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2 Months Rule? This is How Much to Spend on Engagement Ring

Stop This Nonsense There is No Engagement Ring Price Rule

The allure of romantic proposals is undeniable, yet when it comes to budgeting for that perfect diamond ring, the magic can quickly dissipate. So, how can one strike a balance between dreams and reality? The answer lies in a sprinkle of financial savvy.

To begin with, why pay full price when there are discounts to be had? Be strategic about when to shop for a diamond. Seasons like Black Friday, Christmas, Cyber Monday, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day typically see a barrage of tempting deals.

Having earmarked the perfect time to buy, let’s dive into how you’ll pool the funds.

Interestingly, the notion of budgeting for a diamond ring isn’t a novel one. Its roots trace back to the 1930s, thanks to De Beers.

This diamond behemoth, which once hoarded over two-thirds of the global diamond inventory, gave us the iconic ad: “A diamond is forever.”

That very campaign also popularized the widely recognized “2-Month Salary Ring Rule.”

2 Months Salary De Beer Ads for Engagement Ring

How to Budget for an Engagement Ring?

Let’s face it: many of us don’t come with a built-in finance handbook.

We’re swayed by the allure of instant gratifications, swiping our cards without a second thought, and when the time comes to save for something monumental, like an engagement ring, we’re often left floundering.

The reflex? Grasping at age-old “rules” that might not have our best interests at heart.

But fret not! We get the weight of expectations pressing down on you: the aspiration to slide a dazzling diamond ring onto the love of your life. But remember, the true essence of the diamond isn’t in its carats or price tag. It’s the profound love and commitment it signifies that will resonate with the heart of the one you’re proposing to.

This isn’t to suggest that if you’re pulling in a $100,000 yearly salary, you should pinch pennies too much on the ring. Instead, the point is about striking a balance. (Stay tuned, we’ll be dishing out some guidelines).

Whether your annual earnings are $20,000 or $100,000, there’s a diamond out there that’ll sparkle brilliantly, casting its enchantment on your beloved.

JamesAllen Mothers Day Promo

Debunking the ‘Two Months Salary’ Rule: Why it No Longer Holds Water Today

You’ve probably heard the adage: “A man should spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring.” Often, this is trotted out as a response to the perennial question: “How much should I budget for an engagement ring?”

Let’s begin by calling it what it is: a rather outdated guideline. Here’s why:

  1. Origins with an Ulterior Motive: This “two-month rule” was birthed by the diamond giant De Beers in the 1930s. With a clever advertising pitch, they aimed to persuade men that if they truly valued their Janes, they’d willingly part with two months’ salary. The ad’s sentiment was captivating:

    “You can’t look at Jane and tell me she’s not worth 2 months’ salary,” the ad reads. It goes on to hint at the effect the “investment” will have on other guys: “Now the only thing that other men ask her is, ‘When’s the wedding day?'”

  2. Time Changes Everything: Even if this rule ever made sense, it was tailored for the 1930s. A century has since passed, and societal norms and financial landscapes have evolved dramatically.
  3. Does the Math Add Up?: The rule advocates for spending the equivalent of two months’ salary. But let’s dissect that: If you earn $50k annually, you’re advised to shell out $8,000 on a ring. Yet, when factoring in taxes, bills, and other outlays, is your two-month take-home genuinely $8,000? For many, that $8,000 represents much more than just two months of net income.
  4. Love Beyond Price Tags: Can you truly quantify love in terms of a ring’s price? The essence of commitment shouldn’t be distilled down to a dollar amount.
  5. The Journey Beyond the Proposal: While popping the question is a monumental step, it’s merely the beginning. Beyond the engagement lies the wedding and, crucially, married life. Draining your reserves on a ring might leave you unprepared for subsequent expenses.
  6. Revisiting the Motive: It’s worth reiterating: The origin of this rule is more commercial than sentimental. Always remember point #1.
  7. Every Couple is Unique: Applying a blanket rule to something as personal as engagement ring budgets is overly simplistic. Every couple’s financial situation, priorities, and stories are unique. A one-size-fits-all rule? Not quite practical. (And yes, circle back to point #6 for emphasis).

How Much Modern Men Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Today’s world spins quickly, and so do our habits, especially when it comes to spending. And amidst this whirlwind, there’s a big question that lingers: “How much should one set aside for that perfect engagement ring?”

