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How much should I spend on an engagement ring?

By Danielle

Senior diamond consultant; standing by to provide personal advice. She knows exactly what you are looking for while keeping your budget in mind.

March 12, 2018

Ahh… there it is: the question that makes even the strongest men sweat. “How much should you spend on an engagement ring?” It’s a delicate question. Spend too much and you seem at best a showoff and at worst reckless. Spend too little and you come across as cheap. That’s why you want to avoid both scenarios at all cost. Sounds easy, right?

Forget the rules

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation online about what an engagement ring should cost. You’ve probably heard of the two-month salary rule. It’s an old and quite flawed rule. According to it, if you make, for example, €3,000 a month, you should spend € 6,000 on an engagement ring.

man holding a box with diamond ring
However, most couples get married in their late 20’s. They often have student loans they are paying off or are saving to buy a house. The gross income of 3,000 euro is a lot more than what they actually take home in net pay. Combine this with the increasing costs of living and coughing up 6,000 euros seems a lot less easy than it sounds.

Okay, so how do I find out how much to spend?

There are several factors you need to take into account when you want to find out how much to spend on her ring. First, there are your partner’s expectations and secondly your financial situation.

1. Your partner’s expectation

We get it, really. You’re not looking to spend too much on a ring. She knows you love her, and she loves you, so it’s the thought that counts. Right? Well… maybe not so much. You have to realize the ring matters to her. It is a symbol of your love and commitment. It shows you are prepared to build a life together. Many women have dreamed about their engagement ring for a long time. For her, it will be the most important piece of jewelry she will ever wear. Don’t mess this one up and make sure you’ll get a ring she will love. You get bonus points if the ring will make her friends a bit jealous.

woman showing her engagement ring to friends
Sounds heavy, but you can relax. She will love and appreciate the fact that you spent the effort to find her the perfect ring. Most women are not looking to bankrupt you over an engagement ring.

2. Your financial situation

The most important thing to remember is that you don’t want to put yourself in a high amount of debt for the engagement ring. What you should look at are:

  • Current income
  • Expenses in terms of food, bills, current debts or student loan you’re paying off
  • Savings: how much have you saved and how much can you save per month?
  • Potential income. Especially when you are in a job with a lot of growth potential in the next couple of years. If you expect to earn a lot more in a couple of years, you can use that knowledge to spend a little more in a responsible way.

Determine the budget

The best way to make sure you’re both happy is to have an honest conversation about expectations and finances. You’re going to share a life together, so you should really be on the same page when it comes to things like this. And who knows. Maybe she’s open to the idea of going Dutch on the engagement ring.

man and woman discussing finances

When you’re saving money for a down payment or pay off student loans, you need to figure out how the engagement ring fits in with those goals. Is it possible for you to save a couple of hundred euros a month? Add this to some savings you already have and you know the budget you’ll have in a few months. When you know how much you want to spend on an engagement ring, you can start looking around for the ring you want.

Give me the numbers anyway

Did you notice it’s kind of hard to find out what people spend on an engagement ring? We sure did, but we found them for you. The amount people spend in general on an engagement ring:

The Netherlands
€ 2.100 (around $ 2.600)

The United States
€ 4.500 (around $ 5.500)

The United Kingdom
€ 1.700 (around $ 2.000)

€ 2.800 (around $ 3.500)

€ 4.000 (around $ 5.000)

sign here comes the bride engagement ring

In the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, in general, people spend about three weeks of salary on the engagement ring. People in the United States and Australia seem to spend a ring of about 1.5 months worth of (gross) salary. This is quite close to the old ‘two-month salary’ rule. China takes the cake when it’s about engagement rings in terms of salaries. They spend more than 2 months’ (about 2.3) worth of salary on their engagement ring.

Help! I can’t spend that much

Don’t let these general numbers pressure you into buying a diamond ring of that specific amount of money. These numbers are averages, so there are always people who spend more and those who spend less. If you’re worried you can’t afford a ring for a price as mentioned above, we do have a few tips for you:

1. Shop not during peak times (e.g. right before Valentine’s Day), but after.
2. You can make the ring look more impressive with a different design. For example, the setting of a halo ring makes the center stone to appear much bigger.
3. Choose an alternative cut. Opt for an engagement ring with a Princess or Oval cut instead of a Brilliant. These cuts lose less of their diamond in the grinding process. Therefore cost less per polished carat.
4.Compensate with a spectacular proposal. Chances are she will talk about it for years.

man proposing to woman

Last but not least, Royal Coster has rings for every budget. If you have the budget in mind, our diamond consultants will help you find that perfect ring for that perfect woman. If you’re also looking for an original and romantic way to propose, check out our Engagement Workshop.

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