The Myth Surrounding the 'Two Months' Salary' Engagement Ring Budget

By Charlotte Elizabeth Grainger

The moment has come to finally make things official: you're ready to drop down to one knee and propose. However, one of the major decisions you'll need to make first is what your engagement ring budget should be. Here's a brief history of this subject and a little guidance to help you decide what's right for you:

The Crucial 1930s Advertising Campaign

The notion that men should spend a few months' salary on an engagement ring is nothing new. The idea was popular for years before one iconic advertising campaign made it official, according to the BBC. In the 1930s, a diamond campaign spelled out just how much men should spend on this timeless piece of jewelry. "Two months' salary showed the future Mrs. Smith what the future would be like," read the strap line.

As the story goes, the campaign was a huge hit and cemented the notion that since love lasts forever, so should the ring that symbolizes it. In fact, it was this very campaign that initiated the idea that engagement rings should cost two months' salary.

However, it's important to remember that this is by no means a realistic hard-and-fast rule, but rather a mere outline. Instead of considering how much you should spend on the engagement ring, it's better to consider the benchmark you wish to achieve.

Love Engagement Ring

Setting an Engagement Ring Budget

Today, there are more contemporary guidelines for determining your budget. This decision is a highly personal one that should not be rushed. Sticking to the age-old rule is a good way to ensure you invest in a quality piece of jewelry, but that's not to say there are no other options out there. There are many things you should take into consideration before you decide how much you can—and should—spend on this particular item.

First of all, don't make the mistake of buying a ring that is decidedly outside your price range. Doing so could mean financial woes and trouble in the future when it comes to big expenses such as buying a house.

You will also need to consider what your partner expects of you in the engagement ring department. The very last thing you want is to disappoint her here. The aim is to buy a piece of jewelry that will be more than a mere fashion item—it needs to be a testament to your relationship and its longevity.

The most vital benchmarks you should consider when setting your budget are what you can afford and the four C's: cut, clarity, carat, and color. Pay deliberate attention to the diamond's cut, as it is the most important of the four C's.Selecting a smaller diamond with a superior cut could be a better option than going for the biggest stone possible in terms of both beauty and value. This ring is a purchase you will only need to make once, so it really ought to count. Aspiring to get the highest-quality piece within a price bracket that suits you is certainly the savviest move here.

It's safe to say that this is a significant purchase, and one that you may wish to save for over a period of time in the lead-up to the proposal itself. Remember that the very idea of an engagement ring is that it should stand the test of time—much like your marriage.