Quick answer: The average 1 carat ring can cost between $1,800 and $12,000. In 2019, Americans spent an average of $7,750 for a ring. The old tradition of spending two to three months salary on an engagement ring is outdated. The best answer for how much you should spend on a ring is however much you can afford to spend. There is no clearcut rule.
How much does an engagement ring cost? How much should you spend? How much are you supposed to spend? These are all questions that men have when they're getting ready to propose for the first time. If you need some help with the numbers, continue reading.
The average 1 carat ring can cost anywhere between $1,800 and $12,000, depending on many factors. Diamond prices are influenced by the 4 C’s: cut, clarity, color and carat weight. This means you could get a beautiful engagement for less than $2000 if you’re flexible on these factors. On the other hand, if you want an engagement ring with the perfect cut and color, you will pay much more for it –even if the size of the diamond is the same.
Overall, however, the average cost of engagement rings is actually a lot more affordable than a lot of people think.
The Old Rules
For years, the rule of thumb when buying an engagement ring was “spend the equivalent to two months of your regular income.”
For example, if you earn $2000 a month, you can spend around $4000 on a ring. However, there’s no real logic behind this rule, as it doesn’t take into account your current financial situation or what you can actually afford. Still, the rule can give you a general idea of a limit – you probably shouldn’t don’t try to buy a $10,000 ring if you only earn $2,000 per month.
Average Spending Around the Country
Americans spent an average of $7,750 for a ring in 2019.
The actual cost of a diamond ring varies widely depending on many factors – some of which might not be so obvious. For example, rings with round diamonds tend to cost more than any other shape. Other shapes such as princess cuts and radiants are worth less, while ovals and pear-shaped diamonds demand the lower prices.
Prices of engagement rings also vary widely around the country. In some states, the average diamond ring sells for as little as $3,005, while in other the average price gets close to the five figures.
South Dakota has the cheapest average price for an engagement ring at $3,005, with Maine close behind at $3,184. The states with the prices closest to the national average are Pennsylvania and Maryland, where rings cost an average of $7,552 and $7,553, respectively. Surprisingly, expensive New York doesn’t have the most expensive diamond rings, with the average one selling for “just” $8,785.
The top spots are taken by California and Washington. In California, home to millionaires and Hollywood stars, the average engagement ring costs $9,482. But the top position goes to Washington, where the average cost for an engagement ring reaches into the five figures at $10,109.
How Much Should You Spend
In the end, how much you end up spending for an engagement ring depends on your budget. No matter how much money you have available for the purchase, there are beautiful rings to match any budget.
Experts recommend taking some time to go over your budget and figure out how much you can actually afford. This includes looking at your actual income, then your expenses and your debt. Comparing expenses to income gives you a good idea of where you are and how much money you can realistically afford to spend.
The next step is deciding how you’re going to pay for the ring. The two more obvious choices are using a credit card or taking money out of a savings account if you have money earmarked for the ring.
Many jewelry stores also offer store credit for those who don’t have other options available. Don’t assume that purchasing the ring on credit is always a bad idea. In fact, many jewelers have better plans and interest rates than you could get when paying with a credit card.
The Estate Diamond Jewelry website offers an engagement ring calculator to help you figure out how much you can afford to spend. Just answer the questions and the site will offer guidance on what a realistic budget might be for your personal situation and budget.
In the end, there’s no single right answer to the question “how much should I spend on an engagement ring.” It all comes down to how much you can afford and how important the ring itself is compared to other plans you might have for your future together. After all, the diamond will still be a symbol of your love no matter its size.