What Is the Average Cost of an Engagement Ring?

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Reciting a few heartfelt words, getting down on one knee and proposing is one of the most important moments in a man's life. It can also be stressful, although the stress you feel while proposing likely pales in comparison to the stress you experience as you swipe your credit card when buying the engagement ring. Although the right engagement ring can be something you future wife cherishes forever, it won't come cheap.

Know the Average Cost

Engagement rings bought in 2013 had an average cost of $5,598, according to an annual Real Weddings Survey published in 2014 by theknot.com, a website that provides the latest trends and celebrity wedding news and serves as a comprehensive resource for wedding planning. To obtain the average cost, the website polled about 13,000 brides who were married over the previous 12 months. In 2012, the website established engagement rings cost $5,431 on average.

Forget the Myth

It's not true that you should aim to spend three months of your salary on an engagement ring. This is a myth created by jewelers. Instead of trying to meet the myth, work out your budget and consider your bride's preferences. For example, if she has small fingers and favors tiny pieces of jewelry, buying a large diamond ring won't be appropriate. Another major consideration is the desired size of diamond. For around $1,000, expect your diamond to be in the half carat range; depending on factors such as the clarity and cut, a single-carat diamond can cost more than $5,000.

Shop Together

Given the considerable expense of buying an engagement ring, you don't have to use the traditional approach of buying a ring and surprising your fiance with it during your proposal. To ensure your fiancee is happy with the look of the piece of jewelry, consider shopping for the ring together. Additionally, you don't need to spend several thousand dollars on an engagement ring. If your budget and future financial plans dictate it, buy a less expensive ring for the proposal and plan to get a pricier one at a later date, such as your fifth wedding anniversary.

Buy in Cash

If you're determined to spend a significant amount on the ring, a smart approach is to delay your engagement until you're able to buy the ring in cash. Although many jewelry stores offer financing plans, doing so isn't a wise financial decision. Through this approach, you might spend up to 25 percent more than the original price of the ring in interest charges, according to USA Today.