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 about the new rule for engagement ring buying. If you do, you might just get a ring upgrade!

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 engagement ring rules that must be thrown out the window!

Current Engagement Ring Buying Rules

The following are the present engagement ring buying rules that seem outdated today.

1) The Three Months Gross Salary Rule

The new rule for engagement ring buying

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 three months of his gross salary on an engagement ring, let alone two months. After taxes, three months gross is equivalent to about 1/3rd his take home pay.

Imagine if the man makes $480,000 a year, a top 1% income. Is he supposed to buy her a $120,000 Harry Winston pink diamond? That's ridiculous. People don't get to top income and wealth levels by spending so frivolously.

Here are some variations of the three months gross salary rule:

A) The Three Months Net Salary Rule. Crazy!

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

C) The 1 Month Gross or Net Salary Rule. OK, not so bad as it's under 1/10th a person's annual gross or net income. I'm OK with spending one month's gross salary on an engagement ring.

2) The Age Rule

Another crazy engagement ring buying rule is 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 proposes to a young 18-year-old, that's still 1.8 carats.

What if you're a late bloomer, or are simply into older partners? Is a person supposed to buy a 50-year-old vixen a 5.0 carat ring? Forget it! Those diamond engagement rings are unaffordable to most people.

A very rich woman in the investment industry told me about this Age rule one day. She showed me her 3 carat, E color, VVS1 princess cut diamond as proof. Poor guy.

Related: The Best Age To Have A Baby

3) The Beauty Rule

This could be the most dangerous engagement ring buying rule 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 fiancé 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.

If her best girlfriend has a $50,000 ring, you best get your fiancé at least a $51,000 if she is truly the most beautiful person in the world.

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 couch.

Therefore, if you want to save money on an engagement ring, you may want to tone down your lavish praise on beauty and focus more on other attributes. Some suggestions include:

  • You are a multi-tasking warrior! I love you!
  • You really know your sports teams. I love you!
  • Your meatloaf is the best. Will you marry me?

The Solution: The Car Rule For Engagement Ring Buying 

Now that you understand the various outdated engagement ring buying rules for guys to follow let's talk about the new rule for engagement ring buying. It is called: The Car Rule For Engagement Ring Buying. 

The Car Rule For Engagement Ring Buying 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, 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, 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 a generic store.

Tether Spending To Start Your Marriage Off right

Starting your marriage off with financial equality and financial discipline is the right thing to do. Money consistently ranks up there as the top reason couples fight.

Unless you live in New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles where the average carat size is about 1.5, forget about keeping up with the Joneses. The national average carat size is around 1 carat, 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!

Be Practical With Your Engagement Ring Purchase

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, this may be a bad omen for your marriage.

He is being completely 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 $22,000 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 women are just being nice!

If you want to build a strong financial future together, spending as little as possible on an engagement ring makes the most sense. You can use the money you saved to invest in the stock market, save up for a down payment, or do any number of more financially responsible things.

Remember, the more expensive your engagement ring, the greater the cost to insure it. Further, if you lose your engagement ring or get robbed, the loss will feel much worse.

If you're still early in your financial journey, then get the cheapest engagement ring possible. There's no law that says you have to get a diamond engagement ring. There are plenty of gemstones that look beautiful and cost a lot less. Further, you can get manmade diamond engagement rings as well.

Once you've built up a good amount of wealth, you can always “upgrade” to a nicer engagement ring. You can use this opportunity to renew your vows as well.

Top 20 engagement rings - the new rule for engagement ring buying

Curious what the most popular engagement ring designs are right now? Check out the latest top 20 most popular engagement rings. There are so many beautiful choices nowadays with that wow factor you're looking for.

It's hard to go wrong with a classic solitaire of course. But, it's definitely worth looking at the top 20 engagement ring designs. As her for her opinion as well. If you do, chances are much higher she'll be ecstatic with whatever ring you choose.