Following the Trend? Here’s the National Average

Many prospective fiancés tend to glance at the average engagement ring cost of their proposal year as a reference point. And while some city slickers might lean towards the pricier side, a lot of folks find comfort in that average range.

2018’s shimmer: The average ring set buyers back about $7,829 (Bride.com)
2019’s sparkle: A slight downturn brought it to $5,900 (The Knot)
2020’s glow: In a year marked by pandemic upheavals, rings ranged between $3,800 & $5,500, according to several surveys.

But here’s a key takeaway: These numbers are guidelines, not mandates. Everyone’s financial situation is a unique mosaic. If a $4,000 dazzler stretches your budget, that’s fine! Bypassing debt or postponing that heart-melting proposal for a pricier jewel might not be the wisest move.

The Net Income Two-Month Rule: A Modern Spin

Here’s an updated twist to the classic 2-month rule: Consider banking every penny from your net income (that’s after the taxman and bills have had their share). For instance, if your annual tally is $100k but life’s essentials shave it down to $20-30k, use this as your base. Whether you save the equivalent of 1, 2, or even 3 months from this, the choice remains yours. Just remember, these aren’t fixed rules, they’re just diverse lenses to view your decision through.

Fun fact: A Walmart survey pointed out that nearly 60% of Americans think spending under $2,000 on an engagement ring is just right!

Being Open with Her

Being forthright in relationships can be a game-changer, though it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve come across numerous couples who share an admirable transparency, discussing pivotal decisions—including the engagement ring budget—with ease. However, a word to the wise: not everyone appreciates this level of openness.

For those navigating such conversations, here’s a subtle strategy: bring up the subject in a casual, general manner. Ask her views on engagement expenses. Or perhaps, if you’re aware of a recently engaged couple and their ring budget, use that as a conversation starter.

Regardless of the path you choose, one golden rule prevails: avoid starting your journey towards marriage in debt. If possible, pay for the ring in cash. Your beloved would rather know that you’ve made a sound financial decision than learn you’ve plunged yourself into debt for a sparkling stone. After all, love is understanding, and if she truly cherishes you, she’ll value your financial prudence.

Remember, it’s a huge red flag to kick off your marital journey in debt. Why let debt overshadow the initial steps of your forever journey?

Setting Your Budget: The Next Steps

So, you’ve crunched the numbers and you’ve got a budget in mind. Awesome! Now, let’s embark on the exciting journey of finding that dream engagement ring.

While online shopping is all the rage, and we vouch for reputable platforms like James Allen or Blue Nile, there’s something to be said for visiting a brick-and-mortar jeweler.

Doing so can offer you firsthand insights into diamond nuances – understanding the significance of size, spotting differences between seemingly identical stones, and getting a feel of the market pulse.

We encourage you to read our exclusive review: James Allen Vs. Blue Nile Full Comparison & Review

Before you head to your local store, equip yourself with diamond basics. Having a grasp on this will not only help you follow the jeweler’s lingo but also empower you to ask the right questions. And a bonus? You’ll instantly recognize if a salesperson’s pitch seems off.

No need to scour the internet endlessly. We’ve curated a comprehensive repository for you.

Kick-off with The 4Cs Guide. Truly digest these four foundational aspects – and, spoiler alert, Carat isn’t king. Delve into our article for more insights.

Following that, our guide on Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring covers the breadth and depth of what you need for a smart diamond ring decision.

Once you’re loaded with knowledge, revisit the aforementioned online platforms and commence your quest for the dream ring. A pro tip? Begin with the diamond’s quality rather than its setting. This ensures you maximize the quality for every dollar spent.

And About Carats?

Approach with caution!

Starting your search based on carat can quickly send your price estimations into a tailspin. For instance, the price range for a 1-carat diamond can swing wildly from $3000 to $8000. It’s paramount to narrow down other aspects before zeroing in on carat size.

Aim for a diamond with at least an ideal cut, one that’s visually flawless (usually an SI1), and a near-colorless hue (like a G or H grade). Once you’ve ticked these boxes, then select your desired carat.

On the topic of color – don’t get lured into buying the ultra-high D or E color grades. They’re often overvalued and won’t give you the most sparkle for your buck. We might sound radical, but even an F color grade might be more than you need!

