The New Rule For Engagement Ring Buying

To all the ladies in the house, you’re in for a real treat! To all the fellas thinking about proposing, maybe not! It all depends on how materialistic you are in the first place. Even if you are already married ladies, point your hubby to this article and you might just get a ring upgrade!

It’s 2015, so what’s the new rule for engagement ring buying you ask? Well before we get into the most obvious new engagement buying rule all of society should follow, let’s discuss some of the current ridiculous rules that must be thrown out the window!


1) The Three Months Gross Salary Rule. This rule stipulates that if a man makes $80,000 a year, he should spend $20,000 on an engagement ring!  What kind of nut came up with that idea? There’s really no rhyme or reason why a man should spend 3 months of his gross salary on an engagement ring, let alone 2 months. After taxes, 3 months gross is equivalent to 1/3rd his take home pay. Imagine if the man makes $400,000 a year.  Is he supposed to buy her a $100,000 Harry Winston pink diamond?  Ridiculous.

1b) The Three Months Net Salary Rule. Crazy!

1c) The Two Months Gross or Net Salary Rule. Nuts!

1d) The 1 Month Gross or Net Salary Rule. OK, not so bad as it’s under 1/10th a man’s annual gross or net income. Again, here we go with the 1/10th rule for car buying, which hints at something beautiful.

2) The Age Rule. Another crazy rule is for the man to buy a quality ring whose size is equivalent to the age of the woman. For example, if the man proposes to a 32 year old woman, he should buy a 3.2 carat diamond engagement ring! Wow! Even if he gets em young at 18, that’s still 1.8 carats! What if you’re a late bloomer, or are simply into older women? Is a man supposed to buy a 50 year old vixen a 5.0 carat ring? Forget it! A very rich woman told this rule to me with a straight face at a bar one day. She showed me her 3 carat, E color, VVS1 yellow diamond as proof. Poor guy.

3) The Hotness Rule. This could be the most dangerous rule for men as it is all or none. Essentially, every man before proposing will say how beautiful his girlfriend is. The problem with showering her with praise such as, “You are the most beautiful woman in the world,” or “Your beauty makes the stars look dim” is that you are setting expectations incredibly high!  Your fiance will rightly think that if she really is the most beautiful woman in the world, she better get the biggest, most beautiful rock in the world! If I am a 10/10, then you better give me the most luxurious engagement ring among all my girlfriends. Women will pretend to tell you they don’t care what ring you get, but don’t listen, not for one second, unless you want to start sleeping on the coach for no good reason.


Now that you understand what silly rules there are for guys to follow when spending money on an engagement ring, you’ll now realize the absolute beauty of The Car Rule For Engagement Ring BuyingThe Car Rule simply states that a man should spend up to, but no more than the initial purchase price of his car!

Most guys like cars. The more obsessed he is about cars, the bigger and better your potential ring. We all realize that buying a car hurts our finances because it’s a depreciating asset. Yet, guys still overspend anyway, and in a big way. If a guy making $80,000 a year is dumb enough to buy a $50,000 Cadillac Escalade (78% of his net after tax income) you should most definitely demand he spend $50,000 on a 2 carat, Tiffany Novo ring that is an E color with VVS1 clarity! Blow up his finances with glee!

Conversely, if your man is fortunate enough to make $300,000 a year like Lyndon, but drives a 10 year old Honda Civic he bought for $3,000 8 years ago, then all you can really hope for is that he buys you a nice 0.25 carat, H color, VS2 ring from Jarrod’s. Unless you live in New York City, Boston, or Los Angeles where the average carat size is 1.8-2.0, the national average carat size is only 0.4, so stop being greedy!

Finally, if the man so happens to be the biggest nature lover on earth and takes the bus and rides his bike, well, you’re out of luck! There is no way you can demand anything more than a Push Pop ring from Topps!


Cars are to men what engagement rings and are to women. If your man can’t spend as much money for a ring as he does on his car, you’ve got a problem. He is being completely self-centered and selfish if he hints to you that spending money on a nice engagement ring is a waste of money. This is especially true if he’s sporting anything MORE than a $20,000 Honda Civic in his garage!

