Engagement Ring Etiquette: How Much to Spend

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When a man makes the decision to finally pop the question, this starts a whole other set of worries: the ring. Determining how much to spend and what you will be able to get for your money creates a tremendous source of anxiety in many grooms-to-be. A little planning ahead can ease your stress.

1 Two Months

Most sources say to spend the equivalent of two months of salary on an engagement ring. This means that if you earn $4,000 per month, you should spend at least $8,000 for the ring. This is a lot of money for anyone. This amount was actually arbitrarily created through a DeBeers marketing campaign during World War II with the slogan, "A diamond is forever." It was a great marketing plan that sold more diamonds and created a precedence for ring purchases. If you are eager to pop the question and don't have $8,000 to spend on a ring, think about the amount you can afford and what type of ring you can get for it.

2 Average Cost

While it is suggested that you spend two month's worth of salary on your fiance's engagement ring, realize this is only a guideline. In fact, men spend from $2,600 to $4,000 on an engagement ring on average. The actual amount a man spends on the ring has a lot to do with what resources are available when he proposes. For younger men who are starting savings programs, retirement planning and home purchases, getting a nice but less expensive ring makes much more sense. Men under the age of 24 have a median income of $31,000 which means young men are spending about one month's salary on rings.

3 Spending Nothing

Some men receive a ring from a member of their family. This may be an heirloom from a grandmother or great-grandmother. Of course this type of engagement ring transcends price since it comes with the invitation into generations of family history. Your fiance should not worry about an appraisal value on the ring but should instead be honored that your family finds her worthy enough to care for the heirloom.

4 The Four C's

What is more important than the amount spent is getting a quality diamond for the money that you do spend. Shop around and find the best diamond for your price range. This is most often determined by the four C's of diamonds: clarity, cut, color and carat weight. Clarity refers to a diamond with few or no blemishes. Diamonds come in several color types and have a grading system for each color. The cut is a credit to the craftsman who created the bevels on the stone, its finish and polish of the stone. Carat is the size, and women generally like bigger.

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.