Honest answer – there are no rules. Doing some research before you’re ready to shop will help you find an engagement ring that meets your partner’s expectation and works for your wallet. It’s helpful to sort through myths on spending and learn about the 4C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat) so you can make an informed purchase. Establishing financial parameters early on will help you maximize your money and find a perfect engagement ring within your price range.
If you think that doesn’t sound quite right, you’re not alone. This outdated thinking was actually started as a marketing ploy by a diamond company. Around the start of World War II, diamond marketers used this “salary rule” to encourage people to spend more on their engagement ring or any piece of nice jewelry. Somehow guidance for buying an engagement ring that equaled one, two or even three month’s salary stuck. Today, think about buying the best quality diamond at the best possible price that’s in your budget and you won’t go wrong.
If you’re already living with your partner, you’re probably already having financial conversations. Have an open talk about specific engagement ring styles and how much those cost. If you’re trying to be a bit more traditional, asking your partner’s opinion on diamond shapes, preferred metals, or even how much they think engagement rings cost, can give insight into what they like and if the range you were planning is too high, too low, or right in line to meet their expectations.
Talking with a trusted financial advisor is always a smart move. They can help you factor upcoming purchases (maybe buying a house), other debt (like student loans), and your earning potential (along with other investments) to help paint a more comprehensive financial picture. That doesn’t mean you should shop for the largest diamond you can find. It does mean they can help you evaluate your current budget to ensure you’re making a smart decision for your partner and you.
Some jewelers or credit card companies offer 0% APR promotional periods or options with a low interest rate to help prospective buyers afford their dream ring. Great Heights has a partnership with Affirm that allows you to immediately calculate your monthly payment on any engagement ring you choose. If you go this route, just make sure you develop a pay-off plan as part of your budget.