If a man follows the 1/10th rule for car buying, he’ll never be stuck in this engagement buying predicament. Of course, the woman can be incredibly gracious and tell him only love matters. But we all know you’re just being nice!

For those serious about growing their wealth please read, The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Married Couple.

Thoroughly updated on 1/9/2015 to account for the five-year long bull market we’ve been experiencing!


Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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  1. Tina says

    I completely agree, complete BS. If you are obsessed with getting a huge diamond engagement ring, then there are so many ways you can buy a ring for much less than 3 months wages! Personally I didn’t mind my husband buying me a used engagement ring, we got it from at low discount diamond prices. I am happy with it and so was my husband.

  2. Ann says

    I had a good laugh at this article. As a 20 something year old female whose friends are getting married/engaged left and right, I don’t get the entire buying a diamond because size does matter. I’ve noticed that whenever someone gets engaged, the first thing they’re asked is their ring. Wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on say a down payment for a house or car (lol) instead since they’re more practical items?
    Personally, it seems crazy to me that people go into debt planning weddings, getting rings, honeymoons when marriage is a long road ahead (if it’s done right) fraught with financial decisions.

  3. Alex says

    I’m a 30-something gay man thinking of proposing to my boyfriend in the next year or two. Since we have a healthy relationship and communicate, he jokingly passed this article on to me. My simple conclusion?

    Whoever wrote that article is a materialistic, sexist piece of junk. Women wonder why some men condescend them when it comes to finances and jewelry? Here’s an example of why:

    “If your man can’t spend as much money for a ring as he does on his car, you’ve got a problem.”

    Are you serious? A car is a tool – it’s a necessity required to go to work every day and get back. You spend hours a day in it, so comfort is important, as are things like reliability, resale value, and economy. A ring is JEWELRY. It has no function. It is not necessary. You would be just as engaged (or married) without a ring at all (or with a plastic cracker jack ring) as you would with a $100,000 ring. You would love your partner just as much (or in the case of this article, as little) regardless.

    Placing the value this joker places on jewelry should make any thinking person ashamed. But then, I guess the author doesn’t fall into that category, considering his/her posts in this thread.

    Unless Poe’s Law, in which case, DOH!

    • says

      Alex, you misinterpret the article, but I love your response anyway. The article actually serves to earn men of wasting so much money on a car that depreciates in value and also makes fun of the outrageous prices people spend on engagement rings.

      Go easy on your partner OK? Or sell your car quick and buy a bicycle instead!!

      • Tron says

        This article does ot help men. It reinforces the old sex roles which, in this case, benefits women. I do not think men should buy engagement rings. I think both people should go in on them together and that they should be very inexpensive. if a Wedding ring is to be bought then they should go in on his and her wedding rings. If he absolutely has to buy her a ring then let her pick it out and then tell her how many years of committment it will take to earn the ring. With the divorce rate as high as it is this process makes the most sense. The ruke has always been “Men pay for sex.”It may be a drink or a dinner or a ring, but either way it is paying for sex.

    • Tron says

      What ever happened to “equality.” I thought women wanted to be equal partners with men and they did until they realized that they would have to give up a few entitlements that they enjoyed when men and women behaved more traditionally under sex roles.

      I do not think women are necessarily entitled to a ring anymore. I think (if both people feel that rings are necessary) that both people can go in on an inexpensive pair of rings as a symbol of their love. This way they can save the money for a down payment on a house or something. Marriages do not last long anymore so it is not fair that the MAN make such an inevestment when the woman does not have to. Also, she will most likely get the kids most of the time in divorce so he will end up paying her tax free money (child support) that she is not accountable for. Women also want the big wedding which makes no sense (unless someone else is footing the bill). The majority of the couples time and money should be spent on working on the marriage instead of the ring and the wedding.

      I think all “rules” are stupid. Marriage should be an equal partnership.

      I think

    • Tron says


      How about forgetting about the engagement ring and just going in together on twin wedding rings. It is interesting that women get very traditional during courtship but then speak out against sexism in other arenas. The divorce rate is high and men get screwed financially. If I was getting married and she wanted a 5000 dollar ring I would say, “Ok but I need a committment from you first. That ring is worth about 10 years of committment. If you absolutley have to have it then we will set aside a certain amount each year for 10 years and then it is yours. However, I need the committment first. Women would not like that but it would be more fair.

