How much should I spend on an engagement ring?

It's an age-old dilemma: just how much should you spend on an engagement ring for the love of your life?

Traditional advice suggests saving a portion of your annual salary for that forever diamond, but a recent study found British couples in the last five years are spending 19% less on engagement rings compared to the previous five. In fact, the average amount spent on an engagement ring in the UK is £573. So how much should you be spending? Here are some options to help you buy the perfect rock…

Spend one month’s salary

Back in the 1930s, the jeweller De Beers ran a famous ad campaign that suggested its customers spend a single month's wages on an engagement ring. Fast-forward to 2018 and the 'one-month rule' is still a common practice for ring shopping. This advice may work well for you, but be sure to take any expensive outgoings or debts into account before you spend.

Make your own rules

At the heart of it, there are no rules and it's becoming increasingly popular for couples to buy a ring based on preference rather than tradition. Perhaps you want to go halves or discuss together the amount you will spend before buying? The last thing you want when you propose is to make your fiancé(e) upset with you under (or over) spending. Go modern and make a ring budget, which may include purchasing the wedding and engagement ring together as a cheaper option.

Buying a diamond engagement ring

There are a few ways to find a stunning diamond engagement ring for a lower price. The four Cs stand for the carat (weight), clarity, colour and cut. They’re used to judge a diamond's rarity and price.

A top tip is to go for a slightly lower carat and clarity than you may want, as it lowers the price tag and only jewellers would be able to tell the difference. Focus instead on the cut of the diamond, which affects the sparkle.

For further savings, shop around online at reputable sites like Blue Nile or Vashi, or ask shop assistants to help you find the best ring within your price range.

Do you actually need to buy an engagement ring?

When getting engaged, you don’t necessarily have to buy a ring to commemorate the occasion. By their very nature, engagement rings come at a premium price so you may find that you can get more for your money with a necklace, earrings or a bracelet. It is also probably worth not mentioning to any shop assistants that you are looking for ‘engagement’ jewellery - just the word can double the price of a bunch of flowers!

Do you have to buy anything at all for your engagement?

There is nothing saying that you MUST buy an engagement ring and that money may be far better spent elsewhere. For example, it could contribute towards the wedding day itself or used to make sure your honeymoon is truly a trip to remember. Alternatively, you could put it towards other events in your life such as buying a car, the deposit on a house or invest in a savings account for your children.

Good luck!