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The following are the present engagement ring buying rules that seem outdated today. In today's modern society when equality between the sexes reigns supreme, we should adapt from engagement ring buying rules from yesteryear.

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 $650,000 a year, a top 1% income. Is he supposed to buy her a $162,500 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: 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 eight 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.

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.

Save Money With Lab Created Diamond Engagement Rings

Further, you can get manmade lab-created diamond engagement rings as well. To clarify any confusion, diamonds made in a lab are real diamonds. They're not fake. Nor are lab-created diamonds a completely different gem such as cubic zirconia or moissanite (simulants).

Lab-created diamonds are chemically and physically the same as diamonds grown in the earth. Plus, they look just as beautiful as earth-grown diamonds and use the same grade and certification system as mined diamonds. In other words, lab-grown diamonds also use the “4 Cs” and come in the same variety of shapes.

The only way to tell the difference between lab-created and mined-diamonds is through very specialized testing. Or checking for laser inscriptions on a diamond's girdle (the widest outer edge), which are required on lab-created diamonds. These inscriptions are invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen under 10x magnification.

Mined diamonds, however, have the allure of rarity. They take billions of years to form and are one-of-a-kind. On the other hand, lab-created diamonds only take weeks to produce and thus can be mass produced.

But, by far the best part of lab-created diamonds is that they are 20-40% less expensive than mined diamonds. That's a significant savings for the same 4Cs you could get from a natural diamond. Lab-created diamonds are also eco-friendly and ethically sourced (conflict-free).

You can browse and purchase the best lab-created diamonds through James Allen. They are the most successful online diamond and bridal jewelry retailer in the world. They offer the best and biggest selection online and also have showrooms in New York City and Washington, DC.

Lab Created Diamonds
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 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. Ask 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.

You can also build a gorgeous custom engagement ring on James Allen's website. The possibilities are endless. And their technology makes the process fun and easy. Try it out today and see where your creativity takes you!

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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For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. The new rule for engagement ring buying is a FS original post.

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. Ellie Davis

    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. James Borst

    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. LibertysLover

    “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. Bling Bling

    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.

  22. I think it really depends on the woman. What does she want? Personally I am not into expensive things that are small and easy to lose. I told him I didn’t want an engagement ring. He still wanted to get me one because “don’t you need something to show off? I want you to be able to have that girly experience of showing everyone ‘the ring'” Ok… I told him I need to be able to throw it into the ocean and have him not freak out. If he freaks out, then he’s spent too much and it’s his own fault because I’m telling him the criteria for getting me a ring now.

    Since I’m against the diamond trade, I told him I’d prefer a different type of engagement ring. I listed off some acceptable stones and he got me my favorite: a black pearl. I also don’t aesthetically like yellow gold as much as silver. So he went with white gold.

    I just want what I like, and for him to demonstrate that he knows and respects what that is. Still happily married.

    1. This sounds awesome. We didn’t do rings until after we were married, but I wish I had done the girly experience of getting one beforehand. How cool to have a guy who would think of something like that. Our rings are silicone for safety and they are less than twenty dollars IIRC.

  23. Right, just to find your point of view, I mined gold out of old rivers in Africa, searched for gemstones in bedrock, with my own hands, to make a ring for my fiance. It might not be worth 1 months salary. But the effort, story, adventure etc has some weight I’d think. I mean, how many of you can say you’ve searched jungles, rivers, mountains to make the ring… just makes the whole having to spend a certain amount seem so, emotionless.

  24. I had a big, flashy ring and a cheating husband (now ex-husband) who broke my heart. Ladies, get a grip. It’s not the size of the ring that matters. It is the size of his character and integrity. I would rather have no ring and a devoted, loyal partner who shares my goals and dreams. That is what makes a happy life.

  25. Just a bit of advice. Go to Tiffany or whatever and find out what she wants. Write down the cut, clarity, carat etc and take a picture of the ring. Find a friend with a retail license and go directly to a diamond wholesale seller/ diamond cutter. They generally won’t make an appointment unless you have a retail license number. “Wholesale” where you can just walk in the door isn’t real wholesale. They don’t usually don’t sell single diamonds, you can offer them a premium cash for the exact same quality diamond and they’ll likely take it if you don’t have a friend/family connection. This will save you 60-70% on the exact same diamond. It’s worth slipping them 10%. The setting is the easy part, almost and jewlrey importer can find you a replica of the setting in platinum or white gold if that’s what she wants. Have a jewler set it and you’re done for a fraction of the cost. Same ring, < 50% of the "best price" vs. walking in the door. I spent 11k vs. 35 best I could find in a store. Easy in SF or New York. May be harder in other areas.

  26. Carl McFadden

    Why should a guy who buys a sensible $25,000 new car and drives it for 10 years be on the hook for a bigger ring than the guy who frequently buys and sells cheaper $15,000 used cars?

  27. The article is spot on because driving is not a RIGHT but a PRIVILEGE. Meaning the government doesn’t thank you need a car to get to work. So you can still be gainfully employed and can take the bus, walk or drive a beater car. Buying a $100,000 car gets you to work the same way as a $10,000 one, one is more wasteful and have no value much like the engagement ring.

  28. This article is fantastic! For starters, as a women, I find nothing wrong with comparing an interest in fine jewelry to that of a man’s interest in cars (Or in my husband’s case, computers and technology…)
    My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years. My original engagement ring was $700. He was 20 and lived with a roommate and drove an 82 Chevy pickup. Maybe worth $200 at the time. But I wasn’t marrying him for his car, or for a ring, I was marrying him because he was an amazing guy!
    Flash forward 7 years later. A 09 toyota Matrix, followed by a Nissan Leaf, Corolla’s traded in for mini vans and vacations on hold for raising 3 beautiful boys.
    My husband doesn’t drive a pickup anymore, and I also don’t wear a $700 ring. We’ve upgraded to an 8k ring and in turn he’s ended up upgrading his car, or more importantly all those expensive Apple computers. But we’re also 8 years in, things change, and raises usually equal upgrades.
    My point is NOT that bigger is better, but life changes. You can upgrade cars and rings and computers all you want, but its pretty difficult to upgrade to an even better person to share your life with. I always tell my husband a little extra “sparkle” doesn’t hurt, but diamonds aren’t my best friend, my best friend is the person I go to bed with and wake up with every single day.
    Great article. If you can spend a lot on your toys, you can spend just as much on your wife. Remember, diamond or no diamond, marriage is a partnership. It’s putting the other person first in every situation. And if that won’t work, marriage probably won’t work for you.

    1. Out of all of the comments this is my favorite. All of the others are full of hate and judgement. I have been with my partner for 8 years we’ve rented then upgraded and bought a house. We had 1 car now we have two And 2 beautiful children. I’m only 28 and would love to get married and have a wedding someday (and a fancy ring to go with it) but right now we are busy living our lives and I love him no less because of it.

  29. Bonnie Chan

    While I agree that the guy who overspends on his car above what he makes will likely overspend bucks for a bling bling because he doesn’t know how to think, I don’t expect that the guy who earns 300K and is frugal on his depreciating car buying is going to be frugal on the ring buying too precisely because he’s smart and knows what he should only be frugal with.

    1. Interesting comment. I may fall into this category. I spent approximately 10x as much on the ring. I don’t mind having a “reasonably priced car” for the pure utility it offers in getting from A to B (safely). I understand that my SO will be wearing her ring for the rest of our lives and I would like her to feel proud each and every day that she wakes up. This is more important to me.

  30. The main subject for this article is fun and interesting, I didn’t know there were so many different ways to get a price estimate for a ring. There is, however, one thing I really don’t like about this article. Not all women want a big ring. Personally I don’t want any ring for my engagement, I don’t wear them and it would just sit in a draw somewhere. However both my partner and I are very traditional so I suspect he will get me a ring. I have told him that if he gets me an engagement ring I want the traditional Irish claddagh ring (a ring with a heart wearing a crown held in hands), in silver. This ring has no jewels and in silver I would expect it to cost no more than about $100, maybe $150 as they are becoming more popular. If I were to get an engagement ring, I would want my partner to think about what I would want, not just look for the biggest rock he could afford.