  4. Guy that can do math says

    What the hell? Its ridiculous to spend 20k on an engagement ring with the 3 month rule but you want people to spend as much on the initial purchase of their car? A decent new car is easily 20-30k? Stupid Rules same outcome.

    This article is trash.

  5. Jon says

    Most things that I read on the internet don’t usually bother me, but this article actually makes me angry that someone so utterly retarded exists in society. Let me get this straight, if I make 90000 a year and buy a new toyota, that I plan to keep for 15 years, that cost 30k then I’m supposed to buy a 30000 dollar ring? What if I work in construction making 80k a year, but buy a 40000 diesel truck, required for my job, then I’m supposed to spend roughly 90% of my annual take home? Truck drivers (owner/operators) often pay 150-200k for their rig, make 80-100k and are expected to spend 150k on a ring? The author of this article cannot possibly be a self-supporting adult, because there’s no way someone so stupid would survive, even in our world of govt handouts.

  6. jon says

    Yeah, dipshit. I read your other shitty article and heroin addicts are more financially savvy than you. Last time I checked a fucking Prius couldn’t pull a 20,000 pound trailer with construction equipment to Maine! Moreover, my last vehicle was a tacoma purchased new for 30k. I’ve done all my own maintenance (literally nothing but oil and filter every 5k) and it’s in perfect condition. Show me a 3000$ civic (it’ll have about 250,000 miles on it) that will reliably go an additional 250,000 miles without serious repairs.

  7. metal says

    What happens when the groom’s parent has bought him a car every couple of years, So hence, over the years he has spend 0 on cars?

    He bought me a nice big brilliant rock anyway, but I insisted for our upgrade that I trade-in at least 4 rings that I had sitting around. I don’t want him to pay more than he has to, so we trading in my 4 rings, and got up 4 grand toward the upgrade. But still, some guys have parents who do buy them cars like mine. We have no car payments whatsoever, so he can afford to get me a really nice ring anyway – which he did! He says “I deserve to wear a nice rock like this!” Just my kind of man. We’ve been married for over 25 years too!

    • says

      Not sure I know of any cases where a grown man’s parents still buy him a car every couple years. Maybe have the groom’s parents buy the bride the ring then?

      I guess this article is targeted towards folks who pay their own way.

      • metal says

        I know plenty of people whose parents buy them a car. My mother got my sister a car and uncle paid for half of my cousin’s car in addition to giving his son a car. (All those relatives who got free cars are in their mid-to-late 20s.) I can go on and on. In fact, my mother got a one-carat wedding ring for my sister. The groom didn’t pay anything. I’m glad for them, but at that same time, I want them to be financially independent. I also have a good friend who got her car from her mother before she passed. And I also have a male friend who got a car from his dad as well. It’s a pretty common thing. I feel, however, that it’s more important to be financially independent. I also have older adult friends who got a very expensive car as a gift from another friend. I could go on and on, but I can think of plenty of adults in their mid-20s and beyond who do get free cars from either friends or family members.

  8. stan lee says

    I am not sure I get this at all. Someone making $200,000 should be buying a car at about 20k. That makes zero sense. 200k is a great living. No way that person is driving a 20k$ car. I personally make about 300k and I drive a 60k car, easy. I save a good amount of money and I own my condo with over a 1/3 put down into the deposit. I wear watches that can cost up to 20k. I just bought a ring. I spent 24k on a nearly perfect diamond that is 1.64 and is in a platinum setting. I think the article comes from a good place, but the logic is way flawed. I don’t know one person spending 1/10 their income on a car.

  9. joel says

    Are you out of your mind? What exactly does the chick bring to the table? The pleasure of her company? Rules like this are antiquated and need to be stopped – we’ve outgrown them as a society. Plus, that money is, in effect, coming out of both spouse’s pockets so time to access where it’s really needed.

  10. Steve says

    What about pegging it to your own jewelry?

