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How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

In the 1930s, in an attempt to reverse the impact The Great Depression had on sales, diamond company De Beers ran a marketing campaign that suggested an engagement ring should cost one month’s salary.

By the 1980s, De Beers had upgraded its salary estimation to two months, adopting the tagline: "Two months' salary showed the future Mrs Smith what the future would be like."

Over time, many people have come to use De Beers’ estimations as a guide when shopping for an engagement ring for their other half. Some people even misquote the original marketing material, believing an engagement ring should cost three times a partner’s monthly salary!

However, in a time of inflation and rising day-to-day costs, is it realistic to expect your other half to shell out up to a quarter of their annual earnings on an engagement ring? For some, this is simply unrealistic so at Angelic Diamonds, we’ve decided it’s time for change.

To provide advice for all future fiancees, we’ve surveyed 2,000 members of the public to reveal how much people can actually afford to spend on an engagement ring.

When are you planning to propose?

The average cost of an engagement ring is £1,455

According to our calculations, the average cost of an engagement ring is £1,455. However, our survey found that Brits can only afford to spend up to £891 on a ring. This is almost two-thirds less than the average cost of an engagement ring.

Taking the average UK monthly salary of £1,968 after tax, this means Brits are prepared to pay 45% - less than half - of a month’s salary on an engagement ring. That’s quite a drop from De Beers’ recommendation!

Digging deeper into the data, we can see that over a quarter (28%) of 2,000 respondents said they could, realistically, spend between £100 - £499 on an engagement ring today. Following this, a further 18% stated they could afford to spend £500 - £999 on a ring.

If we were to abide by the ‘three-month salary’ suggestion, that would equate to £5,904. Interestingly, less than 1% said they would pay more than £5,000 for an engagement ring, suggesting that the ‘rule’ is now outdated.

But who is spending the most on engagement rings in the country and does it differ between the cities?

Proposers in Belfast are spending the most on their engagement rings

On a city-by-city basis, it’s those in Belfast who are willing to spend the most on their engagement rings. Proposers in the capital would spend up to £1,250 on their engagement ring, which is over 63% of the UK’s average monthly salary!

This is more than double the amount respondents in Plymouth are willing to spend (£569).

How much are UK cities spending on engagement rings?

UK City

Amount Willing to Spend on an Engagement Ring

  1. Plymouth


  1. Sheffield


  1. Southampton


  1. Norwich


  1. Brighton


  1. Birmingham


  1. Nottingham


  1. Bristol


  1. Leeds


  1. Liverpool


  1. Manchester


  1. Cardiff


  1. Newcastle


  1. London


  1. Edinburgh


  1. Glasgow


  1. Belfast



The Scottish cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, boast the second and third highest spenders on engagement rings. Proposers in Glasgow are willing to spend around £1,095, with those in Edinburgh not far behind and able to spend up to £1,084 on a ring.

This is significantly more than proposers in Plymouth, Sheffield and Southampton who are prepared to spend the least at £569, £646 and £716 respectively.

Do I need to spend a lot on an engagement ring?

You absolutely don’t need to spend a lot to find the perfect engagement ring for your other half. Although we’ve included how much the average engagement ring costs in 2023, you could find the perfect ring for less than that. Or, you may want to spend a little more if you want a larger or better quality diamond, for example. 

How much you pay for a ring is a very personal thing and depends on many different factors.

How much should I spend on an engagement ring: Tips for setting a budget

We always recommend being realistic about the budget you have when shopping for an engagement ring. The questions below are designed to help you decide what this budget is:

1. How much can you afford?

First things first. It doesn’t matter whether you’re putting money aside each month or you’re planning to take out finance, it’s important you only pick an engagement ring that you can afford to pay for either right away or through monthly payments.

When you get engaged, you start a new life together and you don’t want that life to be overshadowed by debt. Carefully consider how much of your income you can set aside to pay for the ring before you start shopping to avoid falling in love with something that’s way out of your budget.