  31. Hi Fiancial Samurai,
    I’ve been looking for engagement rings, and your article popped up.

    I wanted to point out how flawed your logic is.
    It doesn’t make any sense to compare a car to an accessory like jewelry.

    One typically needs a car, or any vehicle for that matter, to get to work to actually earn money.
    Can you do that with an engagement ring? No, you can’t.

    I’m sure you personally have to drive a car to get to work so you can earn money.
    Unless you don’t work, and you rely off of someone else’s money, how can you even label spending money on a vehicle as something wasteful?

    I do agree you should spend a decent amount of money on the ring, but that shouldn’t be the most important factor of marrying someone.

    If you have the issue of your man cheaping out on the engagement ring, maybe you just chose the wrong partner to begin with and the ring is the icing on the cake?

    But really though, why should you spend so much money on it in the first place?
    To symbolize love? Does that mean your love is something that can be bought?
    I sure hope not.

    With that kind of thinking, that would mean you’re a gold digger.

    Now, if you’re raking in a lot of money, then spending money on a ring shouldn’t be an issue. Some people actually like to save money though. and some women don’t want their man to spend a lot on their engagement rings either. Too many variables apply.

    People have a lot of varying view points on how much they should spend, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all type situation.

    You sound like a typical wasteful consumer not worried about saving money.

    You probably shouldn’t be giving advice to people. Instead of giving insightful information, you’ve just wasted the time of anyone reading this article. I also wasted my time to tell you this, but it was worth it.

  32. Pingback: Are Personal Finance Bloggers Some Of The Sexiest People On Earth? | Financial Samurai

  33. I love all these jaded, divorce-obsessed men defending their sleek and shiny assertions of phallic dominance!

    I’m all about modesty in the ring department (let’s get real – does this woman wearing her 3 carat, E color, VVS1 yellow diamond not feel absurd making sandwiches and flushing toilets with that hand?). I’m also all about going Dutch, or finding a wedding band for the groom that is just as flashy and fabulous!

    However – in response to all of these risk-assessment fellows who insist that true feminists don’t deserve engagement rings, and especially in response to the gentleman who suggested that a woman’s only contribution to a marriage is her swell company, I pose the question: do you have the expectation that your wife will bear any children?

    Maybe we should calculate what 9 months of pregnancy and the experience of childbirth is worth to you? Your child is essentially renting her uterus, after all. A studio apartment can sometimes go for $500/month; is that not an adequate comparison? So far you’re looking at a $4.5k ring. Double that if you want two kids. Triple it for three.

    If a guy isn’t willing to shell out a couple of grand on principle because a lady’s contribution is inadequate, perhaps this lady isn’t unjustified in suggesting that she bear some other, better-looking guy’s child…aw, hell, just adopt a bunch of cats. After all, what is HIS sperm really contributing to marriage?

    Is this argument absurd? OF COURSE. But so is the suggestion that someone you love and care about enough to promise the best years of your life to doesn’t ‘deserve’ a potentially expensive item just because, you know….they got the right to vote, so just shut up already.

    1. Samantha: I was just about to post the exact same argument, then I read your post. I totally agree.

      To the guys who think women who want an engagement ring are shallow, money-grabbing bitches, please ask yourself: Do you want children? Do you want your future spouse to personally donate her eggs for your children? Do you want her to personally nurture that baby in her uterus for nine months, all the while experiencing the following non-exclusive list of symptoms: Morning sickness; frequent urination; vaginal discharge; gas and bloating; bleeding gums; constipation; excessive salivation; hemorrhoids; itchy skin; nosebleeds; swollen extremities (edema); yeast infections, and possible other life-threatening complications? At the conclusion of those nine months, do you expert her to push that baby out of her vagina while experiencing horrific pain and more possible life-threatening complications (if you don’t believe labor is painful, consider watching see Do you expect her to do this, possibly multiple times, for free?

      I won’t go into the costs of actually raising the child once it’s born: as a feminist, I’m assuming that both partners will take equal responsibility for that. But, the one thing men can’t do is pregnancy. Generally, it costs somewhere around $100,000.00-$150,000.00 to hire a surrogate mother. And, the surrogate mother isn’t supplying the egg. That will cost you more. Thus, I think a reasonable estimate of the value of a wife supplying you children is likely at least around $100,000.00 PER CHILD. It should be noted that every women I’ve talked to, regardless of whether they desire children, has had multiple nightmares about pregnancy. Although I may want a child or two, my worst nightmare has been, hands down, about giving birth. I’m guessing you expect your future wife to go through this horror FOR FREE because she loves you.

      In contrast, the average engagement ring costs around $5,000.00.

      Do I believe that a man should spend $100,000.00 on an engagement ring? NO. Do I think a man should go into debt for an engagement ring? NO. But, given our current cultural norms and the expectation that you may have a child or two after marriage, if a man isn’t willing to spend some reasonable amount on whatever a woman wants as an engagement gift because he can’t see the value of everything (let alone the pregnancies) she’s promising to contribute in their marriage, the guy is not marriage material. If she wants something sparkly, so be it. If she wants a bank account, so be it. If she wants to take a vacation with you, consider yourself lucky.

      1. your problem is that you assume man and woman will equally contribute to the financial upkeep of the child. the facts are on average, they wont. Not only do men make more on average, but in couples raising a child together than man works much more often than the woman…

        so to use your logic, the WOMAN should be buying the man an expensive bauble for each child he gives her.

        1. Jaded much? Wow.

          I totally agree with the car/jewelry and partners analogies, but this whole “men should be grateful for having us and our womb” tirade was ridiculous. You basically said the ring should pay for what your uterus spits out (I get that it’s meant to be a broader point than just the ring). “As a feminist” you have laid out an entire argument that presents men as users of your child birthing parts and yourself as a paid for distribution center. It should be two way street of appreciation for what each brings to the table, if that isn’t there, then maybe don’t have children? Please.

          To the other posters, thank you for the insight on letting the SO choose the style/type of ring, that makes total sense to me (I’m CLUELESS on picking the right jewelry and I know it). This process of looking for the right ring is a bit stressful as is, but I still have to come up with a fun/memorable proposal! =-)
          Cheers all.

      2. ROFLMAO

        “phallic dominance”
        “women should be given a ring which costs 4.5k * the number of kids you want to have”
        “as a feminist”

        I simply do not believe that Julia/Samantha are real posters. They MUST be trolls. There is NO WAY smart + emotionally healthy women actually believe that nonsense. I’m CRYING with laughter.

    1. Tdub FTW. Ladies, I just have to say, you should ask yourselves why having a huge ass diamond means so much to you?

      My fiance proposed with a family ring and he didn’t spend a dime. He also traded in his car for a bike so I guess I should have seen this coming.

      It certainly isn’t huge but its beautiful and has been in the family for generations. I’m thrilled he didn’t drop some crazy amount of money on a piece of jewelry. That means more money for our wedding/honey moon/ down payment on a house…whatever. I know to each their own but I’m more excited about marrying a man who is supportive, makes decisions with me and whom I trust to love me unconditionally and eternally. I don’t need a 20,000$ ring to prove my worth or our worth as a couple. It is bizarre to me that anyone would.

  34. why should it really be so influenced by the circumstance of the giver, when it is the receiver who will be wearing it every single day for the rest of their life. a good test is to ask the girl how much she would spend on her own ring, and what cut she would choose, if the girl was supposed to buy her own ring, and there’s your answer. if you would be happier spending more/less make the diamond a tiny bit bigger/smaller, or choose a more/less expensive metal in the same colour scheme i.e. replace silver with white gold or white gold with platinum.

