If you are getting ready to pop the big question and ask someone you love to marry you, you've probably been thinking a lot about buying a diamond engagement ring. You are naturally concerned about the style of ring she would prefer, but chances are how much you should spend is also one of your major concerns. While there is no right or wrong amount to invest in a diamond ring, there are some things you should consider.
Rule(s) of Thumb
If you feel more comfortable knowing how much other people spend, you've probably discovered more than one rule of thumb. While some sources claim three month's wages is the magic number, others say you should spend one. Still other sources choose the average of the two and recommend you spend the equivalent of two month's wages for an engagement ring. However, keep in mind that it doesn't matter how much you spend on the ring as long as you both love each other and are committed to the relationship.
According to a 2014 report by BBC News, Americans spent an average of $4,000 on an engagement ring. It further explains that the average American earned about $3,000 per month, making the purchase equivalent to slightly more than a month's wages. This, of course, may represent more than a month if your wages are lower than the average.
Many young people just leaving college and beginning a career earn less than the average wage and are also saddled with considerable debt from student loans. A significant amount of their wages may go to food, shelter, and student loan debt, leaving them with little disposable income left at the end of the month. Spending even a month's wages may be impossible without financing the purchase or adding to credit card debt.
Speaking of Debt
While you may be the one purchasing the ring, the debt it creates will be shared by both of you once you are married. Burdening your new life together with unnecessary debt probably isn't the best way to start a marriage. If you suspect your intended would frown on added debt, think carefully before you make that purchase.
And Along Comes Desire
Your intended desire should play a role in the decision. If you know she has her heart set on a particular ring, buying her a less expensive version probably won't go over well. Unless you are planning a big surprise, you may be better off discussing the particulars with her before you buy a ring. Be honest and let her know if your budget doesn't allow for the ring she desires and discuss suitable alternatives. Many couples enjoy picking out the ring together so that everyone is happy with the choice.
The Bottom Line
Buy what you can afford and what you know will make her happy. If one month's wages (or less) will fill the bill, then don't feel like you need to do more. But, if you have the finances and resources to throw caution to the wind, go ahead and buy the ring that both of you dream of.
Things to Remember
An engagement ring may be a symbol of love, but your feelings for each other are what's really important. Going in debt to meet society's expectations won't do either of you any good. Choose a ring that reflects her style in a price range you can afford instead of trying to measure up to someone else's idea of how much you should spend. Remember, you can't measure love by the size or price tag of a ring.
To begin your search for a ring, check out a jewelry store like Rocky Mountain Gold & Silver Exchange.
One day I realized that I might have a shopping addiction. Every single thing that came across my computer screen or that I saw in stores I felt like I just had to have. It was an overwhelming, ever-present need, and it was really difficult for me. I didn't know what to do about it, so I decided to work with a counselor to overcome my obsession. She referred me to a financial counselor, and it really helped. Within a few months, I was able to see my problem and stop purchasing things that I didn't need. This blog is all about choosing financial freedom.