how much is TOO MUCH?!

[Disclaimer: don’t read as far into this as your gossipy, little hearts want to – it’s not exactly time to take that step yet, at least as far as I know…]

So we were talking at work the other day and quite the interesting discussion topic came up – “How much should a man spend on his bride-to-be’s engagement / wedding ring?” Of course, the female opinions were all on one side of the table with the guys on the other – we heard everything from two months’ salary to “a couple grand, at the most” to one guy whose girlfriend had already set her heart on a $30,000 rock… 😛

I guess I’m torn about this one and maybe I’ll have a slightly different opinion when I get closer to actually making such a decision, but from my perspective – as I’m just completing a two year effort to pay off five years’ worth of credit card debt and looking to soon sink that newfound income into the purchase of a house – is that it doesn’t make sense to enter into a marriage with someone and already have that kind of additional weight over one’s head. Now don’t get me wrong, she still deserves a nice ring and all, but when you’re talking about price tags that could also represent the down payment or closing costs on a new house, it kind of makes you stop and think – two months’ salary is a lot of cash!

LOL – we also decided that if following the “two months” rule, second and third jobs don’t count and you’re allowed to figure off of your net earnings instead of the gross…yes, have calculator, will geek out…

I read a couple of articles stating that some men…and women…agree that you can’t live in a ring, or drive a ring to the beach, or take summer vacations to the ring, and thus they had agreed together on a set amount to be spent that fit within their budget. While I think that this kind of takes away from the surprise of the whole moment if she already helped to pick the thing out, it might be easier than overspending and then getting in trouble later for putting the new family too deep into debt. And then again, I do believe that this same article can be quoted as saying that our “two months” should be comprised of the man’s and the woman’s monthly salaries combined and I just can’t see that one happening, so maybe that’s what you get for looking to the Internet for advice!

I want to hear some other opinions, especially if you’re somebody who’s already made this purchase! The only people who already had rings and would admit how much they cost were sure to throw in that their husbands had spent considerably more than two months’, so is this just one where us guys have to bite the bullet and commit to eating Ramen for a while or is there a little more leeway than what’s already been spelled out???


  1. Well, my boyfriend and I have discussed this, since he seems to like a higher amount of money that I am comfortable with. Our roommate was buying a $3000 ring for his fiance, but they broke up, so obviously he got his money back.

    I would say between $500 and $2000. $2000 is the absolute highest I would allow someone to spend on me, and even then, I’d still be apalled. Gah. I’d rather have a down payment on a house or car or vacation, thanks.

    My dad and mom had a simple engagement and wedding rings. They bought their first house instead. Like 10 years later, my dad bought my mom a beautiful gold/diamond wedding rings that she wears.

  2. Here’s what Tammy and I did. We simply found a ring style that we both found very pretty, and the stone setting that we wanted, and and it made. If you take your time you can get a very nice ring for a lot less than most people think. And if your GF/Fiancee hasn’t been completely sucked in by the DeBiers family, you can convince her to go for a stone other than a diamond. Tammy and I went with a sapphire, both because we love the color blue, and it was also much, much cheaper than going for a diamond of the same size. And for all of those ladies out there who scream “But a diamond is the traditional stone on an engagement ring.” ENGH! wrong. The even older tradition, a.k.a. european tradition is for the engagement ring to have either a sapphire or an emerald. So that might save you some money right there. 🙂 Well, that’s my $1.50.

  3. I know I personally don’t fit this conversation in any way whatsoever, because the concept of spending large amounts of money on jewelery just escapes me. I think it’s a whole materialistic thing. But I would look into grandparents and parents for this. I know it would mean a million times more to have something like that than anything that would cost an obscene amount of money. I know that’s me and my weirdness, but I feel there is more attached to that than anything. Again, throwing money at something is easy, IMO, finding something of the heart or something that takes up time is the difficult thing.

  4. [geek post]

    The One Ring to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them???

    Dark, funny, and yet somehow strangely fitting… 😛

  5. Two words: Cubic Zirconium

    K, that’s not my advice… But you should really take her to a ring shop, and even if you don’t have her pick it out, talk to her about what kind if ring you both like. This is an accessory she’ll wear every day, with every outfit. The giant gold and brushed titanium ring with the full rainbow of gems probably isn’t what she wants, but how does she feel about different gemstones? Does she prefer simple settings? What metal does she prefer. I personally can’t stand gold because I don’t like the color, and you can’t wear it universally like you can silver, platnum, and white gold. Get her opinions, maybe even let her talk to the jeweler, so that when you come back at a later time, you can say “She liked this one, that one, and the other one. Which of these rings that I like do you think will most fit her taste?”

    Like you said, you don’t want to go into the relationship with the ring hovering over your head. …financially, this is easily avoided by beginning the ring payments early. This gets you both in the mindset of being engaged, and any issues from that can resolve themselves. (My friend, who Meg referenced above will likely be greatful for this, since he ended up not getting married while the jeweler still had the ring.) …Mentally, this is avoided by picking a ring that you are comfortable with. There is some bullet biting involved, but don’t overspend what you think a ring is worth. The million dollar ring doesn’t espress your love any more than a cracker-jack ring does, so long as you mean it (Though she’ll probably be most comfortable with something in the middle).

    Short answer. Get her input so you don’t have to ask for a gift receipt. Buy a ring you’re comfortable with, and pay off as much as possible right away.

  6. My coworkers think:

    If you want to go for the total surprise, take her out to get a birthday present necklace or other jewelry (not rings) because you don’t want to get her a necklace or other jewelry that she won’t like. Happen to look at all of the jewelry, get ideas.

    2 months salary seems to come up fairly often. My boss told her daughter to go ahead and let her boyfriend spend three months on her, like he wants to, because it will only happen once.

    You can always get a simple engagement ring, and supplement it with a large wedding band, you can’t really tone down by adding the wedding band.

    Simple is in now. Gaudy is out.

    Most people firmly backed up the idea of taking her to some sort of jeweler to get her opinion somehow.

  7. Wow – talk about lots of good discussion…this is great!

    It sounds to me like the concensus here is, “Find out what the girl wants – she might be happier off (???) with something simpler than you think.”

    Any other ideas?

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