  35. I appreciate this article. I agree the old “rules” for engagement rings are ridiculous. For the past year or so I’ve brought up the fact to my husband that he LOVES cars, and wastes so much money on them and jewelry to me is like cars to him; only my jewelry will never lose its value, yet every car hes ever owned or will own will just become a hunk of wasted money and junk over a short period of time with absolutely NOTHING to show for it in the end.

    cars= shiny metallic objects, rust, break, fall apart, cost to upkeep, always in demand of repairs/service, tires, oil, road tax/license fees, cost more than the original price, quickly depreciating value; yet still somehow brings owner happiness
    jewelry = shiny metallic objects that never lose value, rarely cost more than the original price, small amounts or service usually free anyway, won’t depreciate; brings happiness to owner

    My husband is really a bit of a not-so-nice when it comes to the combination of me and jewelry. I really don’t ask for much of anything, but I do love and appreciate jewelry. I don’t wear expensive clothing or waste money on handbags, clothing, hairstyles or jewelry or anything really. Over the past 11 years or so I’ve bought him PS4, ifad this, ifad that, phones, cameras, expensive watches etc, expensive clothing, whatever he desired; totalling many thousands of dollars, all paid with my own hard saved money, not OUR money. He has always earned about 4x what I make. He has a new, leased or new/used car every few years. I’m grateful that I’ve had a couple of nice cars too. And I do adore my husband. But as soon as I bring up jewelry, he literally just “cant’t stand it” and “it’s a waste of money” and has no patience for any of it.
    In fairness to him he has bought me a couple of jewelry items that I do love and are valuable, but if we’re talking “fairness” in respect to money spent on each other, I’ve spent FAR MORE on him and his toys.

    I will admit that yes, because he earns more, he spends more on upkeep of our home and lifestyle; but again I dont ask for much, and once in a while, when I do want a nice piece of jewelry ($150-500), it would be nice if he would think about how much it means to ME, and not so much about what it means to him. Do I love him – yes. Does he love me – yes. Is he generally a wonderful person – yes. I’m not trying to say “poor me” or say that hes a terrible husband or person, because he’s not.

    What sparked all of this conversation and me finding this website, was HIM getting tipsy one night and ALL OF HIS OWN ACCORD, telling me that for our anniversary I could pick out my “dream ring” with a budget of $5K, and then says he doesn’t remember it and it’s way too much money. All the while he’s planning to get himself an new/used car for $10-40k in the next year, and I have never once told him he can’t do it.

    Sorry darling, I love you, but you REALLY hurt my feelings, and make me feel like I’m not worth as much to you as your wants and your expensive car habits.

  36. This article is quite interesting. The beauty of this topic is that no two people are the same. It’s like politics. Yes, there are two major sides but the lines blur when you get into the deeper arguments. I can speak from experience to say that the size of “the ring” usually correlates to a person’s feeling of worth. The man wants to either be practical and make a financially sound decision and does, he could get bullied into a larger and pricier ring because he does not want to argue and does not wear the pants in the relationship or he feels that he needs or wants to show off his worth to others and splurges.
    On to my second point, women wear large rocks for other women. We want to show the world that we value ourselves and we make good decisions in finding a partner. Those that talk about “feminism” do not understand the true nature of man. We are primitive creatures that still uphold the “hunter, gatherer” traditions. We want to show that our mate is powerful and successful (think Lion King here), and that we are attractive and the best possible mates.
    Very simple way of dealing with this…. Make the best possible decision for your wallet, your future and your place in life and work on making the future marriage a successful one.

  37. I don’t think it’s fair to say that women expect men to spend that much money on an engagement ring. SOME women, yes, but not all. The author’s generalization of women is extremely unfair. That’s like saying that because women in porn let men do X to her, that they ALL will, which, as I’m sure even the author has discovered, is not true.

    And $20k-$50k? Are you insane? Where’s my damn house? If my SO proposed to me with something that cost that much, I don’t care how much money he makes (which is NOT enough to justify spending that much) he’d be returning it and buying something sensibly priced. It is not about “what she is worth” or “how beautiful you say she is” or “how much your fucking car costs”. Any woman who sees their SO’s car and says/thinks “well, if he can spend $50k on something that will only lower in value but is actually a useful, functional item, then he should spend at least that on my ring” needs her head examined and possibly to be sterilized so she cannot infect her children with that ridiculous way of thinking.

    You can also take diamonds and stick them up your ass; I don’t really like them. And that’s another thing: how is your SO supposed to divine what style of ring YOU will want to wear for the rest of your life? Why does he get to choose it? My SO would NEVER have even found the ring I picked, never mind known that it’s what I would want. He would have gone to some jewelry store and picked out [insert generic diamond solitaire engagement ring here] because what does he know about buying rings except that jewelry stores sell them and that diamonds are “tradition” (created by the diamond industry to convince non-rich people to buy diamonds)?

    That also leaves out those couples who live together and have joint finances BEFORE getting engaged. If HE bought me an engagement ring it would be US paying for it because the money would come out of our single, JOINT account. HE is not expected to pay for anything. WE are making a decision together with OUR money. And my ring will likely only cost $3000. I say “only” as compared to $20k. $3000 is a lot of money to many people, me included.

    1. I think it is GREAT that you allow him to drive a nice car and spent a much smaller amount on a ring. More power to both of you. I know he will really appreciate it too.

      1. Most women won’t agree~! I think most women will be pretty upset when their husband drives a fancy corvette, gets a new expensive Apple computer, $900 cell phone and then the wife gets a crackerjack ring?! Well, I brought that up to my husband and sure enough, he got me a very beautiful ring. I did give him some old gold to help with a trade-in, since I never wear the stuff. He paid 90% of the ring in cash. The other ten percent was from the old gold I gave him to trade-in for the ring. We’re both very happy with the arrangement. He couldn’t live with himself knowing that he drove a corvette, had an expensive apple computer & cell phone and what did he get me??! I got a gorgeous big rock to wear everyday! Even my husband likes the ring and shows it off to all who will listen. The whole point is to make each other happy! :)

        1. You’re ridiculous. Be happy with whatever you get. How about that?

          I make a decent salary. I do drive a new corvette, have both the “expensive” Mac and PC computers (not sure what that has to do with anything), have the new phones and iPods, and have a modest house. You think my future wife is going to be sporting some crazy ring because of it? Nope.

          You’re in it for the wrong reasons. If you think a ring defines how someone feels about you then I have met the problem that exists today.

          Gone are the days when the woman’s family pays for the wedding. I’m sure that’ll be on me and my family. And you need a rock to tell you how I feel? Got it.

          Sorry for your hubby. That sucks. It’s sad that everything boils down to money these days with this type of personality.

    2. My SO and I went ring shopping the other day. He makes over 6figs a year and drives a nice car – it’s a little older, but it’s still a luxury sports convertible. I was annoyed when he gawked at the 6k ring I had initially wanted to get a few months before, so when we went shopping together recently, I looked at all rings ignoring the price.

      That said, the one I fell in love with was only about 4k, closer to 3k when the shopkeeper gave us a discount for him buying it on the spot (which was actually about the price he wanted to pay, conveniently enough for him). I love antique rings, and this one was 1920s platinum and had a very unique design with a lot of filigree. The largest diamond was only around .57 carats with .24 carats worth of accent diamonds, and it didn’t have any other stones on it, like I had previously wanted, but I don’t know. For some reason it struck me. There was a similar ring for 14k, that I was leaning towards, but honestly I genuinely liked the other, smaller one better, and the 14k one, while it had a larger diamond, didn’t have the character and detailed filigree of the other one. So much to my own annoyance… because I really wanted to make him stretch a bit more with the pricing, we fell within his budget and I got a ring I wanted. Hopefully I still love it whenever it is he asks me to propose.

