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How Much Should a Wedding Ring Cost?

This major purchase doesn’t have to bankrupt you. Here’s what the average couple pays for a wedding ring, ways to save money on rings and the skinny on ring insurance.

Written by Hilary Collins / August 31, 2022

Quick Bites

  • “Wedding ring” can mean either an engagement ring or a wedding band. Traditionally, the engagement ring is the pricier purchase with wedding rings for both parties coming in at a much lower cost.
  • The average engagement ring cost $6,000 in 2021, though 8% of couples spent less than $1,000.
  • There are plenty of ways to save money on a ring, including finding a used ring, choosing a lower-cost diamond alternative and shopping online.
  • Whatever budget you settle on, remember to include the price of ring insurance—you want to protect your investment.

When you’ve met the right person and you’re thinking of making it official, you might be ring shopping. There’s a dazzling array of options online and at your local jewelers, but how much are you expected to spend? And how much can you afford?

Like most decisions that are both financial and deeply personal, it can get complicated fast. Let’s take a look at what the average person is spending on wedding rings, how to know how much you can afford and how to save some money on the perfect ring. We’ll also touch on potential financing options, and whether they’re worth considering.

Inside this article

  1. Average cost of wedding rings
  2. How much can you afford?
  3. Should you take out a loan?
  4. How to save money on rings
  5. Do you need ring insurance?

The average cost of wedding and engagement rings

Traditionally, there are three main ring purchases: the engagement ring and two wedding bands. The engagement ring is usually the big ticket item, costing more than both wedding bands put together. Let’s look at the price difference—and why engagement rings are so pricey.

The average cost of an engagement ring is $6,000, according to 2021 research from the Knot, a wedding marketplace.[1] However, about 33% of couples spend $1,000 to $4,000, and 8% are spending less than $1,000.[1]

There are also regional differences in wedding ring cost, perhaps due in part to cost of living. Here’s how much different areas shell out for engagement rings:

RegionAverage cost
Mid-Atlantic$7,900
New England$7,400
Southwest$5,500
Southeast$5,300
Midwest$5,200

Source: The Knot

On the other hand, the average cost of a female wedding band is $1,100, while a men’s band averages $550.[1] That means that both wedding bands on average don’t cost even half of what an engagement ring will put you out.

Why are engagement rings so much more expensive? Generally, it’s the center stone that most wedding bands don’t have. About half of all engagement rings feature a 1-to-2 carat center stone, and 85% of center gems are diamonds.[1] Diamonds of that size will rack up prices that simple gold or silver bands won’t.

How much can you afford?

Forget the old advice of setting aside three months’ salary for a ring.

"I'm not a fan of rules when it comes to how much a person should spend on something, because what someone chooses to spend should be based on their own values, goals, and financial circumstances," says Jessica Bishop, founder of the website the Budget-Savvy Bride. "Spend what you can afford and feel good about spending without sacrificing your fiscal stability."

jessica bishop headshot

Meet the Expert

Jessica Bishop founded the Budget-Savvy Bride in 2008 as a way to help couples plan weddings on a budget. She’s the author of the best-selling The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner and Organizer.

If you don’t have any money set aside, determine a time frame and a savings amount. If you can squirrel away $200 a month, you’ll have $2,400 at the end of the year—a perfectly reasonable amount for a ring.

Fun Fact

Research found that men who spent between $500 and $2,000 on a wedding ring had lower divorce rates than men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000—and men who spent less than $500.[2]

According to the Knot, 80% of wedding ring shoppers set a budget ahead of time, and 18% discussed that budget with their significant other.[1] As always, setting the budget is the easy part—29% went over their budget to buy a ring.[1]

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Should you take out a personal loan?

If you don’t have the cash for a ring in the bank, it can be tempting to borrow the money. You might want to hurry up and get to the next phase in your relationship, or get a beautiful ring that’s more expensive than you can afford at the moment.

But before you even consider borrowing to finance a big ring purchase, remember that an engagement ring is usually just the beginning of the expenses of getting married. Unless you plan on eloping at the courthouse, you’ll need to start saving for a venue, a reception, a DJ and myriad other things. And once you’re married, you might want to start saving for a house or kids. All this to say, going into debt right before a marriage can set you up for continuing financial difficulties.

And when you take out a loan, you’re paying more than just the dollar amount of the ring. You’ll usually also be paying fees and interest, which can add up.

So before you take out a personal loan, consider these options instead:

  • If you can easily pay the ring off within a certain timeframe, you might consider a credit card with an introductory offer of 0% interest. For instance, if the offered timeframe is a year and you know you can definitely pay off the balance before then, that might be a better option than a personal loan. Just make sure you understand the fine print and aren’t left with a high balance when the offer ends and the (often much higher) interest rate kicks in.

  • Similarly, you could seek out a jeweler that offers interest-free payment plans. Some jewelers have in-house financing options that might help you avoid high interest rates.

