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How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

You're ready to take the plunge, but are you willing to break the bank on an engagement ring? 

Tradition holds that you should be willing to spend a few thousand dollars on a diamond engagement ring. However, in this day and age, you have many other choices that disrupt this nearly-impossible spending goal. 

Even if you have a very tight budget for an engagement ring, you can find your sweetheart a token of your affection that's both beautiful and long-lasting. Inexpensive engagement rings are not only worth every penny you spend, but their real value is also in how much money they save you.

The Old Spending Rule

Devised by De Beers

You probably already know the phrase, "A diamond is forever." The De Beers diamond company created this slogan in the late 1940s, following several years of poor sales leading up to the Great Depression. American consumers immediately began believing this tagline and buying diamond engagement rings as symbols of their everlasting love. When De Beers started insisting that an engagement ring should cost the same as any buyer's income for two months, this suggestion became an essential rule of engagement for decades.

That sum likely amounts to a few thousand dollars. What are you supposed to do if you can't make that kind of investment?

3 Reasons Why It's a Bad Idea

1. You'll Waste Your Paychecks

The traditional rule about spending two months' paychecks to cover the price of an engagement ring does not work in this modern age. The cost of living and other monthly expenses have skyrocketed since the 1940s when the De Beers campaign initially launched. Student loans, medical bills, and high rent rates use up most of the salaries many of us are earning these days. And even if you and your girlfriend are pooling your incomes, money can still be pretty tight.

What should you do, then, if you can't afford to sacrifice the sum of a few paychecks to buy an engagement ring? You could delay your proposal until you've saved up enough to make such a significant investment, but that could take years!

You shouldn't let your finances hold you back from proposing to the woman of your dreams, especially if you're ready to begin a new life with her now. Why should a piece of jewelry make one of the most important decisions of your life for you?

2. You'll Have to Borrow Money

You might feel tempted to borrow that lofty sum of two months' paychecks for that high-dollar engagement ring. We have some sage advice for you on that matter: Don't do it!

There's no reason to stick with tradition if it means it'll take years to pay off that diamond engagement ring. Maxing out a few credit cards and accruing substantial interest payments isn't worth following De Beers' advice. 

Maybe you can find better financing options through a jeweler's credit line. Perhaps a rich uncle could lend you the dough without charging you interest. These options are better than massive credit card debt, but they still aren't great.

Even if you only borrow an amount of money that you're confident you can pay back in a year, that's still too much. The less debt you bring into a new marriage, the better. Avoiding another bill or loan payment will mean that you have more cash to build and enjoy your new life with your bride. You can save up for the big things, be better prepared for anything life throws your way, or start making beautiful memories together through adventures and experiences. Don't throw any of that away for an unaffordable engagement ring you'll spend years paying off.

3. You'll Settle for Less While Still Paying More

When you visit a brick-and-mortar jewelry store to buy an engagement ring, salespeople working on commission will try to convince you to buy a smaller, off-color diamond. This tactic is designed to make you think that you're getting a good deal, even though you'll be buying an inferior rock. 

Prices of engagement rings are lower when they're set with lower-grade stones. However, you can find something just as breathtaking without sinking thousands of dollars into the diamond trade.

Rather than buying a low-grade diamond ring, look for something with bright and pristine cubic zirconia. You won't have to worry about the stones looking yellow and dim or having inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. And by selecting a metal other than gold or platinum, you'll be getting a much better deal with the same amount of shine. 

Think about it: Would you rather have a small, expensive rock on a platinum band or something that looks the same at a fraction of the cost with none of the debt?

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How Much Should You Really Spend?

You don't have to feel ashamed for being unwilling to spend two months' pay. Don't be afraid to spend less than you thought was necessary on an engagement ring. The real value here is being a smart enough shopper to be able to save money to build a new life together.

Take a hard look at your income. How much of your paycheck is going toward living expenses, debt, and savings? How much is left over? That remaining sum should give you a clue as to how much you can pay for an engagement ring. A few paychecks' worth of these leftover dollars is the maximum amount you should realistically pay for an engagement ring.

You might not have very much extra money to burn at the end of the month. Even if you do work out exactly how much you can spend on an engagement ring, you don't have to buy the highest-possible option in your price range.

What you do need to do is find a sensibly priced ring that your girlfriend will cherish. 

 

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Set a Realistic Budget

You don't need to stretch your paychecks as much as possible to get a gold or platinum band for your engagement ring. Focus instead on setting a budget for an engagement ring that will let you save for the future at the same time. Instead of putting aside eight weeks of paychecks for jewelry, start saving a reasonable percentage for the life you'll be building with your bride-to-be. The money still left at the end of the month when you've paid all your bills and padded your savings account is what you can spend on an engagement ring. It's as simple as that.

Once you decide to stick with a realistic engagement ring budget, it might be a good idea to have a conversation with your girlfriend about expectations. If you think she'd be disappointed by something that isn't a platinum band encrusted with diamonds, express to her either directly or indirectly that you can't put a price on your love for her. 

Any engagement ring you could buy will never match your affection, no matter how much that piece of jewelry might cost. The goal of choosing a cheap engagement ring is to prepare for the future and build a happy life together.  If she's on the same page as you, she'll understand.

Get Something Meaningful

Okay, so there isn't room in your budget for an engagement ring that's dripping with diamonds. That doesn't mean you can't find something that makes a worthy token of your undying love for your partner. Far from it, in fact.

Beyond shopping for cheap engagement rings that have the look of expensive pieces, search for options that will be meaningful to you and your fiancee's relationship. Perhaps you'll find something that reminds you of a memory the two of you have shared. Maybe there's a specific birthstone or another stone color that means something to both of you.

For example, our Deep Blue sapphire engagement ring in sterling silver at Jewels for Bride is a piece that carries a lot of significance. Beyond representing the birthstone of people born in September, its beautiful, blue, oval-cut stone is an ancient symbol for trust, loyalty, and protection for the wearer. How deeply romantic!

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Find a Bargain Online

Now that you know that you don't need to spend two months' pay to get your girlfriend a great engagement ring, it's time to start shopping. Prices of engagement rings vary online, but as long as you find a trusted seller with quality products and good shop policies, you should feel safe buying something inexpensive. 

If you want an incredible selection at your fingertips, consider making Jewels for Bride your one-stop-shop. Our engagement rings won't cost you more than $100, our rings' metals and stones provide all of the sparkle without the huge price tag, and every single one of our rings comes backed by a lifetime warranty. 

When you shop with us rather than a brick-and-mortar jewelry store, you don't have to deal with pushy salespeople trying to earn a commission. We don't have to ramp up our prices to cover our overhead costs. And we want to make sure you get a brilliant engagement ring that your sweetheart will love, regardless of how much it costs you.

The prices of engagement rings found on Jewels for Bride are the perfect fit for your smart shopping budget. Start preparing to pop the question by buying an extraordinary engagement ring from us today!