      But also, at the end of the day, we are a partnership. Money that he spends on a ring doesn’t go to other places that would benefit our general health more, like a remodeled kitchen or master bath, or even our wedding. Also, we like to travel and hike, and and I am generally quite good at losing/destroying things, so while I don’t plan on having anything happen to my ring, I’d rather wear something that won’t be the equivalent of totaling a car.

    3. My bf of 9 years lives in my house and he still didn’t give me a ring. He bought a ring in November and it is now August. Right around that time he came up with a financial plan for us to put money into a joint account and we would split all the bills, paying his credit cards off, motorcycles off and all the house bills. I said no thanks. I own my home and have less debt than he does. The ring cost $400.00 from Nexus Diamond. I saw the receipt laying around. The ring sits in a box in the closet. He was making $40,000.00 a year and is now making over $100,000.00. In the 9 years I have been with him, he bought me 1 piece of jewelry from Zales for $450.00. The rest has all been junk jewelry. He has 2 new Harleys though! Also I am a yellow gold person but he likes sterling silver and white gold. And yes, that is exactly what he bought. What he likes. I just don’t know how to take any of it.

      1. Ally, you should’ve left him 8 years ago. You don’t need a man like this…you will do better without him!

  38. 1st of all NO ONE SHOULD EVER GET MARRIED before AGE 50, it does not make any financial sense. 50% of all people who get married end up in Divorce, 90% of all Divorces end up with the man PAYING MORE THAN 48% OF HIS SALARY IN CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY.

    Some states like CA, can have you paying Alimony for LIFE and Alimony I most cases is 40-50% of the child support and alimony.

    Think about it, cut your salary in half, the court does not care how you are going to live….YOU WILL PAY PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!

    Tell the lady you will buy a house with her but don’t get married until after age 50, marriages that occur after age 50 have a 90% success rate, so now the odds are in your favor.

    Tell her you are against marriage or you don’t believe in it but if you are together long enough then you would be willing to consider it.

    My GF was all hot and heavy for getting married and I said no way, we can buy a house together and split everything 50/50.

    As far as buying a Ring, I said we can either spend the money on remolding the kitchen or your ring and she gets to choose her ring.

    850 for ring, 15k on the kitchen….well 7k each!

    You guys need to treat this marriage thing like a business arrangement, that is the way the court will do it and if you go into a divorce you can bet your bottom dollar that she will to, no matter how sweet and sexy they seem now. When a Lawyer gets them in a room you are done for.

    1. It’s not true that 90% of divorces end with a man paying almost half of his income in alimony and child support. That’s just not a fact. At all. And child support and alimony are very, very different things. If you were still married, you would spend part of your income on your child….if you divorce and don’t have custody, that’s where child support comes in. You’re just supporting your child financially, as you should. I respect your argument about alimony…just don’t lump it in with child support…the IRS is VERY specific about those being treated separately, as they should be, because they’re extremely different concepts.

      1. The Professor

        Not exactly. In CA at least you could have say 50-50 custody and one person pays a lot more in child support.
        Some people ask for the 50 % custody but sadly don’t come close to putting in 50% of time with their kids.
        Also child support is not written in stone. It can change based on one person’s income and people go back to the courts for this all the time.

  39. 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…)

  40. skeptical57

    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.

    1. Some women are demanding. The mother-in-law sounds like a narcissist. Although my mother has a ring that’s worth 100k — yes that right, it’s worth one-hundred thousand dollars and she purchased it herself — when she saw the ring my husband got me, even she was well pleased. It’s not worth 100k, but it’s stunning and within a reasonable amount of money — $12,500.

  41. 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.

      1. It won’t go over well, I can promise you. I’m sitting here with my big anniversary rock; however, before I had it, I had to endure my husband splurging on all kinds of nonsense. When I brought that up to him, he realized he was wrong and very selfish. Even he had a change of heart and purchased an anniversary ring that most women only dream about.

  42. Daniel McCain

    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.

    1. 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?

        1. Right on, Financial Samurai!

          I found the article very helpful to form some way to gauge what my partner and I should aim for value-wise in this awkwardly subjective situation. He and I want to be reasonable and fair.

          Her rules, imo, offer some perspective and suggest a responsible take on what to spend in relation to income — I don’t think anyone should take any online advice as hard set rules that must be followed — she’s just giving you a scale to Consider.

          I got a bone to pick with all these nay-saying selfish money hoarding male critics here, tho. First, I completely advocate everyone spending Anything within reason. Second, most men don’t buy utility vehicles out of necessity (very few do, like my partner). Third, it’s just an analogy comparing the expense of a ring to another big ticket purchase most guys really care about and are willing to invest/fork up cash for!!!

          Although Im a feminist, the expense of a ring should still hold true. Honest to god, having a lifelong partner enhances one’s quality of life in all areas – at least that’s why I bother partnering up lol. What does that improvement mean to you? If you short change your partner that’s just a reflection of you. Case in point, my dad upgraded my Mom’s ring and it still was under 1ct. Do I think that’s fair – hell no!! She covered all the groceries, utilities, half the mortgage, all 3 of her kids’ tuition (at a well known private school to biit) and Then some …. .. . She’s been devoted to him and a down right saint while he splurged on cars, shoes and other non-essential items.

          When my Mom defends my dad’s reason for her diamond [due to him not being able to afford more] I just look at her so sadly. He knew she desperately needed to stay with his lame ass because of cultural/social norms and so he reduced her value as a partner to not even a carat. He’s attempted cheating in different respects and got away with it bc she couldn’t find herself alone, or picture herself as a divorcé or raise her kids with that dybamic or see herself meeting anyone else. She takes her vows seriously till the day she dies.

          In my case, I’m glad I came across this article. I won’t expect the 1/10 rule from my partner because I think the size would look gaudy on my tiny, skinny fingers (lucky for him) and I’d rather we save for our house and future savings (I’m ridiculously frugal on daily living expenses)….. but it’s nice to know I’m not asking for too much also.

          So, thank you Financial Samurai :) keep it up!

          1. Glad you enjoyed the article, and thanks for your perspective. I particularly appreciate it from your perspective and sharing your parent’s situation. You’ve totally got the gist of the underlying meaning of the article.

            1. While there are many reasons for one to get on you about your blog and political comments, this post is riddled with humor that I can appreciate and laugh at. When it comes to engagement rings, women (or the receiver of an engagement ring) get a little silly.

              To me – given that my wedding rings are the ONLY piece of jewelry that I wear (and plan on wearing until I die – 40-50 years after my marriage), it was worth the money and well above the 1/10th rule of thumb. We didn’t sacrifice a down payment on a home for it, we did it over time (upgraded after 5 years) and it will outlast any car that I will purchase over my lifetime. Most importantly, he paid cash for it (don’t get me started on financed weddings and rings – ugh!!!).

              If this posts hits a nerve, that’s a good thing. Getting us to think about our money and what we spend it on will get us closer to those milestones that you speak of. Your rules are recommendations, not laws.

  43. 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.

    1. 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.

  44. Kelly,

    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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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?

  47. Kelly,
    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

  48. 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..

  49. 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)

  50. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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!

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  54. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I don’t understand why there are so many haters and negative comments on this article. If you find it ridiculous that someone who makes 50k a year income should buy a car worth 5k, then go right ahead and buy the car of your dreams. Yes its true the average person who makes 50k won’t be seen driving a 5k car, but then how many people do you know that are already retired and financially free? Not many, probably because they have the same mentality. The author is simply trying to advise us that in order to retire quicker, you shouldn’t be pissing half your income on a depreciating asset. After all, he is retired and works for himself at a relatively young age. How many of you are in a position to say that?

        Since I started following FS, I’ve cut my spending by $700 per month. Is that enough to make me rich? Prob not, but at least I am doing everything I can to keep more of my hard earned money without sacrificing comfort or pleasure, and it feels great.

  55. 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.

  56. Guy that can do math

    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.