After all, you know the first thing everyone (at least your female friends) will say when they find out you're engaged is, “Congrats! Show me the ring!!”

If you want to add your own personal touches to one of the most popular engagement ring designs or get a custom ring , it's easier than ever to do so now. Blue Nile, the first and largest on-line diamond retailer, has a Build Your Own Ring feature that lets you choose from over 300 settings.

Filter by price, metal, metal karat, band width, designer, material and more. Once you find a setting, select a diamond using convenient filters for price, carat, cut, clarity, color and much more.

Being able to browse for engagement rings and compare prices from home or anywhere you have internet access without the pressure of a salesperson staring at you the whole time is super convenient and so much less stressful. I also recommend reading my Diamond Engagement Ring Buying Tips For Couples.

If you are going to buy an engagement ring, just make sure you spend within your means. You can following my engagement ring buying rule or not. At the end of the day, make sure you start your marriage off on a financially good footing.

Related: The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Married Couple

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264 thoughts on “The New Rule For Engagement Ring Buying”

  1. I think the car rule is Very interesting… and look at all the passionate debate !

    Lol, my husband has 2 cars for himself – wow, what a ring I should be getting!
    But he likes cars… and generally trades up every other year it seems…
    So for all the car nay-sayers … a car doesn’t last a lifetime, but the ring is expected to.
    The author is not suggesting that you upgrade the ring every time you buy a new car (which average person buys 6 cars in their lifetime)… However, it gives an interesting thought…
    Either buy one ring the value of a car,
    Or upgrade every time you upgrade a car.

    As for me, I’m going to start dropping hints that I need a second ring lol
    I’m actually one of the few who does wear a silicone band most of the time.
    Lucky him ;)

  2. I appreciate the article and liked your candor, but must say that the “car rule” is a horrible false equivalency. I’m not justifying spending 50K on a car, but to compare the value of a car to the value of a rock is ludicrous. Can a diamond ring transport a family of 5 to and from school and work every day for 10 years? Come on now, a bit silly. Not to mention, men are buying a car for themselves to use, they wouldn’t expect their girlfriends (in your equivalent scenario) to buy them the car. That said, still enjoyed your article. I’d say if you’re looking for a nice, simple rule the 1 month of net (or gross if you really want/need to splurge) is the safest bet.

    1. My whole point of associating an engagement rings cost with the cars cost is to make a couple think about what matters. I also want couples to think about what fairness means to them and how not to be too inconsistent with their spending habits. After all, about half of marriages end in divorce.

      Just like when does it need a $50,000 BMW to get from point a to point B, one doesn’t need a 3 carat VVS diamond ring.

  3. Sam, you asked, “What kind of nut came up with that idea?”

    It was a marketing campaign (wildly successful, might I add) made by De Beers Corporation. People accepted the message as fact and now, any man who goes against that idea is “cheap” or not a “quality man”.

    I’m telling you, emotional manipulation WORKS. I personally believe emotional manipulation should be illegal but I don’t have the big bucks to influence the law.

  4. This is the most absurd article. None of these recommendations are wise. This author clearly works for the diamond industry. How about the common sense rule? Spend however much you can afford without being overburdened with additional debt. 5% of your annual salary is a good range. If you earn 100k then a 5k ring is appropriate. The value of your car…gtfo of here

    1. Last I checked, I don’t work for the diamond industry. I wrote this article as a way for some men to realize how much they are spending on a car – too much IMO. And if they do spend so much on a car, they better spend an equal amount on their partner, or else.

      Hence, the obvious strategy is to spend more economically on a car if you want to spend more economically on an engagement ring.

  5. What shallow silly rules. Just buy her something she likes that represents your love for her. Don’t start your life together drowning in debt over a flashy ring or car.

    From a money standpoint, quality jewelry that can become a heirloom is an investment, unlike a synthetic ring or a car. I’d vastly prefer a vintage ring that costs less but has a real stone, and it doesn’t have to be a diamond.