    I own two cars, both Mercedes Benzes. One was $47,000 and the other $55,000. Do I go with the cheapest or most expensive or split the difference and go with the average? If it’s the latter, I’m buying an old $500 beater to statistically lower the average!

    What about pegging it to your own jewelry? I have a $15,000 Rolex. I always figured what’s good enough for me, in terms of my absolute best of piece of jewelry, is fair for an engagement ring.

    I think that’s a better financial investment comparison than one’s car. I always figured that if I ever bought an engagement ring, I’d like for something is neighborhood of my watch like $12,000 – $20,000.

    Honestly, is there a noticeable difference to the average person between a $20,000 diamond and $50,000 one.

    • says

      I think you’ve got to buy a $102,000 ring since $47,000 + $55,000 = $102,000. If you buy her a cheaper ring, what does that say about your love for her vs. the love of cars?

      • josh says

        I guess the same comparison could be implied to a woman and her purse. If a women buys a $1000 purse for her self on Christmas she must buy her husband something of equal value to contest her love for him. This is how you sound when you blog! You truly should stop blogging because you sound incredibly dumb!

  11. James says

    Ok so according to this article, you are supposed to spend 1/10th of what you spent on a vehicle. I’ve spent $600 on a vehicle and $12,000 on a vehicle. Add them up and you get $12,600. So 1/10th of that is $1,260. So are you saying I’m supposed to spend $1,260 on a ring? My vehicles aren’t Mercedes, or BMW, or Hummers or anything like that. They are simple vehicles to get me from point A to point B. I don’t have a love for vehicles like some guys do. As long as it runs and gets me to where I need to go, I’m fine. Does this make me cheap? Am I supposed to spend more? And why is everybody worried about how much you spend and how on earth does it relate to the type of love you show for a woman? This is ridiculous in my opinion. Your love shouldn’t be dependent on the jewelery you buy her. I think its all about commercialism and how its warped their fragile little minds. (Goes along with the whole Valentines Day thing)

  12. Ryan says

    Theres so many factors at play with this that a single rule wouldn’t do it justice. Of course people earn more on the west coast than where I live, the midwest. It also depends on how soon you marry. If the couple is in their early 20’s, i wouldn’t expect much more than $1000 to be spent on a ring. But mid 30’s, you should be more financially set and looking in the $10,000 range. I however, have a great rule that you should follow: Buy a bigger ring than her friends have. Lets be honest, she only cares about flaunting it around and making her friends jealous anyway.

    I think we should be spending more on the band instead of the diamond. Diamonds are worthless; they depreciate and are hard to resell. A gold band is literally worth its weight in gold. Just try explaining that to your fiance, hehe..

  13. DC says

    Lets run your 1/10 rule in reverse. Even basic new cars start at 17 to 20 thousand dollars. So according to you, in order to buy one of these basic cars, I should be making at least 170 thousand per year. If people followed that logic, car companies would be out of business. Just out of curiosity, what you drive?

  14. Tron says

    Women only want equality when it comes to MAKING money. They switch to the traditional roles when it comes to SPENDING money. Courtship is where women play the traditional role because they have ENTITLMENTS under those rules (e.g. free drinks, free dinners, free ring…etc). The cost of the rings should be shared like the house work, child care etc.

  15. Carlton says

    Gentlemen, When it comes to articles or studies or messages, I was taught that one needs to keep in mind the source of the information as well as the motivation behind the message. Just because something is in black-and-white does not mean it is true. For example was the author of the article an employee or friend of the diamond association? It appears this article was written to start rumors/conversations in regards to what constitutes the appropriate amount to spend on a diamond.

    We all know that most people with expensive cars have spent more than they should on those cars. Can you imagine those same people purchasing diamonds well beyond their means? That is a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder that a lot of people have financial difficulties and are on the precipice of bankruptcy.

    Just use your common sense and purchase what feels right for you and your loved one. It matters only to you and her. Try not to buy into the sales pitch and the idea that you need to keep up with the neighbors.

    • says

      Skepticism is good Carlton! After all, you can’t trust everything you read on the internet.

