The simplest answer to this question is this: It’s up to you. You shouldn’t feel obligated to spend the traditional three months’ salary (which is a lot!). Engagement rings vary widely in cost, and the amount you’re willing to pay depends on a variety of factors, but the biggest ones are how much can you afford, and how much are you willing to spend?

You shouldn’t go into debt to buy a ring, but it definitely should cost more than the average birthday present. But don’t worry! There are gorgeous rings available for $500 or $5,000 and everywhere in between. Think about when you want to propose and set up a plan for saving a little each month. The total amount you can afford to save is how much you’re able to spend. Easy enough, right?

What does an engagement ring cost?

You probably know that a large diamond costs quite a bit, while a smaller one is more affordable. But there’s more to consider when it comes to rings than size. Buying a diamond involves the 4 Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Cut has the largest effect on price, and since it determines the shape and look of the diamond, cut is also the thing most people care about above the other factors.

The type of metal you choose will also affect the cost, as well the presence of additional stones around the setting or band. And, just like with any other product, buying a big brand name is more expensive than buying a lesser-known or house brand.

It’s a good idea to talk to your partner about what they’re looking for in a ring, or, if you can’t without giving your whole plan away, see if their best friend has any suggestions. 

How can I save money on an engagement ring?

You don’t want to skimp on a ring, but there are ways to cut costs and avoid dropping your life savings on this one purchase. 

First and foremost, do your research. Shop around online and at different jewelers to get an idea of cost and compare prices. Similar rings shouldn’t vary too much in price from store to store, but if one store is more expensive, you can know to avoid them.

A great way to save is to go with an alternative gemstone, instead of a diamond. These rings are becoming more and more popular as couples look to save money, and going with a sapphire or an emerald can have a significant impact on price. 

Talk to your chosen jeweler about your budget limitations and what you’re looking for, and they can work with you to help you find something stunning that fits within your budget.