HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND ON AN ENGAGEMENT RING IN 2022?
This is a question which has been pondered by folks around the world for many, many years. Lots of guys must think that there is a magic number. But there isn’t, we promise. Plus, the rules have changed recently. They’ve changed a lot. We should actually be talking about people who wonder what they should spend on an engagement ring, not just men. Because it’s not men alone who purchase them anymore. Increasingly, couples go in together to buy the engagement ring – or indeed engagement rings and do we see women paying for the acquisition in total, as well. So, it’s a different ball game these days. The shifting nature of engagements and marriages does affect the answer to the query how much should you spend on an engagement ring in 2022? There are old school conventions which you may have come across, like the two months’ salary rule of thumb. Is it still relevant in this day and age? We discuss below.
We believe you should decide what you are going to spend on an engagement ring according to your financial situation, and allowing for the personality and aspirations of the fiancée to be. The two months’ salary rule is not actually an ancient custom. It’s actually so twentieth century. It was conceived by the giant
diamond company De Beers, in collaboration with a marketing firm, in the 1930’s. It started out at one month at that stage, and grew to two months by the 1980s.
Diamonds are still by far the most popular choice of precious stone for engagement rings, but there are other options too. Coloured gemstones and various settings offer excellent alternatives to the customary diamond ring. More and more, younger people who are looking to tie the knot are considering all sorts of possibilities which were not as readily available last century.
In particular, couples these days want their engagement ring
or rings to be much more personal - to be unique expressions of their own
styles - rather than simply an expensive nod to tradition. So, the process of
purchasing rings has changed, and so have some aspects around the typical
WHAT SHOULD YOU SPEND ON AN ENGAGEMENT RING?
Obviously, there is no set amount, but seeing as we have mentioned a ‘typical’ spend above, we should reveal that in Australia, the average is around $5,500 AUD. Of course, this doesn’t mean you are required to spend this amount or more. As an average figure, it’s actually inflated significantly by the minority of seriously big spenders, who fork out 20K + for an engagement ring.
The median spent is probably a more apt statistic – slightly different to the way the average is calculated – and this would be around the $2,000 mark. The statistics do fluctuate according to the ages of the couples; i.e. younger people tying the knot don’t tend to spend as much as couples in their thirties. The figures vary according to location, too: the amount spent in Sydney and Melbourne is more than the average or median spend in the rest of the country.
This information might be interesting to know, but really, it shouldn’t guide your budgeting. Don’t look at what other people are doing, focus on what elements are at play in your situation. These factors are your finances, your expectations and your personal style(s). Getting married should be all about you and your partner, and shouldn’t involve comparing yourselves to others. We realise this might be more easily said than done, when it comes to weddings – there can be quite a competitive attitude, right? We strongly advise couples to steer clear of this sort of approach, as much as possible – make your own informed, genuine, practical decisions.
WHAT IS THAT TWO MONTH RULE, ANYWAY?
Maybe you hadn’t heard of the two month principle. Quite a few of our customers haven’t. So, it should be explained. Many people do use it as a yardstick, after all. As we said above, this ‘rule of thumb’ is basically a marketing concept. It seems to have become one of the accepted canons around marriages in the 1980’s. Basically it said that a man should spend approximately two months’ worth of his salary on an engagement ring. This ‘rule’ kind of preyed upon men’s insecurities and lack of any other means of knowing what they should spend. The marketing campaign essentially pushed the idea that a really big diamond would secure the engagement agreement, i.e. deter rival males, and that two months’ salary should be do-able and just slip in under budget blowout.
Obviously, income differs wildly for people, and the two month rule does not take into account all your expenses – debts, taxes, health, rent etc. And particularly since Covid, many people’s situations are a lot less stable and certain than they used to be. Remember, when the two month rule was thought up, you got a hell of a lot more bang for your buck from two months’ salary than you do in 2022 (unfortunately).
SO HOW CAN YOU DETERMINE A BUDGET FOR AN ENGAGEMENT RING?
We are not saying that the two month rule of thumb is necessarily bad either. A lot of people still run with it; this writer did! It may indeed be a helpful ball park amount for many who just have no clue, who like the idea and the dollars seem do-able. The notion must have been based upon some sort of logic, you’d think? We are not sure, but we know what is definitely logical; spending what you feel is right – what you sense is suitable for your situation. And in this day and age, it is certainly not simply down to one person to decide; the ‘situation’ is far more likely in 2022 to be a shared arrangement. Unless you’re going for a total surprise proposal; then you are definitely on your own, aren’t you – and we wish you all the best of luck – we love these, but they have become more rare, that’s for sure.
What are yours and your partners expectations? This purchase is one of the most important you will make in your life. Many women have been dreaming for a long time about the sort of proposal and engagement ring they hope will be forthcoming for them. You do need to appreciate just how very special this event is for them. To fully understand, we suggest talking about it, in depth. We know we said surprises are awesome, but in all seriousness, we don’t recommend them for most people - not when it comes to purchasing the forever engagement ring, anyway. That is not to say you can’t still make a surprise proposal, and even use a proxy ring for the asking. But then, assuming they say yes, you need to sit down together to figure out exactly what sort of ring you both want, and what you can afford.
In 2022 it is far more common for finances to be pooled, i.e. you ‘go halves’ on an engagement ring. And it is becoming increasingly typical to see two engagement rings per couple, which adds another dimension to costs.
Industry expert, US diamond consultant Taylor Lanore sums it up nicely: “Spend whatever you’re comfortable with – there’s no reason to go into debt… There are ways to accomplish any look for any budget.”
So please, have that sensible conversation, work out your priorities when it comes to the engagement ring(s) and work out what you can realistically afford. Size does not matter. The priciest is not necessarily the best. Meaningful does not equal expensive. Finally, if you are finding the whole issue of price confusing and frustrating, talk to your jeweller. We have been through this with many folks before, and we can offer great advice.
Is it true I should spend around two months’ salary on an engagement ring?
This is just folklore which resulted from a very good marketing campaign several decades ago. No, there’s no need to use this as a guide (although the amount might work for you).
What should I spend on a diamond engagement ring then?
You should spend what you can comfortably afford.
Are there ways to get more diamond for my dollar?
Yes, there are plenty of ways: purchasing certain carat weights, choosing from fancy shapes, opting for simple settings… to name a few. Talk to us about getting the getting the best bang for your buck.