2. When are you planning to propose?

If you’re planning on proposing in a year, then you’ve got plenty of time to save up for a beautiful engagement ring. But if you can’t wait for a second longer and you want to propose next month, that doesn’t give you a lot of time to get some money together. The longer you wait to propose, the more money you can save up in the engagement ring fund – plan ahead so you’re not squeezing your monthly budget beyond your means.

3. How are you going to pay for the engagement ring?

When paying for a diamond engagement ring, you can either pay for it upfront in one lump sum.

If you want to propose soon and don’t have the cash up front, one option you have to pay for the engagement ring is jewellery finance. It’s an alternative to paying on a credit card or saving up for an engagement ring.

As our finances feel the squeeze, more people are turning to jewellery finance. In the past year, Google searches for ‘engagement rings on finance’ are up 13% in the UK. Although a smaller increase, searches for ‘cheap engagement rings’ are also up, rising 2% in the past year.

At Angelic Diamonds, we offer finance on all purchases over £500. If you can save up 50% of the price of the ring and put it down as a deposit, you can take advantage of our 0% finance plan and spread the cost over six months.

How to reduce the price of a diamond engagement ring

There are many different things you can do to reduce the price of an engagement ring. Combined with effective budgeting, this could make the engagement ring of their dreams more attainable.

1. Buy your engagement ring online

Jewellers with physical stores have increased overheads, which often results in higher prices for customers. Likewise, jewellery retailers with multiple suppliers may have less flexibility when it comes to the prices and discounts they can offer.

You can avoid this by choosing to buy an engagement ring online instead. Like us here at Angelic Diamonds, we design and manufacture our jewellery which cuts out the middle man and helps us keep our prices low.

2. Choose 9K gold metals rather than 18K

9K rose, white, and yellow gold metals are cheaper than their 18K alternatives and visually, most people won’t be able to tell the difference.

Less pure in gold, they have been mixed with other alloy metals to give them strength. They can be a preferred choice for someone who is active or works with their hands and wants something durable.

3. Customise the 4Cs

The 4Cs stand for cut, carat, colour, and clarity. You can adjust the price of your diamond engagement ring by choosing specific 4Cs to reduce the price.

For example, a diamond with smaller carat weight, a hint of yellow, and inclusions will cost less than a heavier colourless diamond with no inclusions.

Don’t worry though; in most cases, these slight imperfections are often hard to spot with the naked eye and will do little to detract from the ring’s wow factor when you pop the question. You can find out more about the 4Cs in our informational guides.

4. Choose a cheaper diamond shape

Some diamond shapes are much more expensive than others. For example, the round diamond is easily the most expensive because it requires a bigger stone to make it.

Some shapes are cheaper because they don’t need as big a diamond, such as the princess and radiant shapes, which are more cost-effective to buy and produce.

Find out more about diamond shapes for engagement rings in our guide.

Shop our range of affordable engagement rings

You don’t have to spend a small fortune to treat the one you love to a gorgeous piece of diamond jewellery. Our engagement rings are up to 60% cheaper than those you see on the high street and they all come with free delivery and resizing.

Here are just a few examples of affordable engagement rings that will wow your fiancée-to-be without emptying your pocket.

Engagement rings under £500

Engagement rings under £500


  1. Ernesta in 9K white gold
  2. Editta in 9K yellow gold
  3. Carril in 9K rose gold


Engagement rings under £750

Engagement rings under £750


  1. Atina in 18K white gold
  2. Sadira in 18K yellow gold
  3. Apollo in 18K rose gold


Engagement rings under £1,000

Engagement rings under £1,000

  1. Andrade in 18K white gold
  2. Crinel in 18K yellow gold
  3. Aurel in 18K rose gold



Angelic Diamonds’ own data was used to calculate the average cost of an engagement ring (£1,455). We surveyed 2,000 nationally representative UK respondents. Average UK salary data based on ONS data and tax deducted using a tax calculator.

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