  6. I never knew that another rule to buy an engagement ring is based on the woman’s age. My brother is thinking about buying an engagement ring for his girlfriend, and we are looking for advice to help him choose the right one. I will let him know about your recommendations to help him choose the right engagement ring for his girlfriend.

  7. Again, we are voicing our opinions. I think the 3 month salary rule is ridiculous because I am thinking that we can do so much more together with that money. At the same time, I drive a $70K car, earning $130K a year. Yes, you will criticize me for not following your 1/10th rule (It’s good with those not financially responsible). I am happy and comfortable in life with my investments. No way I will spend $30 grand on a ring. We can use it for a downpayment on a second home or to fund our wedding.

    Driving a $70K car and not buying a $30K ring does not make me selfish. I just have priorities that does not necessarily intervene with my love for my girlfriend.

    1. How long have you owned the car? Do you still feel like the “investment” in an expensive car is worth the ongoing expensive payments? I bought a $10K car once, and I was mad every month I had to make payments. I just paid it off and took my insurance down to the bare minimum, as the car is virtually worthless now!!!! Couldn’t feel better! :-) (I earn $200K/year) This post is said with love, as everyone who I have met who has gotten an expensive car (over $20K) has actually ended up hating that choice!! So, I want to see if that’s been your experience, too, now that a year has passed.

  8. I like your recommendation to consider a 1 Month Gross or Net Salary Rule for how much you should spend on the engagement ring. I’ve been dating my girlfriend for over six years and now that each of us is graduated from school and have decent jobs, I think it’s time for us to get married. I may consider bringing her with me when we look for a ring so I know she will like it.

  9. I just might have bought myself a nice 1 carat diamond ring for myself this holiday season. You would not believe the price I got for it, though! Yes, it’s also certified. I find it stupid that people spend more than 5 grand on a ring when they could easily get the same stone for a much, MUCH cheaper price elsewhere. How much did I spend, hmm… that’s my little secret. ‘

    The ring is just a symbol to show myself that I am capable of overcoming any challenge as well as landing a new job after a major career change. It also tells me that I don’t need anyone but myself to buy me big bobbles. A little selfish? Maybe – but I go big or go home and YOLO. Those are my life mottos.

  10. I came looking for an idea of how much to spend on an engagement ring…
    I leave knowing I spent way too much money on a car.

    1. Paul Harrington

      I bought my mom a car. Does that mean I don’t need to buy a ring? ROFL. I don’t have my own car. LOL

  11. Skylar Williams

    I find your car rule for engagment ring buying to be very interesting. I never thought of buying an engagement ring based on how much someone makes in a year or how much someone would spend on a car. I have been thinking about buying a ring for my wife, so I was looking up some tips online. I will make sure to keep this information in mind as I search for the right place to buy a ring.

    1. It’s all bullshit started by the diamond dealers to increase sales by advertising this reasoning to the public again the public fell for it The truth is a man is not required to buy a ring to propose to the woman he fell in love with n wants to marry nor does he have to spend an suggested amount according to what his income is is expected to be spent on a ring if he loves her n she loves him it shouldn’t matter the love they have and share between them is and should have more value than what society expects him to spend on a ring to prove to society that he’s in love with her Now a days women are asking and proposing to men to marry them so on that point if we were to go buy the car amount I wouldn’t accept nothing less than a top of the line Cadillac Escalade as a starting consideration if she really loves me she would get me my dream car a Porsche she knows witch one the pictures are on my wall fare is fare

  12. Thomas Jameson

    It’s good to know that you should buy a ring that is equivalent to the age of the woman when getting engaged. My brother would like to propose to his girlfriend soon, so he’ll need a ring. I’ll pass this information along to him so that he can get an appropriate size.

  13. Andrew Kraemer

    I am so scared to get engaged for the purchase of a ring. I’m really hoping those silicon rings people use for camping become a bigger thing and become the new standard for rings by the time I get engaged.

