Here's the Easiest Way to Pick Your Engagement Ring Budget

It used to be that people had to set aside at least two month’s salary for an engagement ring budget. The problem? That’s a lot of money for some of us, even for an engagement ring. And besides: That “advice” was actually a clever marketing ploy created by an advertising agency in the 1940s.

In reality, an engagement ring budget isn’t a set number or even proportion of your income, but instead what you can comfortably afford based on your personal financial situation. But, it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole with engagement ring and loose diamond research. So, where do you go from here? We have some advice on setting a realistic budget for you.

How to set an engagement ring budget

We totally understand that you’re love and are willing to spend whatever it takes to make your future spouse happy. However, you don’t want an engagement ring to put you behind on other bills (or set you back on saving for your dream wedding).

To avoid this, you should create a budget for your household based on your individual income, responsibilities (rent, mortgage, utilities, student loan payments, etc.) and savings. Whatever you have left over after all of that is what you can set aside weekly, biweekly or monthly for an engagement ring. For example, let’s say you have $500 per month after all of your bills are paid.

Once you have that magic number, set a timeline for how long you’d like to save for a ring — two months, three months, six months and so on, keeping in mind that the longer you save, the more ring you can likely afford. With our example, you’ll have $1,000 to spend if you want to propose in two months, or $3,000 if you want to propose in six.

engagement ring budget woman admiring rings

Maximizing your engagement ring budget

You have an engagement ring budget set. What’s next? It’s time to shop.

Jewelry stores typically fall into two categories: Online and traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. Traditional jewelry stores typically limit you on how many rings you can pick from because they can only afford to keep so many in inventory. You’ll probably pay more if you shop in a regular store, too.

Shopping at an online jewelry store (like With Clarity) is different. You have access to many more diamond sizes and styles, thanks to relationships with wholesalers around the world. You can also maximize your engagement ring budget because an online jeweler doesn’t have the same overhead as a physical store.

Once you’ve decided where to shop, it’s time to evaluate rings. First thing’s first: You want to pick out a ring that fits with her personal style within your budget. Is she someone who loves big center stones, or does she like delicate and elegant pieces? Carat size — one of the 4 Cs of diamonds — will have the biggest impact on ring cost, so you can expect to pay considerably more if she has her heart set on a large piece of bling.

Luckily, there are also ways to create the illusion of a larger diamond without a larger diamond price. Halo diamond settings create the appearance of a larger stone, thanks to smaller accent diamonds that surround the center stone, making it appear bigger.

For example, compare the Sleek Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring and the Princess Three Row Halo Diamond Engagement Ring. Both rings can have the same carat size for the center stone, but the Princess Three Row Halo Diamond Engagement Ring will always appear bigger, thanks to the added stones that surround the center diamond.

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You don't have to spend your entire engagement ring budget

Having a set amount that you can spend on an engagement ring is ideal, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend every last penny on a ring. At With Clarity, you can find a number of rings that are priced under $5,000 — some settings are as low as $200.

With Clarity also has expert gemologists on staff who can help you maximize your engagement ring budget by suggesting certain diamond characteristics or settings to get the most ring for the best price. Then you’re free to take the money you save and put it toward your dream wedding — or maybe that tropical honeymoon you want.


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