      1. +2.. I guess all the median salary earners making 35-40K a year driving 20K cars are actually earning 200K! I should go tell them!

  57. 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!

    1. 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!!

      1. 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.

        1. How about this for advice, don’t like marriage, don’t get married. Don’t like women, than date a man or be alone for the rest of your life. Seriously, men like you will never be happy because you are all into “The world only caters to women!” Why would a woman want to be with a whining man child you like you. Now that being said. Put on your big boy pants and GROW UP!

  58. 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.

    1. Wow. You are a diamond. No sarcasm there. A lady who appreciates financial wisdom above frivolity could, truthfully, command a large diamond from those of us out there with good income looking for a lifelong ‘partner’.

      Your post is refreshing to me, because my personal experience indicates that you are in a VERY small minority in today’s hyper consumerist world.

      Thank you for being who you are. I don’t care if your net worth is 5B or 5k, your logic makes you a true catch, no matter who you end up with!

      1. Agreed.

        Diamond engagement ring purchases were a result of a DeBeers sales pitch targeted at teenage girls in high school in the early 1900’s. No joke, DeBeers, the diamond salesman whose company is now a leading retailer, had salesmen travel from school to school in the early 1920’s to instill the idea that women should be offered diamond rings when they are proposed to. Years later they did another number on girls to instill the idea of “heirlooming” diamonds so that couples did not hock their rings once married and in need of money. This ensured that the DeBeers company, and other diamond retailers, would flourish and have a steady flow of income for years to come.

        If you don’t believe me, google it!

    2. Hi Ann,

      I agree with you.

      In fact these rules make no sense. Diamond rings are a modern invention due to consumerism.

      I don’t play this game and I don’t waste my time on women that expect such things from me.

  59. 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.

    1. Lol, I was looking for rings for my girlfriend tonight online and came across this article.. I LOVE buying her expensive things because I feel compelled to do so because she has given me so much in return. That said, I make 100,000 a year, and am planning on buying a roughly 10,000 ring. This blogger is typical gold digger trash who never really has been in love and is looking for material bullshit. I’m so happy I found a girl would would never write trash like this and doesn’t imply these things… And maybe she gets them anyway, but its not expected. My advice to you writer, grow a subtle personality, find someone who likes it and enjoy the finer things in life, with that I mean love and friendship. You will never be truely happy.

      1. I feel like this article was written really sarcastically, or at least that’s how I read it in my head. Not sure how to take it, but gave me some laughs.

  60. Your engagement ring is not a “gift” wow…serious? It’s a symbol of your devotion and ever-lasting love for another person. If that’s what you build your relationship on -gifts- then I guarantee your marriage is a sham.

  61. All this talk about “how much a man needs to spend on the engagement ring” is BS. If a man loves a woman then he should get a ring he can afford and one that comes from the heart. If the woman truly loves the man then the actual ring doesn’t matter-it’s the affection behind the symbol. I feel sad for your relationship if your “wife” feels like she is “owed” a $7,000.00 engagement ring…. No amount of money can buy a persons love, it will only make you love that person’s money. Strip everything material away from a couple and what do you have left? If you cannot love your husband as a poor man then you should not be married. Period.

  62. My only problem with the car analogy is that it doesn’t take into consideration that when you buy a car, you tend to pay off the car in monthly installments. For example, I buy a $50K car today, but I will be paying for it over the next 5 years.

    Now, I don’t what the status quo is for buying engagement rings, but I am under the impression that it’s a purchase you typically pay in full.

  63. I have to say that I don’t agree with this. My husband doesn’t value cars at all. He drives a motorcycle which cost him $3,000 and he will probably drive it until it dies. He is cheap…I mean, frugal. I think, for my selfish sake, I will stick to a 2 month salary rule. I think in the end, though, its all about financial sense. You and your partner have to balance financial responsibility with what you guys can AFFORD. Finance problems often times ruin marriages. I don’t think a slightly smaller ring will [ruin your marriage].

  64. My boyfriend thinks 7,000 is too much for an engagement ring. O honestly think after 9 years and one baby I deserve it. Im tired of feeling guilty for wanted what I believe is owed. What do you guys think?

  65. When I bought my wife her ring, I wondered why it had to be a diamond? I found her an antique 1930s ring with an aquamarine and small diamonds set around it. It wasn’t cheap, but I’m sure I got more ring for my money. Of course, I made sure she was happy with an aquamarine before I bought it.

  66. Too funny!
    I totally need an upgrade in my ring!
    The car we were driving at the time of engagement was a $12k Saturn, but even if I went with DH’s first car, a Sable that he paid maybe $3k for, I’d totally get an upgrade. My engagement ring cost us probably around $500. I don’t remember exactly- we ordered the stone (a natural Alexandrite) on line and then had it placed in a solitaire platinum setting (the tradition setting for an Alex). Instead of getting a fancy ring, we bought a new house.
    C used to say that he wanted to be able to switch the stone into a setting where it would be offset by diamonds (also traditional for an Alex) as an anniversary gift. Our 10th anniversary is next August, I could totally demand an upgrade.
    Of course, how he’d pay for it is another story, as he’s still a full time student and I’m the sole earner. I guess I could make him use some of the life insurance from his mom for it, except that that money is currently earmarked for adoption expenses.
    Hmm, what do I want more- new bling or to be able to add a child to our family without adding debt….. :-p

  67. My rule was to skip on all of those rules and buy something modest and elegant that she would like. Size might seem impressive but size can be duplicated by cubic zerconia. So I favored clarity and color, two c’s that are better long term indicators of the diamonds quality.

    Another consideration, find a local jeweler, preferably one you or a family member has done business before. In most cases cash is king for these owners and negotiating a price is really easy. There is no reason you should pay retail.

    The best benefit of seeing a local jeweler (at least in my case) was that the cut, alignment and band were all original, from his personal collection, only available at his store. When you find a good jeweler, one who is passionate you will discover that they do actually have their own short term licensed lines of rings, earrings, necklaces, etc. These are much easier to repair, clean and maintain.

    One last point, diamonds are not investments!

  68. Diamonds are useful for drill bits and cutting tools.

    If they are used as an ornamental decoration on a womans hand, then a C.Z. is good enough.
    If your woman demands a real diamond, then she has bought into the myth. Find a woman that is more focused on cooperation,hard work and responsibility rather than glamour and image.

    Take that $10000 and buy some land or invest it for your future children. Dont waste it on a stupid rock so that other people that you dont even know at restaurants will be impressed. Trust me, we arent impressed.

    Not to mention that diamonds are mined using slave labor. Why do you want to support and industry like that? Are you sick? Wake up and grow up people!!!!! Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

  69. The car rule makes more sense if spending on more car than necessary. If you spend $50,000 on a BMW, then sure, I guess the lady should be indulged a bit, too. ;)

    Three months salary is a little nuts whether gross or net. I think one month is reasonable.

  70. Michael Garner

    I would have given my g/f an engagement ring whose worth would be calculated as (My car’s cost – Her car’s cost) and that would have been $5,000 because I drive a $15,000 accord and she drives a $10,000 Corolla. But I married her before I got to know of this rule. Luckily, she isn’t into diamonds, so I could give her a $300 Gold ring (No diamonds). And yes, Gold will hold its value and is tradable! :-)

  71. Jewelry lover

    I got a question. My husband’s mother bought him a corvette. What happens when another family member buys your fiancee or husband a car? My husband bought me a car for my business, which I think was about 17k a few years back. How can I ask him for a 17k diamond ring? My ring size is only 4.5. A 17k ring would look ridiculous on my finger. Seriously! I think I could get a 3 carat for that price because his friend is a gemologist who gets diamonds from S. Africa. I couldn’t even imagine getting a diamond that big because it would look ridiculous on a small finger. Now a 1.5 carat diamond would be fine, and of course, I’ve requested that size (an upgrade) for our 25th anniversary, but a 17k ring would look really ridiculous on a very small finger. I think the size of your finger also has something to do with it. I have another ring I wear, which I got from my grandmother, and it’s huge. It’s a little over two carats total. I couldn’t wear that much bling on two fingers anyway. But back to my question: What happens if the mother-in-law buys the fiancee or hubby a car, especially a nice one like a corvette?

