The 3-Month Salary Rule for Buying an Engagement Ring Is Over, FYI

The 3-Month Salary Rule for Buying an Engagement Ring Is Over, FYI

How much should they be spending on a diamond ring? (Hint: Don't look at the old standards or at celebrity behaviors as an example.)

By Marianne Garvey
Digital Original
Tour Celebrity Jeweler Kyle Chan's L.A. Showroom

The general rule for an engagement ring (unless you're a celebrity, then by all means go bananas) used to be it should cost the buyer three months salary.

No more.

Some people go way over the three month guide; take Jax Taylor, who spent $70,000 of his inheritance after his dad passed to buy Brittany Cartwright’s ring, which, by the way, is amazing.

But most are now spending two weeks’ pay, or typically one whole paycheck, on a ring. The New York Times cites a poll of 1,640 adults conducted for The Upshot by Morning Consult for the new math.

A nationally representative sample of adults were asked "when they were engaged; how much they earned when they were engaged; and how much they paid for the engagement ring, if they bought one.” The cost was then adjusted for inflation from the year they got engaged.

For those with higher incomes, “overall spending did increase,” yet stayed low as a percentage of income.

Some still went over $10,000— seven percent of people in the poll reported paying $10,000 or more for some bling. “But the median payment was $1,900 in the poll, with most people within that ballpark by $1,400 or so.”

Overall, most people “spend $500 to $3,000 on engagement rings.”

The NYT reports that the average engagement ring cost $5,000.

Overall, it says, “The three-month rule for engagement rings (which has roots in a brilliant marketing campaign) is very much an illusion.”

Many women are now also going along to look at rings with their partners. “More couples are shopping together and discussing what they want and what they can afford,” says the report, adding, “Engagement rings are 100 percent personal … How much you have to spend is how much you have to spend, and you shouldn’t feel better or worse about your relationship because of it.”

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