    It could happen, right? lol

  14. The Car Rule is just as outrageous as the 2 and 3 month rule, if not more-so. If a man making 52k a year buys himself a 17k car, which is very reasonable, in what world is it rational to think he can afford a 17k ring? I’m kinda shocked that this is a thing…

    1. That’s the whole point! A guy who only makes $50,000 a year should not spend $17,000 on a car. He should spend $5000 or less on a car and then spend $5000 or less on an engagement ring.

      1. Since when did the ring price become the goal… it’s what the woman wants and what works for both the husband and the wife. If I make 400k a year, and my wife wants a 100k dollar ring that’s just not happening… and I’m not going to apologize or feel bad for that. I want the best for my wife and I absolutely want to shower her with affection and make her know she’s the most important person in the room at all times, but 100k on a ring is just asinine.. and so are these “rules”.

      2. $17,000 for a car is completely reasonable. A car is a tool that adds to a man’s life and actually has a purpose. $17,000 can’t even buy a Honda civic. $5000 car is just as worthless as a ring. To suggest a man should spend tens of thousands of dollars on metal and rock just to put on a finger is ridiculous.

      3. Lol, this makes no sense! A guy making 50k per year should only spend $5k for a car/truck? In what universe is a $5k car a reliable option? Used motorcycles cost more than that. Not to mention, the average income in America in 2019 was $31k. The majority of people in America should be driving rusted out hoopties? Lol

    1. I’m glad my wife is reasonable and understands that spending thousands on a ring doesn’t mean i love her… It means im dumb.

      All these rules are ridiculous and baseless. The 1/10 for a car is also dumb as im no way should your purchases scale with your income. It makes no sense whatsoever.

  15. “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”

    Is it not more selfish and self centered to expect a man to buy you a ring that costs as much as a car?! A car is a tool to get him to and from his job to make money. A ring is a tool for you to try and make others envious. Also since he is buying you this expensive gift and granting you the ability to take half or more of his things, what are you giving him in return? Your body? That doesn’t sound like a good deal to me…

    1. Wow. So wives are prostitutes?

      If that is your opinion then you should spend everything you have on the engagement ring since it is payment for a lifetime of services rendered. (And, your opinion of women is so high! What a charmer!)

      FYI women work too and have since the beginning of time. Whether in the home or out of it for income.

      Infact I have always earned 2 to 3 times as much as my husband even though he has always been gainfully employed.

  16. Sam, can you post a picture or your wife’s $70,000 ring when you get a chance? That’s probably pretty close to what a RR sport is worth, I’m sure you followed your own rules and upgrade the wife’s bling too! LOL, I jest, but as a guy pulling the trigger myself it would be interesting to get the stats on your significant others ring to put things in context as a fellow HNW individual.

      1. Ha! Okay, I got it…so heaven forbid she leaves you for a dashing young tech entrepreneur wearing the latest in hip hoodie fashion, you’d definitely want to sell that ride before jumping back in the dating pool! Big advantage meeting the love of your life early on if spending the big bucks on a ring is a concern : ). If I had met my gal 9 years ago, I’d have had only a paid for company car to factor into the equation.

  17. My boyfriend and I are getting pretty serious, and we’ve even started to talk about marriage. I think that we’ll even go ring shopping in a few days. Thanks for pointing out that the national average carat size is 0.4 in most places except for big cities like New York and Boston. That seems like it would be just right, so we’ll need to find a jewelry store that we could find a 0.4-carat ring from.

  18. Hey Sam-

    I need your help! After 5 years of living frugally, not taking Uber’s and opting for walking or the bus, not eating out, finding deals on clothes, etc. it’s time for me to buy an engagement ring. I have been looking for a about a month and have had to come up with a budget. I’m leaning toward something that I can certainly afford, but isn’t rational at all! I don’t know if it’s pressure from society, irrational decisions from love, or what, but this is the first time I haven’t been concerned about prices, and it’s way more $$ than I’ve ever spent before.

