Jewellers would like you think that it is one month's salary or even two months or three month's salary (see this BBC article about the work De Beers did to create that 'tradition').
But hang on a minute - it isn't. It's nowhere near.
In the UK, the average salary is around £27,000 at the moment which works out as £2250 for one month, £4500 for two months or £6750 for three months (assuming the 'tradition' is salary before tax id deducted).
But people just don't spend that much money on engagement rings.
No-one seems quite able to agree on exactly how much proposers are spending, but everyone agrees it isn't that much. Recent surveys for average engagement ring prices came up with the following figures:
- £573 (This Is Money, research by Allianz, 2016)
- £1329 (Marlows, 2012 - this one also concluded that men in Wales spend about £600 compared to £1600 in London)
- £1231 (Daily Mail, research by LV Insurance, 2012)
- £1576 (Men's Health, source unknown, 2007)
- £1772 (You & Your Wedding, 2015)
So, from those numbers we can conclude that whilst surveys come up with wildly variable numbers, none of them come close to the £2250 - £6750 range above.
Our view at the Cheap Engagement Rings Guide is that you spend what you can afford, rather than what you think you should spend. Sure, you want to get something decent and you don't want to scrimp too much on something which should last for decades, but you also needn't feel you need to start off married life heavily in debt.
It's also not really true that you get what you pay for with an engagement ring. Of course, a top quality ring will cost top money, but you will also find two diamond rings of a very similar quality being sold for wildly different prices.
Just take a look at our price comparison charts for 0.25 carat diamonds, 1 carat diamonds and 2 carat diamonds. You need to look carefully at grading (see the guide to 10 things you need to know when shopping for cheap engagement rings for more on that) but the profit margins applied by jewellers vary massively.
So, work out what you can afford and then take a look at one of our guides which cover what you can get on an engagement ring budget of £100, £200, £300, £500 or £1000.
Happy hunting, I hope the answer is yes!