    1. You can get an Internally Flawless (IF) 1.2 carat ring for $17,000 actually. I’m suggesting the car value be a MAXIMUM ceiling that the wife can ask for. A wife doesn’t have to ask for that much though :)

  72. what terrible logic. women have cars too and the price point for a ring starts way lower than a car.

    $10,000 will buy you a REALLY nice engagement ring.
    $10,000 will buy you a 2002 honda civic with 80,000 miles….

    1. I find a 2002 Honda Civic to be an extremely sexy car!

      $10,000 car means you’re making at leas $100,000. Not bad!

      This post is for silly guys who can afford cars, let alone $50,000 cars!

      1. Who said that $10k car means $100k of person’s salary.
        Not sure what country you’re from, obviously some conservative country with culture that praises saving money and does not like cars, but in US cars are a priority. It symbolizes the status in society. Also, in US woman have jobs and equal rights. Any chick that demands huge rock on the engagement ring is most likely divorce the guy if things don’t go for him in the right direction … financially. Just two cents.
        I still think you’re comments are idiotic.

  73. While I do agree that there are quite a few people in our society who are this shallow, I disagree with you stating that all women want huge rings.

    My case is the perfect example. My husband proposed to me after buying a condo at the ripe old age of 23. He, at 23, put 20% down on our home. That’s $45,000… and it cleared out almost all of his savings. We live in an extremely affluent suburb of Washington, DC, and for this chunk of change we have a 768 sq ft condo. Small maybe, but it is our home.

    He proposed to me just several months later, with a beautiful .78 carat ring. In this area, women always wave their 2+ carat sparklers, but not me. And why am I so proud?

    Because my husband said that before he could ask my father for m hand in marriage, he felt he needed to do it right. And by do it right, he needed to buy a home to show my father he could support me. So my ring is less than a month of his salary.

    I love him more than anything… and his 2000 Jetta. Love exists for those of us smart enough to find it.

    1. Oh no, I think you are misinterpreting the farcical nature of this post. At the heart of everything, it’s about tying ridiculous materialistic desires of one, and allowing the other to match ifthey wanted to!

      I’m all for something indxpensive and quaint that works for you!


  74. Youngandthrifty

    I too think the 3 month rule is ridiculous and I think you might have a point there about how materialistic a guy is. I know a girl who rides her bike everywhere and her husband does too. They are not materialistic by any means and her ring only cost $900. Another friend I know grew up materialistic. Her fiancé drove a civic but still got her a huge Tiffany ring because she had been asking for one. Two polar opposites :)

    1. Wow. All he has to to is tell her honey about his honda civic! That said, new honda civics are $20,000 so….. $20,000 can buy a pretty nice H, VVS2, 1.6 carat Tiffany’s!

      1. Financial Samurai, you’re a complete …. then again, I don’t like offending people, so I’ll stp at that.
        Cars have been in use for a bit over 100 years, what about before then? There were no diamond rings? Who the hell decides 3 months, or a car? Why not 3 years? Or the price of the residence the couple wants to own before they retire. Then all these people would be buying $150k or $15M rings just to meet the stupid rules who are propelled by the industry that benefits on selling diamonds, as well as all the people involved in the process.
        You sound like a person who is in sales of engagement rings. Such person is still a salesman. Every salesman is sleazy. And I wouldn’t like to be taking advices from one.

        As long as I agree that buying my future fiance a ring for $100 would be embarrassing to her in the eyes of her family, spending $20k for Average Joe on a ring because the dude drives beat up Civic you think is the norm? You mentioned multiple times that someone who drives old Civic should be able to afford the ring of New Civic? Are you high? or just provoking. I also did not find any intelligent comments you made, when people asked questions. The only thing you did was sticking to stupid rules, no matter how ridiculed they got by anyone here asking questions. You should have graduated high school, and get real job, instead of being a sleazy and obviously not too bright salesman.

  75. David Damron

    I proposed to my girlfriend this past October and this is how it all was approached….

    1) We are living off one income while she is in a masters program. So, we are broke. We decided under $2k was more than enough. This would buy a beautiful half carat.

    2) I decided to only buy the ring if I made the money outside of our normal budget. I do a few things online and was able to earn enough to cover the ring as well as a trip to SoCal on a budget to propose.

    3) I saw the movie Blood Diamond a few years back and decided then to go with a blood-free company. I went with Brilliant Earth in San Francisco and the ring buying experience was perfect.

    4) This whole time, we knew affording our normal livelihood was more important than a physical sign of affection. Even if we made a ton more, we had decided that the rock was not going to make our relationship stronger. Our actions and choices would.

    5) This was the result….

    David Damron

    1. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

      How sweet! Congrats on adding an extra year to your life and making a video for your children to see. :)

    2. Good stuff man and well done! Hey, as long as she’s happy, that’s all that matters. I wanted to turn the post around to focus on the guy, since it’s often the girl who seems to want the ideal wedding and ring.

      How did you frame the camera smoothly without her wondering wassup?

  76. We had our rings tattooed on for our 10th anniversary. The 1/4 carat diamond engagement ring he bought me in college sits on display, next to our wedding photos now. I was never one for jewelry, and this was more than big enough – anything else would have looked tacky on me, and I’d have stopped wearing it long before the tattoo.

  77. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

    Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s quite obvious that the size of the ring is directly correlated to how much he loves you. So, if he gets you the 0.25 carat diamond, he clearly doesn’t love you as much as the guy that would buy the 1.0 carat ring. Plus, everyone knows that the ring should be large enough to guarantee covering at least the first 3 months worth of rent when she sells it after the divorce. Duh!

      1. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

        Marriage has been proven to shorten the lifespan of women, so I’m pretty sure that I want to be unmarried for a while longer. But if someone wants to buy me a “promise” ring of at least 2 carats (being in NY and all) I wouldn’t say no. A girl has to have standards.

        1. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

          I’ve got you covered. “Marriage helps
          husbands to an extra 1.7 years, but it knocks 1.4 years off the average wife’s lifespan, according to the study of more than 100,000 people across Europe.” I’m not giving up that extra year just yet…unless there’s 5 carats attached…okay, maybe 4.

  78. The Financial Blogger

    I simply love this post, funny to read but still informative!
    @Husbands to be: time to sell your car for a cheaper one! You’ll save money on both sides!

  79. badcreditrating

    I would look for an inexpensive car, say 1000 to 1500 dollars. Just something to get you back and forth to work or school. In that time I would consolidate all your bills to get your credit standing in the green. This is very simple to do and will lower your monthly payments to creditors, and give you a better interest rate. Only one payment for all your creditors. What a great feeling that is. And work your way up, getting things paid off and such. This is key, because you don’t want to fall back into the same hole that you are in know. Get that credit rating up, get those bills paid off, and get you a car that is reliable, yet inexpensive. You don’t want to get a new car and have a huge car payment, then you wont be able to pay your other bills. This has happened to me plenty of times. you just need to think straight, have a goal in mind, and go after it. Everything will fall into place. Good luck, and I hope this helped you

  80. I like the way you think! The car rule is a smart way to go. I sometimes wish I spent a little more than I should’ve on my wife’s ring. She loves it though so I guess it was worth it but every time I see it on her finger, I still see the dollar figure. I spent less than the societal rule though fortunately :)

  81. Roger, the Amateur Financier

    Hum, interesting rule, FS. I have just a few questions:

    1. What if your fiancee picks out a ring that costs much, much less than any of the cars that you’ve owned? My fiancee picked out her own ring with fairly small diamonds that only cost about $200, but which seemed to love.

