The Engagement Ring Salary Rule
Learn the traditional guidelines for how much to spend on an engagement ring
By Alan Kirk
The old-fashioned rule for budgeting for an engagement ring is that a groom should spend two months' worth of salary on the ring. It is important to note the origin of this guideline: it was established by the world's largest diamond company shortly after World War II. Despite the fact that this rule is dated, it is still used by jewelers as engagement ring budgeting advice.
Traditionally, a man should expect to pay approximately two months of his salary for a diamond engagement ring. While it's unclear whether a man should use his gross salary or net salary, it is commonly believed that the gross salary is appropriate, if the groom-to-be can afford it.
The guideline for spending two months' salary on an engagement ring originated from DeBeers, the largest diamond producer and marketer in the world. The rule was created in 1947.
The two-month salary rule does not refer to just the diamond. Instead, it refers to the total cost of the ring, which includes the ring and the stone, as well as the cost of setting the stone in the ring. The reason that DeBeers made it "two months' salary," rather than specifying a dollar amount, is because this rule adjusts with dollar inflation.
The guideline is a general rule, but it is not written in stone. If you are short on funds before your wedding, purchasing a lower valued diamond and then upgrading it at future anniversaries is perfectly acceptable. Do not put your future financial stability as a couple at risk just because you feel you must follow the two-month guideline.
About the Author
Alan Kirk has been writing for online publications for several years and is a contributor to DexKnows.
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