    What’s going on? My fiancé told me to not spend over 10k on a ring but the ones I think she would look best in are about 20k. I am thinking okay compromise and do 15k but then I think ‘eh, it’s a once in a lifetime purchase and is 5k really going to make a difference?’ I don’t know why I’m being so irrational! Have you ever had anything where you gave up your financial samurai ways?

    I try to fast forward and think ‘will I regret spending so much on this?’ But I can’t decide if I would regret it or if I would regret it if I didn’t.



      1. 10k? Are we crazy?? In a ring?? If a woman expects that much money spent in a ring, she then has a problem. Take that money, buy a much cheaper ring and take her on a great holiday. Society must open their eyes, life is not about material things.

  19. One aspect that makes this absolutely ridiculous, farmers.

    A nice diesel work truck is like $80k, you think they should drop that on a ring too!?

  20. For those facing a ring quandary – look into Moissanite! It is as durable and hard as a diamond, has just as much sparkle, and comes at a fraction of the price, with only trained professionals being able to tell the difference with the naked eye. I have a gorgeous 2 carat ring and it cost about $1700. My husband and I are both professionals and make a combined income of about $300k. I love sparkly, flashy jewelry, but that love is matched by my love for frugality, so I think I’d have been quite appalled if he spent $7,500 on a ring (the cost of his used car).

    Also, just as a personal perspective on some of the earlier comments – as a feminist whose uterus is currently being rented out by our fetus, I of course believe men should appreciate women’s extraordinary efforts in furtherance of reproduction, but insisting one is in return specifically entitled to an overpriced rock of a certain price begs the whole question at issue – what really is a reasonable amount to spend on a rock. A man may well recognize the toll of childbirth, and easily want to throw down $50,000 for a house, nice vacations, early retirement, etc. He simply may not want to show his love by purchasing a big rock. This does not make him unappreciative; it’s just a matter of different values.

  21. Here’s some questions to ask yourself men, in order to decide what to get:

    1) Does she like jewelry, or will she even wear it? We’re stating the obvious here, but it’s important. This question alone weeds out all the girls that say $100 ring is fine, diamonds are just a marketing ploy, or just simply don’t care or wear jewelry for a multitude of reasons. Maybe they’re super active and a ring will sit in the drawer most days, for example. If your girl fits one of these categories, you actually may offend her by buying a nice ring.

    2) When it comes to what she wears, what’s most important to her? Some girls love shoes, some love cloths, some love accessories, etc. If she has a few nice accessories that she loves to death and wears everyday, then a ring is likely very important to her. In contrast, if she’s all about the shoes, then save on the ring cause you’re going to need the money later. If she loves all those things, then you may just want to reconsider (partially kidding).

    3) Does the status of the ring matter within your inner and outer circle? This could apply to a lot of things, but you’re marrying the family, too. And it shouldn’t matter, but the ring does make an impression. It’s going to be better for everyone if she’s proud to show off the ring to family and friends. A second major area this may matter is work.

    4) Does your bride-to-be work in a highly professional environment? This is going to sound petty, but an inadequate ring within her social hierarchy at work may actually have a negative impact on her career. I nicer ring subconsciously makes people think you’re successful. This whole idea may seem outlandish if you’ve never worked in this type of environment, but I can somewhat sickeningly confirm that status symbols mean a lot to people in business/law/etc.

    5) What does the ring mean to you? Perhaps you haven’t even thought to ask yourself what ring you chose means to you. Is it a source of pride, or just an object? If you’re going to get a sense of satisfaction when you see the ring potentially everyday for the rest of your life, then the ring have more emotional value tied to it than you may have originally considered.

    In conclusion, she may like jewelry, especially accessories, professional job, and you take personal pride in the ring you want to give her. Or jewelry isn’t particularly her thing, her family doesn’t care about status, and you both would gain more satisfaction spending the money on shared experiences than an object. There’s nothing right or wrong with either of these scenarios, people are just different.

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