    2. What are the rules about the price of a replacement ring in case the woman loses her ring? (Yes, this did happen to my fiancee.) Is it the cost of another car all over again, or can you downgrade since you’ve already shown your true feelings the first time around? Is it up to the woman to cover the replacement ring costs?

    3. What if you buy your fiancee a car? (You guessed it, another story from my own life.) If we’re using a car as the gauge for ring buying, can you swap one purchase for the other? If you help your woman buy a car, is she then obligated to buy you a ring?

    1. Roger,

      Man, tough questions! Why ya gotta be so complicated? :)

      1) Obviously you have to take the difference between the cost of your car and the price of the ring and buy her a gift to make things equal!

      2. If she loses it, insurance takes care of it!

      3. Buying your fiancee a car is not allowed!

      1. Common Sense

        Ok, financial samurai, you are a complete moron. This person makes 3 very good points about the many flaws in your “rule”. I am not engaged, and while I would love for my boyfriend to spend $20k (the price of his car) on an engagement ring, I have common sense. Why would a man have to work as hard for an engement ring and make monthly payments like he did for a car? Oh and “buying your fiancé a car is not allowed”?! Are you freaking kidding me?!? You obviously are not intelligent enough to come up with answers that actually make sense, or even answer his questions for that matter. You should change your name.

  82. An engagement ring nowadays, need not to be that hot or expensive. As long as you can use it to represent the relationship you have with a person, that is enough already. But of course, there should be a great effort to get that ring. As for me, I used almost 3 months of my paycheck for my wife’s engagement ring. LOL

  83. Sam, I remembered reading the titled last week and vowed to return! VALUES play the determinant. I don’t value lots of cash spent on jewelry and I never have. If my husband wants to spend more than a couple of hundred bucks on jewelry for me, I throw a fit. I’d rather go to Brazil or Puerto Rico than flaunt a gaudy ring! But that’s me!

  84. I can say that I paid 3 months worth of salary for my wife’s ring. This was actually by accident. The asked what amount I was comfortable spending, and then showed me rings that were that much or less. The sales person was fantastic, and she really worked for that sale (although it was only $3,100 or so at the time). I literally was in the jewelry store for a combined time of almost 10 hours trying to make sure that I really liked the particular stone and setting that I thought she’d enjoy (and yes I changed the style of stone one time).

    Would I do that again … absolutely, she is well worth it! And no, we didn’t go into debt (it was paid for before the wedding day, along with the wedding itself, and the honeymoon). And even after staying at home with the our 4 kids for over 10 years now, I still think it was well worth it.

  85. AuthorIsBrilliant

    This is, with out any doubt in my mind, the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

    If you are in love and are asking someone to spend the rest of your life with you, that act, that emotion, is more then any ring can show. You are “buying in” to a societial convention. It’s hard not to care because you’ve been conditioned to “think” that it means love. You are telling people that its normal to spend a TON of money on a gift so that she can brag to her friends. The ring is NOT a symbol if two people are confident in their love for each other. It is shown in many, MANY, other ways.

    Even as a financially minded person, we all get WAY too caught up in putting a dollar value on everything. NETWORTH for example is not what you are worth…. it is just what you have. My bestfriend has a magnetic personality. Can make anyone, really anyone laugh. I know this because he donotes his time to the childern’s hospital to spend time making kids laugh. At 35 he makes 29K/yr. In my opinion, he is worth much more then someone making 6 figures. Or someone who writes this kind of drivel…..

    The Rule for men is. If she loves you. The ring doesn’t matter.

  86. Hm. I just wear a wedding band. DH made my engagement ring out of a dowel rod. I guess he didn’t buy his first car either– it was an ancient hand-me-down from his parents.

  87. Kevin@InvestItWisely

    This post doesn’t bode well for me….

    My own view though is 1 month of net should be fine unless you are bling bling. Standards might be different if you’re with a gold digger, too.

  88. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    sounds like the Hallmark and holidays story . . .

    but women and diamonds . . . it’s a match made in heaven and will likely go on eternally lol

  89. I just have one rule (and yes I am married)

    My future wife would have to be happy with twist tie or a diamond, because what made her happy was not the ring but me.

    I think people get too caught up in the material part of engagements, the reality is that she is marrying you and the ring is only a symbol of your commitment–the value is in the commitment not in the diamond.

    And in case you are wondering, I did get her a diamond ring and had it hand crafted to a design I drew on some paper. But she should have been happy with a twist tie :)

  90. Money Reasons

    In addition to saving for college for my kids, I better start saving money for my son so he can afford to get engaged someday!!!

    And to think, at one time families use to provide a dowry (bribe) for the husband to marry their daughter.

    The world is a crazy place.

  91. I never heard of so many rules for engagement ring purchases! And I must admit that many of them are crazy! I bought my wife a beautiful 1 carat ring last year and she loves it. Unfortunately, we now live in Boca Raton and I think there is a new rule around here… rings are worth $10,000 times more than your age. She still loves her ring though. I agree with Penny, “buy what you can afford.” I paid cash for her ring and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  92. Penny Frugalista

    What if he leases his car — how do you measure against that? Ha ha.

    There should be no “rules” when it comes to engagement rings or gifts. Buy what you can afford and what you want. Too much judgment on these things.

      1. If the girl is asking for a $50,000 ring – maybe he can lease that ring as there seems like ther is a good chance he marriage is not going to last long. :)

  93. 1) I think the car rule is to generous – I propose 1/2 of the original price of his car.

    2) Based upon the 3 month buying rule my wife got about 10% of what she should have. Instead of buying a diamond ring. I bought her a ring with an opal in the middle and 2 smaller diamonds surrounding it. Her birth stone is opal and mine is diamond. I told her it was me giving her a big hug and that’s the story i’m sticking with! BTW, my wife still thinks I overspent as she did not want a ring at all.

    3) I totally agree with the comment about the debt incurred to purchase an expensive ring is debt the wife takes on. Even if there is no debt incurred, it is that much less money the couple has to do “important” things with. Debeers – the best marketing company in the world!

  94. haha funny post. That’s a great commercial too. I can’t imagine spending $20000 for jewelry but I like how you parallel cars to engagement rings. I bet most couples have never thought about that!

  95. No matter what the definition, I guess I’ve been stiffed by about 50%. Okay, now you’re making me look at diamonds. I also didn’t know the average diamond size in Boston is that big. I can’t say I my crowd, the average is about 1 carat.

    1. Have fun diamond shopping! Congrats on convincing your husband to get something new, if that is what you wish. I’m positive you will agree with the thesis of this article!

      1. I like the car definition.

        Since I don’t have a car my wife should be very happy at getting a $1000 ring!


        1. I was completely joking about diamond shopping…although I did go online to see
          how much a 1.8 Carat diamond is going for these days.

          I like my rock. I wouldn’t even think of upgrading until about 10 other things are paid for first.

          And then, I’d probably think of better things to spend money on.

  96. myfinancialobjectives

    That was an awesome commercial! Very clever… I also wish I could type that fast:)

    But more on topic, I agree with you 100%. I am that second guy that you mentioned. I bought my car for $1100 at a public auto auction.. Granted I don’t make $300,000, but still, I could afford something more. I have no intention of spending any astronomical amount on a ring. I’m sure If I had an extra $10,000 towards a down payment on a house she would be a lot more happy than if the ring was a bit bigger. And honestly, I don’t want to marry a girl who cares THAT much about the ring size anyway…

  97. Greg McFarlane

    How come the diamond industry is the only one to perpetrate this mathematical tripe, let alone get gullible people to buy into it? The guy who installed my pool should have tried something similar: “A decent pool should cost you at least half a year’s salary.” Or “You don’t want to pay less than 2 days’ wages for a pair of shoes.”
    I think everyone should dedicate 10% of their waking hours to reading my blog (and Sam’s, of course.)