For a deeper dive into carats, check out our guide on How Diamond Carat Influences Size & Weight. We’re confident it’ll demystify the intriguing world of diamonds for you.

Important Notes

As you embark on the exciting journey of diamond selection, here are some crucial points to keep in mind:

  • Certification Matters: Ensure your diamond is graded by a trusted lab. GIA and AGS top the list in reliability and reputation.
  • Shapes vs. Cuts: Shapes and cuts aren’t synonymous. Before diving into details, ascertain the shape your significant other adores. With over ten shapes available, the round shape remains a timeless favorite.
  • Beyond the 4Cs: While clarity, color, carat, and cut (the 4Cs) are essential, don’t neglect technical aspects like Fluorescence, Polish & Symmetry. These elements play a pivotal role in a diamond’s overall beauty and brilliance.
  • Trust Your Eyes: Beyond the specs and certifications, observe how a diamond feels to you. Does it sparkle in a way that catches your eye? That personal connection and the fire within the stone are invaluable. Remember, it’s not just about the specs but how it speaks to you!
  • Diamond First, Setting Second: Think of the diamond as the star of the show, with the setting as the supporting act. A stunning setting won’t redeem a poorly cut diamond. Plus, your setting’s metal hue should complement, not dictate, your diamond’s color. Just as you wouldn’t choose a car based on your outfit’s color, choose the diamond before its setting.
  • Financing Your Purchase: If you’ve stashed away funds for this big purchase, hats off! If not, while credit cards are an option, they might not be the wisest one. With accruing interest, you could end up paying much more than the diamond’s actual cost.

Finding The Right Ring

Determining her ring size is one hurdle, and you can delve deeper into that with our guide on Finding Her Ring Size.

However, when it comes to choosing the ring style, that’s an entirely different ball game:

Engagement Ring Styles

  1. Understand Her Preferences: Chances are, your lady already has a vision of her dream ring. After all, she’ll be the one showcasing it for a lifetime. To discern her style preferences, you can play detective: have a casual chat with her, or enlist her close friends for hints. Another tactic? Peek into her jewelry collection to glean insights about her favored ring styles.
  2. Embrace Flexibility: If she has a specific ring design in mind, that’s great! It narrows down your search. But if she’s open to options? Even better! This gives you a broader canvas to work with and the freedom to explore diverse engagement ring designs and settings. Need inspiration? Click here for a curated list of breathtaking engagement ring designs.
  3. Where to Purchase: With the ring design in tow, the next quest is determining the ideal place to make the purchase. Remember, where you buy matters as much as what you buy.

Finding the ideal engagement ring is an adventure in itself. It’s about merging her dreams with your dedication, ensuring the result is a sparkling symbol of your shared journey ahead.

Conclusion & Where to Buy

If luxury is within your grasp and you wish to give your partner nothing but the finest, by all means, indulge. Let her shine brightly with the most exquisite engagement ring. After all, treating your loved one to a lavish gift is a joy in itself.

However, PRIORITIZE YOUR FINANCES. Remember, it’s the sentiment, not the size or price of the stone, that truly counts. Diving into debt for a fleeting moment of extravagance isn’t the wisest move. Begin your journey together on solid ground, not shaky financial footing. If your beloved cannot appreciate the essence of love over the cost of a ring, it’s worth re-evaluating certain priorities.

Whether your budget caps at $1,000 or stretches to $100,000, platforms like James Allen and Blue Nile offer a treasure trove of options suitable for every pocket.

For more on why Whiteflash is our top pick for superior diamond shopping, peruse our in-depth Whiteflash Review. Your path to the perfect ring begins with knowledge and ends with an informed choice. Happy shopping!

Still not sure where to buy your diamond?


We always recommend shopping diamonds online and created a Full guide to shop diamonds like a Pro.
Among online retailers, here are our favorite stores click their logo to visit store

  1. James Allen:

    Our favorite online store, best diamond imaging technology available today, comes with the largest collection with more than half a million loose diamonds.


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  2. Blue Nile:

    Widest collection of loose diamonds of all sizes, great imaging technology for most of their inventory (hundreds of thousands of diamonds), great customer support.


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  3. Whiteflash:

    Home Of A CUT ABOVE® Super Ideal Diamonds, they stand out from the crowd by offering premium diamonds cuts, tailored to those who love the details, at great prices too.


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