How Many Months' Salary Should I Save up for an Engagement Ring?

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Traditionally, a man should save two months salary to spend on a wedding ring. However, as traditions around marriage are changing, this number is becoming flexible, and couples can spend any amount they wish on a wedding ring.

According to the New York Times, the idea of spending two months salary on a wedding ring was introduced to the world in the 1980s by the diamond company De Beers. Five decades earlier in the 1930s, this same company ran an advertising campaign that brought the idea of wearing a diamond ring as an engagement ring to the masses for the first time. Although engagement rings had been popular since ancient times, diamonds were just becoming a part of that trend.

In 2012, couples spent an average of $4,000 on engagement rings and an additional $1,500 on wedding bands. This number is $1,317 less than the average couple spent on engagement rings in 2006. When deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring, couples should not just think about averages or about traditional amounts. Instead, they should fully consider their current financial obligations and debt load. They may also want to weigh the benefits of investing that money into a retirement account instead of buying a ring. According to Forbes, shoppers can often find less expensive rings if they are willing to shop around.