The Romantic’s Guide for Life: How much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

In this guide:
The National Average
The Perfect Ring
Making the Price Right


The single most powerful word in the English Dictionary often comes with work and effort. In the context of D-day or a man’s proposal day, it is the mission, the objective, and the Holy Grail. So before the wedding bells ring, before taking the knee, and before the I dos, all gents must go through the rite of passage of picking the best ring for the loves of their lives.

But how hard could it be? It’s as simple as taking your wallet to the store, right? Take a step back and think about it: this is one of the most memorable things that will ever happen in your life; the moment you set foot on that shop, you’ll face a thousand, seemingly identical, options that can paralyze the best of the brotherhood; and, there’s an age-old uncertainty amongst men regarding how much to spend on engagement rings. So, it’s time to take a deep breath and admit that there are layers to be unfolded before happily ever after. Still, it’s apparent where to start. The first step to every successful venture — research.

They say diamonds are girls’ best friends. If this is the case, then where does the engagement ring fall under these proverbial relationships? In every proposal, the ring is to be presented as the coup de gras, the knife in the back, or for more appropriate idioms, the icing on, what could be, the future wedding cake. Given all these elements of pressure, sentimentality, and complexity, what does a man have to do to know how much to spend on an engagement ring?

The National Average

In 2020, The Knot, an innovator in the wedding industry, found that the acreage cost of an engagement ring is $5,500.

Now, this is, by no means, the best indicator of the ideal price. This is just the “good to know” part of the data, so consumers have a reference. There is still a multitude of factors to consider.

Through The Knot 2020 Jewelry and Engagement Study, a fourth of their research respondents spend between $1,000 to $3,000. As a matter of fact, 11% of these respondents still spend under the thousand-dollar threshold.

It’s still important to note that $5,500 is a national average and is, therefore, subjected to a plethora of factors, like regions and states. For example, the Mid-Atlantic spend the most on engagement rings at $7,600, while the West, tied at third with the Midwest, average at $5,400. The runner-up when it comes to spending on engagement rings is the Northeast, recording their average at $6,000. The Southeast spends the least on rings at $5,250.


Ah, of course, all thriving industries have their fair share of myths. For the engagement ring market, the more commonly referenced myth, and perhaps the most prominent one out there, is the three-month salary rule.

It’s as simple as it sounds. The myth pressures consumers into using three months’ worth of income for the engagement ring. In an ideal world, or perhaps for the more able demographic, this would be an excellent and straightforward way to find the ring of your dreams. 

The movement started around the beginning of World War II. And back then, it began as the one-month salary rule. Folks at The Knot and many other industry leaders find this practice unrealistic and ineffective in setting a one-size-fits-all standard, let alone for helping consumers get the best out of their circumstances.

Many ring-buyers also turn to Engagement Ring Calculators. While this isn’t necessarily a myth to avoid, it’s also not the ideal gauge for engagement ring prices. Engagement Ring Calculators can still be effective in giving consumers a ballpark price. It determines a budget for the user by gathering information on income, lifestyle, and debt-to-asset ratio.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is weigh your actual capabilities and your partner’s expectations. The hook is, you can choose a ring that can symbolize your union and adventures throughout these years.

The Perfect Ring

The perfect ring doesn’t just magically pop up, unlike the question on proposal night. It’s going to take some looking. According to The Knot, there are three things to consider as you spelunk through the shimmering stones in the jewelry store: Financial Situation, Partner’s Expectations, and Meaningfulness of the Ring.

Financial Situation is the evaluation of what you have going on in your life, financially. This is especially important to assess if you intend to have ring payments moving forward. You are the captain of your ship, so you will know what you will need.

There are a couple of ways you can approach your Partner’s Expectations. You can ask to window shop with your partner outright and even ask them for their preferences. But, of course, most gents would want the whole affair to be a surprise. Another approach you can take is asking the family for guidance. Consider their history of style, hobbies, and overall lifestyle while thinking about all the gifts you’ve given in the past as well to find a ring that suits her personality and life.

In case it hasn’t been said yet, different elements of the rings have different meanings. The band, the stone, and other ornaments all tell different stories. Consider the meaning of band patterns, gemstone symbologies, and other stories one can tell through rings. This may need some more research, but it’s an assurance that the ring is more than just a piece of fine jewelry.

Making the Price Right

Consumers aren’t as powerless as they seem when it comes to the price of their rings. With the help of seasoned jewelers, tips for impacting the cost without heavily suffering on quality are within reach.

Tell a compelling story by ditching the diamond altogether. As the centerpiece of many luxurious rings, the diamond is the most expensive part of an engagement ring. Consider opting for a white sapphire as it can withstand the rigors of daily use while having a similar aesthetic effect.

Also, consider novelties like rubies, emerald, blue sapphires that all hold different symbologies. These considerations are an excellent way to hit the third metric, Meaningfulness of the Ring, and get a home run!

Manipulating one-half of the four important Cs can come a long way. According to jewelry expert Taylor Lanore in collaboration with BRIDES, “as long as you can’t see inclusions to the naked eye, you’re in great shape.” 

Lanore also added the clarity is independent of every other aspect of the gemstone and does not affect the overall brilliance.

The rest of your life is just right around the corner. Research and data can only do good in the quest of finding the ring that looks perfect not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually connects you, your partner, and your stories.

Welcome to forever, gent.

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