    1. I think it’s b/c there are so many pitfalls in buying a diamond engagement ring, that the industry is trying to simplify things.

      It’s all brilliant marketing and manipulation!

  98. savvysavingbytes

    All these rules and systems could drive a person bats. I think if 2 people have found each other and truly want to live with each for all time, that is an amazing enough thing. Anything above and beyond that – money, rings, weddings is inconsequential. The only problem I see is if one of them isn’t truly committed.

    1. That’s why I have introduced only ONE rule! That is the Car Rule For Engagement Ring Buying! If the guy rides a Huffy bike to work, then a $200 engagement ring fo u!

      1. savvysavingbytes

        How’s about if he’s a New Yorker and doesn’t own a car as most New Yorkers
        don’t? I guess it’s ziltch ring time then…

  99. Not everything has to be a rule. Do the right thing and if you have a girl who critques the ring. GET OUT NOW AND SAVE YOURSELF DIVORCE FEES.

    1. You are wrong Evan. Everything has rules and big govt is going make sure that there will be legislation of who you get to marry, how many kids you have, and when you can go to the bathroom!

  100. This is brilliant. Totally brilliant.

    It makes a ton of sense. Obviously there are plenty of exceptions to the rule… but by and large this is a guide I can live with.

    I think my wife would even agree.


  101. De Beers is brilliant! I’m seriously going to market my proposal to the auto companies and ad agencies and see if I can come up with a campaign and create a new phenomena !

    1. Investor Junkie

      IMHO one of the best marketing/advertising executions ever! It now has a life of it’s own. Oh De Beers is doing the same thing in China.

      ” Until 1993, when De Beers started marketing diamonds in China, there was no such thing as a diamond wedding band or engagement ring. Now young adults in China are open to a more Western tradition. “

  102. I just spent about 3 weeks of net income to buy an engagement ring. Ironically, I had to convince my girlfriend that I would not buy her a cubic zirconia. I ended up telling her that i wasn’t willing to pay for something that would only last a couple years before it got trashed (she didn’t know the lifespan of cz).

    The thought of 3 months of gross or even net pay is dumb… Unless you have the house you want, the investments you need, the cars you want, and the childrens college paid for.

      1. I haven’t bought a car in 9 years… Back then I bought it used for ~12k.

        I did help the now fiancée to pay off hers… Since we’ve now switched cars (she drives significantly further) I guess the current cost of the car I drive is about 14k. Mine is only worth peanuts now but since she drives 80+ miles a day we don’t feel like putting that onto a newer vehicle.

        1. She deserves a $12,000 ring! There are no if ands about it! If you can afford to buy a 12K car 9 years ago, you can certainly pay $12K for a ring if she requests it. So simple!

          1. That’s insane. If my now husband had spent the same amount on a ring as he did on a car I wouldn’t have married him because he would clearly have zero money sense. No one DESERVES an expensive ring and anyone who demands it is a terrible person.

          2. fooled-once

            yes, but my car won’t leave me and start shacking up with the mechanic or someone because it is bored.

      2. Hey Financial Samurai, a car is a way of transportation. A ring doesn’t really have much functionality.

        1. YouGuysAreTooCheap

          Hey Jay,

          I have to say something here. You’re car will only be reliable for 10-15 years. Does that mean that you expect your relationship to last 10-15 years? I have always been a firm believer that the most expensive purchase (other than a house or unfortunate medical emergencies) should be the ring that goes on her finger. Call me nuts, but I purchased a $35,000 engagement ring for my wife. This is also when I was making $50,000 a year. I took a personal loan over 5 years and paid it in 2. We have never been happier and now I have a perfect credit score because of the loan. If I had the option to do it again I would in a heart beat. Best decision of my life. My wife also knows that I would go to the end of the earth and more for her, as paying a that price tag shows just what I am willing to sacrifice and where I put her in my life. I should point out also that the only expenses I have is medical, rent, and food as I paid my car off before. I feel like it should be the same process. One more thing, cars depreciate. Rings in rare instances can even appreciate or even slightly depreciate depending on the grade, rarity and jeweler (Tiffany’s vs Zales). They never depreciate like a car. Just my two cents.

          1. My husband gave me a 1 carat heart solitaire a few years after we were married-but he never proposed. We have been married for a little over 30 years now and love each other more than when we first married. My sweet kind husband took me to a 5 star restaurant in a beautiful private room where he got down on his knee and proposed to me. We both cried – then he put a $26,000 over 2 carat solitaire heart diamond in a gold Tiffany setting on my finger that he had a jeweler order from New York’s diamond district. I will never forget that night – I love my kind husband so very much as he made everything so magical just for me – for us – for our marriage. I love my heart diamond – it shines and sparkles brighter than the sun. All this talk about money/size of diamonds/- people do what they can – when they can and what they want. I love my large diamond and I love my kind husband!!!!

  103. There really are some of us that don’t care about the size of our ring. I’m the kind of person who isn’t into jewelry, I only wear necklaces, bracelets, etc. on special occasions. My ring is very beautiful, but thrifty – just the way I like it.

    And to be honest, there was a period for many, many months where I forgot to wear it! (It was on a ring holder in the medicine cabinet). I told my husband I’d much rather have just a band, much less to worry about and then I wouldn’t have to take it off for any reason at all. Also, I’ve accidentally poked him in the eye with my ring – so the bigger the ring, the more changes of eye injury!

    So, if the chick is really picky about the ring and wants her soon be husband to go into debt for it (or spend 3 months of his salary on it!), I guess she’s a moron when it comes to finances, because soon that debt will be hers too.

    1. I don’t believe you! j/k. I guess when you live in dense cities, and are surrounded by wealth, it’s hard not to care about engagement rings and jewelry.

      Good last point!

    2. Why do women scream equality and equal pay and the run back to the patriarchy and gender roles for a ring? Why not buy him one, or why by one at all? All me get is an “I do” so why can’t women live with that.? The reason is, women are entitled. They want men to give up their “Male priviledges” but they refuse to give up their entitlements. It’s better to go your own way, MGTOW. MEN Going Their Own Way.

  104. Well, I think the 3 month rule must have been created by the jewelry industry. (Are they an industry? Not sure. Anyway, they made it up.)

    When I got engaged, my husband was driving his 1979 Camaro that he got in high school. (We were still in college.) I think he paid 2 thousand for that car, and I know my ring did not cost that. This rule was created too late for me. (Please, no horrible comments about my cheap ring. It was 21 years ago and he bought it using income from his college job. He did spend more than 3 months of his income from his part time college job!)

    I think based on my comment yesterday you know how dumb I think it is to go into heavy debt for an engagement ring. It’s even worse when the woman demands a certain size ring.

    1. 1979 Camaro is sweet! Well here’s the thing as I said for all those ladies who area already married. Point your husband to this article now and he will COMPLETELY agree to the conclusion if you are interested in an upgrade. Trust me on this!

    2. Hope to Prosper

      I think DeBeers is making this stuff up. They aren’t an industry, they are a cartel.

      We skipped the engagement ring altogether and just bought wedding rings. I thought about upgrading the stone in my wife’s ring. But, after watching Blood Diamond, I decided to skip it. I would rather spend the money on something useful and upgrade my wife’s car.

    3. The car rule is no smarter than the 3 month rule. You’d be paying 10 times as much on something that’s only symbolic and never useful but as a means to compete with other women. The price of the ring doesn’t show how much you value the woman, the fact that he’s giving up his freedom does.

    4. Why do women scream equality and equal pay and the run back to the patriarchy and gender roles for a ring? Why not buy him one, or why by one at all? All me get is an “I do” so why can’t women live with that.? The reason is, women are entitled. They want men to give up their “Male priviledges” but they refuse to give up their entitlements. It’s better to go your own way, MGTOW. MEN Going Their Own Way.

      1. We are entitled and flawed beings my friend. We all want to be on top in the way that we see most fit.

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