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The Two Months' Salary Rule for Engagement Rings is a Lie

Why the 2 months salary rule is a total marketing scam and how much people actually spent

There are a lot of answers out there. One of the most common answers is "2 months salary". But where did this come from? Going back in history, prior to the 1930s, a diamond engagement ring was not the norm. However, starting in the 1930s, De Beers began a campaign touting that a single month's salary was the suggested spend for a ring. In the 1980s, this increased to two months. Along the way, the slogan "A Diamond is Forever" was created, furthering the diamond as a highly-emotional purchase that required a substantial investment.

Putting all this aside, the real answer is that there is no set rule in terms of number of months of salary or a flat recommended amount. It depends on: your personal financial situation, and what your significant other wants. You should figure out an amount that will not put you under financial strain. We took a look at Reddit to figure out what people actually spent on their engagement rings and the answers vary. But one thing is clear, 2 or 3 months salary is a total marketing ploy. Check out some of the examples of what we found:

"My husband was making 70k a year when we got engaged, he bought me a 3k ring because that’s what he had saved and he didn’t want to go into debt. The ring is absolutely gorgeous too and I love it and get a lot of compliments." - poctah

"If you're marrying the right woman than it wont matter. I spent 100 on the engagement ring and 1100 a couple years later on a nice ring." -carfreak8184

"I make 73 and spent 6 and got a very nice setting and almost 1 karat diamond" - werewolfdad

"I spent 1500 while making 40k. She loved it." - nortedelcali

We also looked at a study that the New York Times conducted, which found that for most people, it was TWO WEEKS of salary instead of 2 or 3 months. They found that the median American spent about 4% or 2 weeks of pretax income on the ring.

Furthermore, in looking at how much people actually spend, they found that most people spend between $500 and $3,000.

So, there is a huge range of what people spend on an engagement ring, and the two or three months spend that diamond companies put out there is just designed to get you to spend more. Figure out what is comfortable for your individual budget, and don't let anyone put false expectations on you.


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