Okay, so you know what we’re going to say here.

There is no fixed figure for how much you should spend on an engagement ring. It isn’t three months’ salary (that seems like an awful lot!). It isn’t a minimum of $1000 or £1000. And it isn’t a matter of matching the number, that someone else you know has spent.

What you should spend on an engagement ring actually depends on a number of factors. The kind of ring you want (and that’s a lot of variables in itself!). Where you plan to buy it. And most important of all, how much can you afford?

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Photo by Jose Villa Photography for The Mrs Box via Bridal Musings

What Can You Afford To Spend on a Ring?

So of course an engagement ring isn’t your average daily purchase, it’s a big gesture, it’s likely to become a family heirloom of sorts, and it calls for something a little more special than say, what you might buy for a birthday or anniversary.

But that doesn’t mean you should go into debt, or struggle financially to buy one.

There is something gorgeous available at any budget, whether you’ve $500 to spend or $5000. Decide how long you can wait to propose – can you save over six or twelve months or do you want to pop the question sooner? – and work out how much you can realistically put aside between now and then.

That’s how much you have to spend. Easy!

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Mossanite Engagement Ring by Capucinne on Etsy

The Cost Factors in How Much an Engagement Ring Costs

So of course we all know that a giant bauble of a diamond à la Kim Kardashian is going to set you back, while a very small stone is probably not quite as pricey, but there’s so much more than size to consider.

When it comes to the 4 Cs, even the same size (carat) diamond with a similar quality of colour and clarity will have a vastly different price depending on how it’s cut.

While your other half might not mind if the colour or clarity is slightly inferior, chances are, they’ll have an idea of the shape (cut) they want, and that can alter the price. Round and heart shaped stones are among the more expensive cuts for diamonds, while princess or cushion cut can be up to a third cheaper, for the same size and quality of stone.

And that’s just a centre stone, some settings will have a halo, (ring of stones around the centre stone), a multiple stone setting, or a pave band – this will all play a role in the price of your ring. Though a little sparkle around the side, can make up for a less expensive centre stone – it’s a matter of weighing up your priorities!

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Pear-Shaped Halo Engagement Ring by AlyaPersonalized on Etsy

Likewise, the metal you choose can have a say in the price. Generally rose, white and yellow gold won’t have a huge cost difference, but platinum will come in more expensive.

Buying a branded ring can also be more expensive, big names in jewellery have built reputations on the style and quality of their rings, so while it’s extra special be walking around toting a certain store’s bag on your arm, you may have to pay a little (or a lot) extra.

How To Save Money on an Engagement Ring

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Rings by Heidi Gibson Designs

You should try your best not to ‘be cheap’ when you’re buying an engagement ring. And by that, we don’t mean you have to shop in the fanciest boutiques, but likewise you shouldn’t be trying to cut corners with your purchase either.

An engagement ring is a special item, so it deserves some special treatment. Otherwise you may end up taking the good out of what’s meant to be a huge, exciting and happy gesture.

That said, there are some ways you can save money if you’re buying an engagement ring on a budget.

First up, do a little homework and shop around before you make a purchase so you can be sure you’re getting a fair price. Gemstones and precious metals (like all commodities) tend to be bought and sold at industry standards, so essentially the same ring shouldn’t vary too much from store to store.

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Ring by Shapiro Diamonds, Photo by Jenny McCann via Bridal Musings

An easy way to save big on your ring is to consider an alternative gemstone. This doesn’t mean swapping a diamond for a fake! White sapphires and moissanites make almost-as-sparkly and equally precious replacements for diamonds, while grey diamonds, morganites and garnets make beautiful colour alternatives.

You don’t need a diamond for it to be an engagement ring, and this one swap can save you thousands, especially if you’re shopping for a bigger stone, (just don’t tell your fiance her ring is a diamond if it isn’t!).

Another option to consider is an upgrade ring. Many jewellers offer upgrades on their designs, so you can propose with the perfect ring in say a .5 carat stone, then upgrade it to a 1 carat when you can afford it down the line. (Do check your setting can take a bigger stone before you make the purchase!).

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Photo by Sara Lynn Photography via Bridal Musings

Heirloom jewellery is an obvious way to save a lot on an engagement ring. Now while we love the idea of proposing with something so precious, only do this if you already know your partner loves the ring or the stone you’re using (they’ll feel too pressured to say they do after you’ve proposed, if it’s a family piece!).

Avoid buying cheap or uncertified second hand rings, conflict diamonds, or anything that may be fake or imitation – it might save you money now, but it will really hurt your new fiance’s feelings if they find out down the line.

Almost any good jeweller will be able to work with you to find or make something within your budget, so talk to them about what you have to spend, the kind of ring you want, and I bet they’ll come up trumps with something gorgeous!

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Ring by Susie Saltzman, Photo by Stacy Bauer Photography via Style Me Pretty

Hopefully that’s helped you decide how much you should spend on an engagement ring!

Keep your eyes peeled for our Engagement Week advice posts for more tips on popping the question, and if you have any more queries you’d like us to tackle, be sure to send them our way!

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Proposing + Our Favourite Rings on Etsy