Marketing can be a tricky thing. Take for example, the engagement ring. The belief that a guy has to spend the equivalent of two or three months’ salary on a shiny diamond ring is all a result of clever marketing from a diamond company.
Really, there is no average engagement ring cost. The recommendation comes from a company who has a clear incentive for you or your future spouse to spend as much as possible on the ring.
I’ve been married for a few years now and I can say that I would have been pretty disappointed in my husband if he had dropped several months’ salary on the engagement ring.
That’s three months worth of emergency savings, in case something should go wrong, down the drain. Or, it’s a sizable chunk of our mortgage paid off.
It’s also a considerable investment in our son’s college savings fund flushed away on something that can easily be lost or stolen.
It’s Up to You
I realize that not everyone has the same values when it comes to engagement rings.
You might really want a big rock on your finger and your boyfriend might know this and have the means to get you that rock. You might not care about the ring at all.
When it’s time to set an engagement ring budget, it’s time for you and your fiancé to sit down and discuss the matter honestly.
If you’re the one doing the asking and you don’t want to discuss the cost of the ring with your fiancé, that might be enough to raise some alarm bells in your head.
If you can’t talk about the first big purchase together, how will you handle discussing other big ones, such as your first house or your next car?
If you do decide to get a ring, pick an engagement ring budget that feels right for you. You might have an extra three months worth of salary lying around, not invested in savings or retirement, in which case, go ahead and spend it on the ring.
You can look at a pricey ring as an investment that will only grow in value with time, as your marriage goes on and on.
Less Pricey Options
But, if you don’t have a few months salary to spare, there are less expensive ways to get a ring.
You might be able to give her a ring that was handed down to you from your great-grandmother or grandmother. The engagement ring will have no financial cost, but will have a high amount of sentimental value.
Remember that diamonds aren’t necessarily a girl’s best friend. If you don’t have an heirloom ring to give her, you can find an affordable option that has a less pricey stone in it.
By this point, you should have a good idea of your girlfriend’s tastes. But, if you don’t, it’s always alright to ask her. Some women might not even want an engagement ring, in which case your cost will be zero.
Don’t Go Into Debt
Perhaps the most important financial decision when deciding how much to spend on the ring is how much can you actually afford?
Don’t get caught up in statistics and numbers that claim a certain amount is the average engagement ring cost. Instead, take a look at your own finances.
I can’t recommend going into debt to get the ring. If you are going to buy a fancy ring, save up your money first so that you can pay cash for it.
Don’t put off other savings goals, such as paying down debt, contributing to your retirement, and stashing money in an emergency fund, to save for a ring.
If you have to put other, more pressing goals on the back burner to afford a ring, you’re buying something that you can’t afford.
“How Much Money Should He Really Spend on the Engagement Ring?” was written by Kelly Anderson.