Here’s How Much You Should Spend On An Engagement Ring

Ladies, gents, people of non-binary genders: welcome. Whether you’re looking to buy an engagement ring, receive one, or stow away info for some time in the future, we all just want to know how much is too much or too little to spend.

I’m sure you know people who have spent a small fortune, others who have spent modestly and of course, your mother in your ear telling you how many months salary it should be. We spoke to Fabienne Costa, the CEO of YCL Jewels and Cara Brett, a financial planner, to put the question to bed once and for all.

Ring around the budget

The thing about getting engaged is that you also have to prioritise a whole bunch of other things that come along with a marriage. The wedding, honeymoon, maybe a house and possibly some kids on the way all require a hefty amount of budgeting and planning. To drop thousands of dollars on another expense like a shiny ring just adds to the insurmountable pile.

Financial planner Cara Brett knows quite a few young couples who have been caught in the trap of spending too much too soon, “This is typically a really high cost and important time financially for couples and the biggest mistake I see is people spending way too much on weddings, engagements and honeymoons and then spending the next 10 years paying off the loans.”


The one rule that Cara suggests: don’t ever go into debt for a ring.

“I personally don’t ever endorse buying an engagement ring on credit,” she says. “Getting yourself into a debt spiral for a nice shiny ring is a train crash waiting to happen. If you can’t afford the ring now, then honestly you need to wait and save up for it.”

So if you don’t have a whole bunch of cash to spare, what can you do instead?

Fabienne Costa of YCL Jewels suggested a range of ring options that allow you to stay within your means, “You could opt for a semi-precious gemstone, rather than a precious gemstone like diamond or sapphire. Rose quartz is fast becoming a popular choice over diamonds, due to the stone’s feminine appearance, soft blush pink colour, and metaphysical properties such as being the stone of ‘love and connection’.”

You could also consider “upgrading” down the track when you have more money to spend, and even updating the ring itself by adding another gem.

There are a number of factors that can make a ring expensive, from the size, colour and shape of the gem, to the type of material used. Talking to a jeweller can help you get clear on what you can get for your money.

Shine bright like a…


And of course, we come to the inevitable part of a discussion about engagement rings: diamonds. They seem to be mythologised and worshipped in wedding circles, but are they really worth the hype?

In Fabienne’s professional opinion? No, not really. She says she’s not swayed by the stereotype that all engagement rings must include diamonds. However if you’ve got your heart set on a diamond, then it’s best to buy something ethically sourced.

“With diamonds come a lot of unethical and unsustainable practices including the toll the mining and extraction has on the environment and wildlife, as well as the unsafe and often uncertified structural mine standards, and employee treatment,” Fabienne explains. She suggests opting for white sapphires over diamonds as they have close to exactly the same appearance as a diamond and are nearly as durable.

The magic number

You’ve most likely heard the old wives tale that says three months’ worth of your salary is the benchmark to follow. However, Cara doesn’t quite buy into that.

“I’ve always thought that it was a cheeky and smart woman who came up with and promoted that sentiment,” she says. “In all honesty there is absolutely no exact amount that you should or shouldn’t spend, it all depends on your personal financial situation. I think that if you are considering purchasing a ring, it shouldn’t be based on what others say, it should be based on how much you can afford to spend comfortably, without forgoing the important things in life or going into debt for it.”

So, buying an engagement ring is basically about examining your means and your goals and being realistic about what’s important to you.

Now, go! Share this article with your significant other and watch them smile/squirm/vomit. You know you want to.

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