  • You could also consider taking on a side hustle to save money faster. Even if you’re earning just a couple hundred more a month, you’ll still reach your goal and be able to propose that much quicker.

If you do decide to take out a personal loan, do your research. Carefully compare interest rates, origination fees and repayment terms to make sure you’re getting the best deal and a loan you can easily pay back on time.

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How to save money on rings

While engagement rings and wedding bands can get expensive, they don’t have to be. Here are four ways to save money on a ring while still getting a beautiful piece.

  1. Use an heirloom ring. This option might sound like something only a wealthy dowager’s family could do, but a lot of people upgrade their engagement rings at some point in their marriage. After years of wearing a piece, it could no longer fit, no longer suit their style or just have worn out its welcome. Resizing or slightly reworking a high-quality piece will be significantly less expensive than purchasing a new one.

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  2. Buy a used ring. Same concept as above, but you have more options. According to Estate Diamond Jewelry, an antique jewelry dealer based in New York City, second hand rings can be more affordable, feature finer craftsmanship and offer a more sustainable alternative to new.[3] They also note that there are downsides to buying used or vintage rings, including unethical sellers and the quality of the ring itself.[3] Make sure that you do your homework to find a reputable jeweler.

  3. Use an alternative gem. Diamonds are the most popular engagement ring centerpiece, with 85% of couples springing for them.[1] Moissanite, a lab-grown diamond alternative, has grown in popularity in recent years—28% of shoppers who decided to go with an alternative stone chose moissanite.[1] The gem looks almost identical to a diamond to anyone but an expert, but the International Gem Society notes that a one-carat moissanite costs less than $1,000—compare that to over $3,000 for a diamond of the same size.[4] "Opting for a lab-grown diamond over a mined diamond can save up to 40% for a stone with similar size and specifications," says Bishop. "It's a no-brainer!"

  4. Check out online retailers. These days you can find an online retailer in almost every industry, often offering a lower-cost product in exchange for a hands-off sales process. The same is true for jewelers. About 33% of shoppers bought their engagement rings online—with Brilliant Earth, James Allen and Blue Nile topping the e-commerce list.[1] Make sure to choose a trustworthy seller, verify the diamond certificate and pay attention to the return and shipping policies.[5]

Do you need ring insurance?

The Knot found that 69% of buyers insured the engagement ring—a smart move for an investment piece.[1] Whether the ring goes down a garbage disposal, is stolen or gets damaged, you don’t want an item this valuable and meaningful to go unprotected. The yearly cost of insuring a ring averages $1 to $2 for every $100 of replacement value.[6] So, for example, if your ring costs $6,000, you’ll likely pay $60 to $120 per year for insurance.

If you’re wondering if your homeowners or renters insurance would cover a stolen engagement ring, the answer is: kind of. “There are limits to certain types of property on most home insurance policies,” says Tim Wipert, owner of Chicago Insurance Professionals, a Chicago-based agency. “For jewelry, there may be…a $2,500 limit per item. So if you have a $10,000 Rolex and it’s stolen, you would get $2,500…ouch.”

Obviously the same applies to an expensive engagement ring. You can insure your ring via a rider or endorsement on your homeowners or renters insurance policy.

“When the item is scheduled, it would fall under a separate deductible from the home policy, typically $0,” says Wipert. “Plus, more causes of loss are covered. For example, mysterious disappearance is covered for scheduled items, but not on [many] homeowners policies.”

If you don’t have a homeowners or renters policy, you could also ask your jeweler if they offer any bespoke policies for high-value pieces.[6] In either case, bring your receipts to prove ownership as well as provide an appraisal by a certified gemologist.[6] And make sure whichever policy you settle on covers a variety of situations, from theft to damage and loss.

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Do your research and evaluate your options to find the perfect ring without setting yourself—and your future household—back financially. Fortunately, there are plenty of options that will allow you to surprise and thrill your significant other without breaking the bank.

Article Sources
  1. “Here’s How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring,” The Knot, Dec. 10, 2021, https://www.theknot.com/content/how-much-to-spend-on-engagement-ring.
  2. “‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration,” SSRN, Sep. 27, 2014, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2501480.
  3. “The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Second Hand Engagement Ring,” Estate Diamond Jewelry, Oct. 18, 2017, https://www.estatediamondjewelry.com/buying-second-hand-engagement-ring/.
  4. “Moissanite vs Diamond: Beauty, Durability, and Price,” International Gem Society, https://www.gemsociety.org/article/moissanite-vs-diamond/.
  5. “Should You Buy Your Engagement Ring Online?” The Knot, May 29, 2020, https://www.theknot.com/content/should-you-buy-your-engagement-ring-online.
  6. “Engagement Ring Insurance 101,” The Knot, Feb. 8, 2022, https://www.theknot.com/content/engagement-ring-insurance-101.

About the Author

Hilary Collins

Hilary Collins

Hilary is an experienced finance writer with a passion for turning complicated topics into readable stories with real-world takeaways.

Full bio

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