High-Ticket: Is it the standard that a groom must spend three months salary on the engagement ring?

Q: My son heard that it is customary that the groom invest the equivalent of three months of his salary on an engagement ring.  Is this true?



A: The myth that the groom has to spend a certain amount of money on an engagement ring — anywhere from one to three month’s pay, usually —  is just that, a myth.  It was created by the diamond industry and should be completely ignored.  What the groom spends is what he can afford.  It is great to buy the nicest ring he can within his budget.  Sometimes that means he might sacrifice a little on size in order to purchase a stone with the best cut, clarity and quality that meets he financial plan.  He should be sure to work with a reputable jeweler and pay no attention to those who tell him that there is a standard for how much he should pay.


  1. You don’t need an engagement ring or a wedding ring! They are just tradition. If your future fiance needs a piece of metal to remind her that you’ve made a commitment to each other, then buy them. Otherwise don’t. Or buy whatever is meaningful to you both. The three-month “rule” was created by the diamond industry because buying diamond rings makes them rich.

  2. Lilli

    Also keep in my what the intended recipient of this ring would want or expect. If she wants a big ring and you can afford it, go for it. If you could buy 10 carats without even blinking an eye but she wouldn’t ever wear it because she prefers something dainty, then it’s a waste of money. I agree personally that you sacrifice size before quality, but some women want a certain size even if it’s a lower color grade. Knowing what your budget is and what your lady’s preferences are the most important thing.

    • Karen

      And know if she even wants diamonds. She may not want the one at the jeweler but one that has been vetted as conflict-free.

  3. Kelly

    As a bride I would be horrified if my fiancé had spent so much on my wedding ring. In fact my ring set was about $150 and it’s a three ring set (engagement, wedding band, and 1 year anniversary band). It’s sterling silver and CZ.

    While it didn’t cost much it looks like it’s worth about $6k. No one can tell it’s CZ and not diamond. We figure one day, maybe a decade from now, we will get something worth more. When we are financially stable and can afford to spend that much. But let’s be honest, I’d die if my ring that I wore daily was worth more than $500. I’d be too afraid of hurting it.

    When we get an expensive ring set I will probably only where it for special occasions because the COST of the ring means nothing to me. It’s the love of the man who gave it to me that matters. And $150 or $150,000, it still was given with the same amount of love.

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