      That would be sweet if I was able to earn money b/c I’m from the diamond association, but I’m not. I’m just a personal finance blogger who loves to write about money, relationships, retirement, and so forth. Check out my About page. I’m an ex-Wall Streeter.

  16. Daniel McCain says

    After going through the article and all comments I must say that I find the author to be amateurish in several ways. Here’s my elaborated viewpoint –

    1- Car/Ring analogy – The fundamental concept is deeply flawed and nonsensical. Cars are the necessities of our life used mostly for our work commute. As overwhelming majority of commentrators have already stated – There is absolutely no relation between vehicle cost and ring cost simply as various vehicles that are owned by people are utility vehicle.

    2- Income relation? – I know proper millionaires who live in lofty houses but own basic family cars and I also know people on measly salary who have bought expensive cars through financing. Simply put – Even when they aren’t in work/utility category there is no corelation between disposable income and car price as people have different needs and desires. Again. it show absolute lack of human understanding.

    3- Gender roles – The article was probably written in 1920 or something like that as it clings to an bygone era. It would be a much better article if author was rational and realistic about our society. It could have talked about discussing the ring cost, financial goals and that groom and bride should go to store together to chose the perfect ring but alas…..

    4- Inability to take criticism – What genuinely surprised me was the authors hostile attitude towards most posters. You made a mistake then own up to it and be courteous and sincere to the posters. That will show maturity and willingness to learn from mistakes to become better but unfortunately the author is being very hostile to posters posting stuff like ‘Sorry you don’t have much money. But with the way you write it’s obvious why. Nobody’s fault but your own boy! Now get back to work in hauling crap for a living’…. WOW!

    This is sincere advice from a concerned reader. Learn from it or you WILL lose all traffic to your site. Best Regards.

    • Justin says

      I agree with Daniel completely. The author’s hostility and inability to take criticism or remain open to other points is bothersome. The premise of the article was an interesting take but I wont bother reading any more from this wall street “retiree” after 13 long years (ie flunked out in 2008-2009, now makes his living selling ad space on an obscure blog) who stands by and tries to force a senseless rule down his reader’s throats and insults them when their particular situation doesn’t match his one-size-fits-all nonsense. Particularly bothersome was the fact that Warren Buffet here couldn’t come to terms with one of the earlier commentor’s note (the crap hauler) that some vehicles are a BUSINESS EXPENSE. And since you seem to like the term cash flow so much I’m curious to hear your “solution” for the average joe who is single and spends 1/10th on a 3k dollar hooptie (median individual income is less than 30k) who is hit with his first couple 2k+ repair costs. Put it on a high interest credit card?

  17. Sniper512 says

    Whom ever wrote this article is an absolute moron. For one, last time I checked, my 67 Z/28 Camaro sitting in my garage is worth about 20x what it was brand new back in 1967 (so much for depreciation there). Then there is the fact that most people spread the cost of a vehicle over a 5yr period (Finance, I’m sure it’s something the writer has heard of) where as most engagement ring purchases are paid in full up front.

    The way I look at it is pay what you can afford how you feel comfortable affording it and even if it’s $1k (or even under that), if she’s not happy with it, then she’s probably not worth it anyways. Now this is not to say that someone who makes say $100k a year should buy a $1k ring, just buy what you can afford and what you feel she is worth.

  18. skeptical57 says

    I am dating a woman for two years and get along with her very well. We compliment each other and make each other better people. However, I learned today that her mom expects her to have a >$70,000 ring, even if I need to take a loan. My gf is against it, but I worry she may not be able to resist her mom. What is worse is her mom is putting pressure for us to marry soon. I am angry and will obviously not buy a ring any where near that amount. I drive a 2004 ford Taurus by the way and believe in living in your means. Financially I am doing well, but am certainly not rich. I can’t believe that I am dealing with the bs now. She is not like this at all.

  19. Matthew says

    I love this! Not only do I not need to spend $20k on an engagement ring, (that seemed excessive,) it looks like I’m fine just picking one up from a crackerjacks box since I don’t own a car either. Reading the 1/10th rule though, I should probably go ahead and spend $700 on the ring, since I do own a nice bicycle (well, it was nice 6 years and 25,000 miles ago…)

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