man putting ring on finger

How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate


Getting engaged is a moment you'll want to treasure, so picking the perfect ring is essential. So the question stands: how much should you spend?

When it comes to choosing a ring, there are some basic things you’ll need to decide on:

  • the metal for the band - gold, white gold, and platinum are popular choices
  • the stone – diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies are examples of stones
  • the cut – this is the shape of the stone
  • clarity and colour - indicators of the quality of the stone
  • size - how many carats can your budget cover.

Some of these are easier to decide than others and will come down to your partner's style. Do they wear silver or gold jewellery? Have they been dropping hints about diamonds since you met, or do they have a fondness for their birthstone perhaps?

Your budget will dictate the cut, clarity, colour, and size. Don’t get too hung up on the specifics of clarity and colour. Unless you're going to be examining the stone under a magnifying glass, these are small differences that could save money won't be noticeable to the naked eye.

So what should you spend?

Everyone's situation is different, but here are some guidelines that might help.

The 3-month rule

In the 1930s, an advertising campaign from a diamond cartel called De Beers coined the ‘three-month rule’. This rule refers to the idea that someone should spend the equivalent of three month's salary on an engagement ring. It originally started as one month, which gradually increased over time. So if someone earns £1,000 every month, then they would supposedly spend £3,000 on a ring.

This rule is pretty outdated, and you don't have to follow it if you don't want to.

It's up to you how much you choose to spend - but you don't have to buy something worth thousands for it to be the right ring.

To get a suggestion on what you should spend, try this engagement ring cost calculator.

Consider a pre-loved ring

If your special someone would rather have something pre-owned, a vintage or antique ring might be a good idea. You'll get something that's unique and could cost considerably less than a brand-new one.

You might have a family heirloom that you could propose with. Rings like this have great sentimental value that you can’t put a price on.

Do you have to buy a ring?

Some people dream about the perfect ring, while others would rather see the money put towards the wedding day, the honeymoon, or a deposit for your first home together. If your partner isn't a big fan of wearing jewellery, you could use the money on a joint gift that you'd both love. If you've both been talking about getting married, these are questions you could discuss together. However, if you want to surprise your partner, you might have to ask a friend to play detective and find out for you.

What’s the average spend?

The amount spent on engagement rings varies throughout the UK. Here are some average spends in different areas:

  • Northern Ireland - £2272
  • South West - £3784
  • London - £2335
  • Yorkshire - £1769

The overall average spend in 2020 was £1865.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing is that you choose a ring that your partner will love and that fits your budget as well.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

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