hey, no judgment here. When you know, you know! In this case, you probably don’t have a chunk of change set aside for a ring. If you absolutely have to go into debt, make sure it’s not the life-altering kind. Try to choose a ring that you can pay off in a reasonable amount of time with payments that won’t affect your lifestyle.

The bottom line is, don’t go into debt to buy the biggest, shiniest ring you can find. Save what you can, and spend what you have. Trust me, the price won’t matter. Taking the time to choose something you know she’ll love will mean the most.

You’re Sure You Have the Right One, So Get Her the Right Ring

Take the time to find out what she wants. You’re both going to be looking at it for a long, long time. Ask for inspiration and shop around for something meaningful that matches her style. As long as it’s the right ring, there is no wrong price tag.