How to Afford an Engagement Ring?

An engagement ring is a major purchase. According to The Knot’s 2020 Jewelry and Engagement Study, the average cost of an engagement ring in the United States is currently $5,500. While not everyone spends the same amount, this average number shows that Americans tend to spend big on their engagement rings. 

Engagement rings are often one of the biggest purchases a couple makes, which begs the question: how do people afford engagement rings? Some couples save up and buy their wedding rings with cash. However, that’s certainly not the case for every couple. Since engagement rings come with hefty price tags, some couples sometimes turn to other options— all of which we’re covering below. Read on as we take a closer look at the three most common ways people pay for engagement rings: cash, financing programs, and credit cards. 

How to Pay For an Engagement Ring 

You have choices when it comes to paying for an engagement ring. Let’s go over the pros and cons of each of the three most common options. 

Cash 

hundred dollar bills, cash

Most financial experts would say that if you can pay for your engagement ring in cash upfront, you probably should. If you pay for your engagement ring in full right away, you won’t have to pay interest like you would with some financing options. This means that, ultimately, paying cash upfront can help you save money on your engagement ring. 

Of course, not everyone has the cash for this type of sizable purchase just laying around. So, it’s very common for people to save up before buying an engagement ring with cash. If that’s the case for you, you should see how much you’ll need to spend to get the engagement ring you want, then make a savings plan that will help you hit that amount within a feasible time frame. For example, say you want to buy a ring that will cost $6,000 in total (including tax) and you also want to propose a little over a year from now. If you save $500 a month for 12 months, you’ll hit your savings account goal within your desired time frame. 

While paying cash for your engagement ring can help you avoid paying more in fees or interest, saving up enough cash for a piece of fine jewelry can take a long time. And, for many people, having to delay their engagement to save up for a ring is a serious, deal-breaking con. If you need to save for a ring, other options can certainly be faster than cash, so you may want to explore these other options if speed is important to you. 

Financing Programs 

two men shaking hands

Financing programs can be an excellent option for someone who wants to propose soon but would need to save up before they could pay in cash. A financing program can help you get your ring now but pay for it in manageable monthly increments. 

Many jewelry stores have financing programs that are specifically designed to easily give their customers more purchasing power. At Frank Jewelers, our financing program has a simple application process, low minimum monthly payments, and special financing available (including no interest, same as cash terms available with credit approval). However, note that all financing programs are not created equally. One jewelry store’s financing program may have very different terms from another’s, so it’s extremely important for you to do your research and read the fine print before you enter into a financing program. Even different offers within the same financing program can have different terms, so you need to look carefully at your specific personal finance offer, not just the program terms in general. 

Put simply, financing programs can be a great option, depending on the specific offer you get. Before you jump into a financing program, make sure you understand the exact terms of your offer, including your interest rate under any promotions, your interest rate if a promotion expires before you finish your payment plan, and what happens if you miss a payment. 

Credit Cards 

credit cards, apple card, capital one credit card

Using a credit card to buy an engagement ring is very common and it’s not hard to see why. If you already have a credit card, it’s extremely easy to just throw the cost of your engagement ring on your card, then make credit card payments like you normally would. However, consumers should know that using a credit card to buy a piece of jewelry can wind up being much more expensive than other options. 

Credit cards generally have high interest rates and allow cardholders to make relatively small payments on their balance. Together, this means that a cardholder who only makes their minimum payment will end up paying high amounts of interest. And the interest on a big purchase can add up dramatically over time. 

In some cases, using a credit card could be the best option for someone. Perhaps you have a new credit card with a “0% interest for 12 months” deal and you know you can easily pay off your balance before the promotional period ends. Or, perhaps other options just won’t work for you and you’re ready to pay more in interest over time. Using a personal credit card to pay for an engagement is usually not ideal, but it may be the right option for you depending on your unique circumstances. 

FAQ: How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Contrary to what some people say, there’s no certain amount you “need” to spend on your engagement ring. You may have heard people say that the “rule of thumb” for engagement ring budgeting is to plan to spend the equivalent of two month’s salary on your ring. In truth, however, you should simply spend an amount that works for your unique financial situation. 

When you set your engagement ring budget, you shouldn’t feel like you need to follow arbitrary rules or that you have to spend the same amount as other people. The cost of the ring is not more important than the reason you’re buying it: to propose to the love of your life. Buying an engagement ring is the first step in starting your lives together as a married couple. If you want to start your marriage off on the right foot, it’s better to stick to a comfortable price range for your engagement ring and avoid hurting your soon-to-be-joined financial health. Getting into unmanageable debt is not a great way to start a marriage, so don’t bite off more than you can chew when picking out your ring. Also, remember that you can always upgrade your ring down the line, so there’s no need to feel stressed if you can’t get an expensive, high-carat diamond ring right away. 

couple embracing, engagement ring

If you need to stick to a smaller budget when you go ring shopping, know that there are plenty of beautiful ring styles that can help maximize what you get for your dollar. For example, if you don’t have your heart set on a diamond engagement ring, choosing a gemstone for your center stone can help your budget stretch much farther. There are many gorgeous gemstones that will stun at the center of an engagement ring while costing a mere fraction of what a diamond would per carat. Another option that can help you get more glamour for less is a ring with a diamond halo setting. The small diamonds on a halo setting are cost-effective since they can make a diamond center stone look larger and more brilliant for a small price compared to upping the size of your center stone. 

If you need more ideas on how you can maximize your engagement ring budget through your choice of ring, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Frank Jewelers. Our expert jewelers would be happy to help you find the perfect engagement ring for your tastes and budget. 

Final Thoughts: How Should You Pay For An Engagement Ring?

Ultimately, only you can decide the right way to pay for your engagement ring or wedding band. While most financial experts would agree that paying for an engagement ring in cash is the ideal option, that option doesn’t work for everyone. At the end of the day, only you can make this financial decision for yourself. So, consider your financial situation and the pros and cons of your payment options carefully, then make the choice that’s right for you. 

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