Thereâs nothing like falling in love and finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. But when itâs time to shop for rings, itâs easy to get discouraged by the price tags. Just how much should you spend on an engagement ring? Weâll dive into the topic and discuss ways to save on the big purchase.
Find out not: How much do I need to save for retirement?
What the Average Engagement Ring Costs
Maybe you canât buy love. But if youâre in the market for an engagement ring, youâll quickly realize that it wonât be cheap. According to the Knotâs 2016 Real Weddings Study, Americans spent an average of $6,163 on engagement rings, up from $5,871 in 2015. Wedding bands for the bride and engagement rings combined cost between $5,968 and $6,258.
If you want your wedding to happen sooner rather than later, keep in mind that on average, couples spend more than $30,000 to tie the knot. Thatâs roughly how much you can expect to pay for everything from your wedding reception and DJ to your cake and your photographer. Location matters when it comes to weddings, however, so you might be able to save some money by choosing a more affordable place to host your ceremony.
How Much Should I Spend?
Conventional wisdom says that anyone planning to propose to their partner should prepare to spend at least two or three months of their salary on an engagement ring. But spending too much isnât a good idea for various reasons.
A recent study conducted by Emory University connected pricey rings to divorce rates. Men who spent more money on rings for their fiancees were more likely to end their marriages. Thatâs a possible long-term consequence of overspending on an engagement ring. In the short term, using a large percentage of your money to buy a ring might prevent you from using those funds to pay bills or stay on top of your debt, which can hurt your credit score.
If the marriage doesnât work out and your ex-spouse decides to sell their diamond engagement ring, its value wonât be nearly as high as it was when it was first purchased. Thatâs why diamond rings can be such bad investments.
So exactly how much should you spend on an engagement ring? Itâs a good idea to make sure that the price you pay doesnât prevent you or your partner from accomplishing whatever youâre planning to achieve in the future, whether thatâs buying a house or having a child. Rather than following an old-school societal notion that says you should spend x amount of money on a ring, itâs best to spend an amount that wonât compromise your financial goals or jeopardize the status of your relationship.
How to Save on the Ring
If you donât want the engagement ring youâre buying to break the bank, itâs a good idea to learn as much as you can about the rings and what makes some more expensive than others. Diamonds are the gems most commonly used in engagement rings, and if youâre buying one for your significant other, itâs important to familiarize yourself with what jewelers refer to as the four Câs: clarity, cut, color and carat weight.
In terms of clarity, the best diamonds are flawless, meaning that they donât have any blemishes when viewed under a microscope with 10 power magnification. Since no oneâs eyesight is that powerful, you can get away with choosing a diamond with a lower clarity grade that costs less. Getting a diamond that has fewer carats (meaning that it weighs less) or getting one that isnât completely colorless can also lower its overall price.
Or donât get a diamond at all. Your partner might be just as happy with a simple band, a white sapphire or an emerald ring and it probably wonât cost as much as a diamond engagement ring. Shopping for your ring at a vintage store, looking for one online rather than in-person and getting a ring with a series of smaller stones surrounding the center stone (also known as a halo ring) are a few additional ways to save when buying a ring.
Thereâs no need to spend a fortune on an engagement ring. And you donât have to feel guilty about cutting corners in order to find one that you can afford to buy.
Like any other major purchase, itâs a good idea to take time to save up for a ring. If you have to take on more credit card debt or a personal loan in order to buy an engagement ring, itâs a good idea to find out how long itâll take to pay off your debt. It isnât wise to begin a marriage by digging yourself (and your partner) into a deep financial hole.
Tips for Getting Financially Ready for Marriage
- If you havenât already, start talking about money. Itâs important to establish an open dialogue and make sure you understand and respect each otherâs money values.
- You might also consider sit down with a financial advisor before the big day. A financial advisor can help you identify your financial goals and come up with a financial plan for your life as a married couple. A matching tool (like ours) can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First youâll answer a series of questions about your situation and goals. Then the program will narrow down your options from thousands of advisors to three fiduciaries who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.
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