Does It Really Matter How Expensive Your Engagement Ring Is?

Does It Really Matter How Expensive Your Engagement Ring Is?

Is a cheap(er) ring insulting or is it practical?



I saw a post this morning when I woke up about a boyfriend buying his girlfriend a P299 engagement ring. As with most random things, this post went viral for a variety of reasons, with online strangers offering their two-cents and then some.


Does It Really Matter How Expensive Your Engagement Ring Is?


As of writing, this post has gained over four thousand reactions, almost three thousand likes and has been shared over seven thousand times. There are two clear sides to the coin: “Girl, you are worth more than that!” and “Excuse you, you capitalists, what matters is that he loves her!” And then there were those in the gray area, saying they had no right to judge because they didn’t know boyfriend’s financial status. I’m a gray area girl myself, but let’s break it down.


How much “should” an engagement ring cost?

There’s this really old equation for an engagement ring that says it should be the equivalent of two or three months’ salary of the person proposing. There are articles that say the average cost of a ring is about USD5,000. 


The ring is supposed to symbolize commitment, financial stability, gratitude and a promise of the life that the person can (help) provide the other. But there have been findings as well that the younger generations are spending less and less on engagement rings (because we want those avocado toasts and iced coffees, obviously). 


So is it still important?

This question’s a heavy one because there are so many factors to consider. Does the person you’re proposing to prefer the finer things in life? What can you provide now and what can you provide in the future? Is there an heirloom that will provide value and more meaning to the engagement? Are there any pre-discussed expectations? 


When you have all these answers, then you’ll be able to better arrive at an answer to the bigger question. If your partner does prefer the finer things, then you know you’ll have to save up a little bit more. If there’s an heirloom in question, then there is no question. If you can only give so much now but want your partner to know that they are a big part of your future plans, then don’t go broke just to tell them that—just tell them. Because another big thing in all of this is how much and how honestly you talk to your partner. 


Have the difficult conversation

Do they know about your financial capability? Are they aware of how much you’re spending, not necessarily on yourself but other people, too? Do they know that you’re in charge of your aging parents' house bills or your little brother’s allowance? Are you following a passion or are you climbing up the corporate ladder? Have the difficult conversation, especially if these financial responsibilities aren’t going away anytime soon. 


The point is that you should be honest with the person you want to spend your life with. Whatever kind of life you can provide, say it. And if you’re waiting on your partner to propose to you, be honest with them, too. If you want a certain life and you’re looking for someone that can help provide that for you, tell them. If your goals are big and you need someone with equally big goals, make it known. 


Read between the lines

If your partner isn’t great at conversation, then learn to read between the lines. Are they taking you to places that are affordable rather than lavish? What do your date nights look like? Is your partner able to buy you gifts out of the blue, and are they of financial value or are they more emotion-driven and heartfelt? Are they working the same job and are afraid to ask for a promotion, or maybe they're doing something that they love and just doesn't pay as much as you would like it to?


If you look at your past together, you should be able to have a bit of an inkling of whether or not you’re getting that rock you’ve had on your Pinterest board or if you'll have a simple but meaningful life together. 


Make the choice

The other thing to remember is that a proposal gives you a choice. You can accept it or reject it, no matter how many years you guys have been together and how much was spent on the engagement ring.


The ending of the viral post isn't a happily ever after. The guy who proposed with a P299 ring has spoken, sharing how hurt he has been over the comments that came flooding in, let alone that his girlfriend anonymously posted on Facebook instead of talking to him, and ultimately decided to call it quits. 



Is the guy at fault? Is the girl? We really can’t point fingers because we don’t know their story behind a few screenshots. But here's to hoping that the long-term relationship didn't end because of a price tag on a ring. 


The moral lesson of the story? Never jump into the future with your eyes half-closed. 



Art Macky Arquilla


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