Image of recently engaged couple, featuring engagement ring.

How To Save For An Engagement Ring

3-Minute ReadUPDATED: May 20, 2022


How exciting! You’ve found the one. Now, it’s time to buy the engagement ring. You definitely want to get this purchase right, but you’ve noticed that the average cost for this symbol of love is over $5,000 (and sometimes well over).

Don’t worry, though. We’ll share our best shopping tips and show you how to save for an engagement ring. That way, your beloved can get the beautiful ring of their dreams – without you going broke in the process.

Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring

Make sure to do your research before you go ring shopping. By following the steps below, you’ll be an informed consumer, which means you’ll have a much better chance of making a smart buy that's still from the heart.

Know Your Partner’s Preferences

What type of jewelry does your significant other tend to wear? Is it flashy or modest? Vintage or modern?

Knowing their tastes can help you choose a ring that they’ll love. And, though popping the question is often done as a surprise, there’s no rule that says you can’t ask them what they’d like to see in an engagement ring – someday.

Read Up On The Four C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity And Carat

If you’ve never purchased a diamond before, chances are you’re not familiar with the four C’s. The standards governing each are established by the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA. Together, they determine the quality and price of a diamond. While a jeweler can give you more detail, here’s a quick summary:

  • Cut. how the stone refracts light – the sparkle or bling factor.
  • Color. what hue the stone is – colorless is ideal.
  • Clarity. what imperfections or blemishes the stone has – flawless is the best.
  • Carat. the size of the stone – bigger isn’t always better.

Stones that are super sparkly, colorless, flawless and large are going to cost the most. But, you can find an affordable diamond by accepting less than perfect in some or all of these categories. As a rule of thumb, the color, cut and clarity of a diamond are more important than the size. After all, your significant other would probably prefer a smaller, brilliant stone to a larger, cloudy, off-color one

Pro tip: Buy an off-size diamond. A 0.8-carat diamond will cost much less than a full 1 carat, and you won’t have to sacrifice the ring’s appearance to save money.

Choose A Budget-Friendly Metal And Setting

Three large round diamonds set with platinum prongs on a platinum band is going to set you back a fortune. But, set those stones in yellow or white gold, and the price tag drops dramatically.

To save even more, consider buying a ring with a smaller center stone that’s flanked by pave diamonds (tiny stones) on the band. The whole ring will sparkle brilliantly and make the smaller diamond in the middle look larger than it is – all while leaving more cash available to pay for your wedding.

Pro tip: You don’t have to get the perfect engagement ring right away. You can add to or modify it over time. In fact, doing so could be a lovely anniversary present!

Think About Going Custom

There’s no rule that says you must buy a brand-new diamond ring when it’s time to propose. Going custom could mean delighting your partner with your personal touch and saving a ton of money.

Depending on your beloved’s preferences, consider switching out the center gem for a cost-conscious diamond alternative or semi-precious stone. You could also modify a family heirloom ring you already have to suit your partner’s tastes, which is a great way to unite the past and present while staying on budget.

Pro tip: Be sure to consider how the engagement ring will pair with the wedding ring or wedding band. The rings should complement one another.

Protect Your Purchase

While this step takes place after your purchase, it’s an important one. This beautiful ring is a major investment (not to mention a sentimental representation of your love). You’ll want to protect it and keep it sparkling forever.

To guard against theft, consider buying insurance for the ring. And, to ensure that it looks new for years to come, ask your jeweler about a maintenance plan or a warranty. (Just be sure to understand the fine print of any policy or plan you adopt!)

Pro tip: Ask about the jeweler's return policy in case your significant other doesn't like the ring or turns down your proposal.

How To Pay For An Engagement Ring

Now that you know what type of engagement ring you’re going to buy, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to pay for it. If you follow the steps below, you’ll be able to make this purchase with financial confidence. That way, the cost of the ring won’t loom over you as you gear up to propose and while you plan your wedding.

Set A Maximum Budget

As much as you may want to put a golf ball-sized rock on your soon-to-be betrothed’s hand, your budget might not accommodate that. Take a close look at your financial situation and financial goals. Then, be honest with yourself. How much can you realistically afford to spend on this engagement ring? That’s your maximum budget.

Pro tip: Don’t worry about spending a certain number of months’ salary. Your engagement ring budget is personal.

Set Your Proposal Date

Next, figure out when you want to propose. Although you may be ready to pop the question now, pumping the brakes will give you more time to save up for the purchase. In fact, the longer you wait, the easier it will be on your monthly budget to stash away money.

The key here is to work backward. Let’s say your engagement ring maximum budget is $3,600, and you’ve decided to propose in a year. That means you’ll need to set aside $300 per month for the next 12 months. Doesn’t that sound less daunting than having to come up with the whole amount all at once?

Pro tip: Avoid buying the engagement ring during a holiday. The best bargains will sell out fast, and you may be stuck with pricier options.

Use Automatic Transfers

To make sure you hit your savings target, set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. That way, you won’t forget to sock the money away or accidentally spend it on something else. By doing this, your upcoming engagement ring purchase remains a high priority.

Cut Back On Your Spending

You’re trying to amass a pretty large sum of money in a relatively short amount of time. To beef up your savings efforts, consider cutting back on some of your nonessential spending. This could mean fewer restaurant meals, a little less online shopping, or planning cheaper date nights. Every dollar you save can get routed toward the ring purchase.

Save Your Windfalls

If you come into a lot of cash all at once, immediately put it into your engagement ring savings fund. Tax refunds, work bonuses, gifts and inheritances are some examples of windfalls you may experience. By stashing these unexpected bursts of money, you’ll hit your savings goal much faster.

Shop Around For The Best Price

Like any major purchase, you should shop around for the best deal. Check the chain jewelry stores, the local mom and pops, and the online retailers. If you’re comfortable with it, buying the engagement ring from an online retailer, like Blue Nile, could save you thousands because the company has fewer overhead costs to cover.

No matter where you end up buying the ring, the point is: doing this legwork can help you make a financially smart purchase.

Using A Personal Loan For An Engagement Ring

Don’t want to wait to save up the money? A personal loan could help you buy the engagement ring sooner rather than later. As long as you have decent credit, a personal loan will likely have a lower interest rate than a credit card, which means your cost to borrow would be less.

Of course, you should weigh all of your financing options before making a commitment. You might be able to get interest-free financing from the jeweler or via a credit card promotion. Just be sure to understand the terms of any arrangement before finalizing the deal.

If you’re thinking about taking out a personal loan to pay for an engagement ring, we can help get you started. Just say yes!

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