36 Affordable Engagement Rings for Any Style, Plus Tips for Shopping on a Budget!

Looking for an affordable engagement ring? This post will help you with everything you need to know about shopping on a budget, and even give you some great options for affordable engagement rings for any style!

So you’re looking for an engagement ring…

Shopping for an engagement ring is often one of the biggest purchases you will make! Not necessarily in terms of dollar amount (although that can be true), but in terms of importance. 

You love and care for your partner, and you’re ready to take the next step in the relationship. But finding the perfect engagement ring can be tricky. And it can be even harder if you’re on a limited budget. 

My hope is that this post will help you to find an amazing ring to propose with, that your partner will absolutely love as much as he or she loves you!

7 Tips to find an affordable engagement rings

  1. Avoid chain jewelry stores – Chain jewelry stores are often the go-to places to shop for an engagement ring. They are very well known, and for good reason! These stores spend millions on advertising each year to build their brand visibility. But all the marketing spend means your ring is going to cost more! 
  1. Buy online – The lack of a brick and mortar presence for online retailers allows these companies to skip on the expenses of having physical stores and price their products lower accordingly. You’ll still have to choose your online retailer wisely, as not all online retailers choose to go with lower prices. 
  1. Skip the traditional diamond – Diamond engagement rings were not always the standard. It was yet another marketing campaign by diamond supplier DeBeers in 1947 that popularized the diamond engagement ring. In fact, outside of the U.S., other gemstones and simpler styles are much popular. Here in the U.S. more and more people are opting for something other than the diamond! As a proposal/engagement and wedding photographer, I definitely see a lot more variety these days!
  1. Family jewelry – Do you have a piece of family jewelry that could be used as your engagement ring? Family heirlooms, especially those that have been passed down for generations, hold a lot of meaning and can be a great way to welcome your partner into your family.
  1. Choose a cut that looks bigger – If you feel your partner will care about having a ring that looks big, you can save some money by choosing the right cut of stone. Certain shapes of diamonds look larger than they really are just because of how they are cut. Diamond cuts that appear larger include: oval, round, pear, marquise, and trillion cuts. 
  1. Choose a solitaire ring or a ring without a center stone – Solitaire rings are just a plain band with a single center stone. Because of this you end up saving money on any side stones or stones in the band. On the other hand, you could choose a ring that doesn’t have a single large stone in the middle and is just composed of smaller stones, which cost much less (even in aggregate) than a single large stone.
  1. Wait for a sale – If you do choose to go with one of the bigger retailers, such as Zales, Kay, or Jared, you can save money if you buy at the right time of year. CNBC says that the best time of year to buy is in July, when jewelry retailers run sales because there are no holidays in sight at that time of year. Some stores do offer promotions during the Christmas and Valentine’s Day holidays, so you can also be on the lookout for those!

What are some diamond alternatives?

One of the best ways to save money on your engagement ring is to skip the diamond and choose an alternative stone. Here are a few great options:

  1. Lab-grown diamonds or stones – With modern technology, diamonds can now be grown in a lab rather than found in nature. They are physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds but much less expensive and more ethical. Lab grown diamonds are NOT the same as cubic zirconia (CZ) contrary to popular belief. CZ stones are not as durable as diamonds so they are more easily scratched and they also get cloudy over time.
  1. Gemstones – Another alternative to the traditional diamond is to choose a ring with a gemstone, such as an emerald, ruby, sapphire, etc. There are a ton of options and this is a trend that is growing in popularity!
  1. Moissanite, white sapphire, or white topaz – if you like the idea of a diamond alternative but you want a colorless stone, you can consider a moissanite, white sapphire, or white topaz gemstone. They have a similar look to a diamond but cost much less. Moissanites are the second hardest mineral behind diamonds so they are quite durable, and they are actually even more sparkly than diamonds.

6 Best places to buy an affordable engagement ring

  1. Etsy
  2. Do Amore
  3. VRAI
  4. Blue Nile
  5. Angara
  6. Overstock.com

How much do I spend on an engagement ring?

The old rule about spending 1-3 months of your salary really is outdated! And actually what many people don’t know is that this rule of thumb was started by the diamond industry around the time of World War II to boost sales. 

Instead of following this rule, here are a few things you should consider to determine your engagement ring budget:

  1. What is your financial situation? How much can you afford comfortably? Most financial experts agree it’s not a good idea to finance a ring, and instead it’s better to buy within a budget that isn’t going to put a strain on your financial situation.
  1. What are your partner’s expectations? This goes beyond just the price tag, but also should consider their style and tastes.
  1. Will you have any other proposal costs? When you’re planning on a proposal budget, you’re going to want to consider not just the ring, but how you will propose as well. Are you going to plan a proposal at a destination? Are you hiring a photographer or proposal planner? Keep in mind these costs as you’re putting together a total budget!
Commitment ceremony rings and same sex LGBT couple holding hands

Why the proposal is just as important as the ring!

Did you know that according to a survey from Men’s Health, 84 percent of women would actually prefer a romantic proposal to a big ring?

While big jewelry companies may want you to think that the ring is the only important part of your proposal, it’s simply not true! 

Asking your partner to spend the rest of their life with you is going to be a moment neither of you will ever forget! In fact, “How did he/she ask you?” is usually the first question someone will ask your future fiance when they hear you got engaged. 

When you give your partner an amazing proposal experience, you give them a story they’ll want to retell over and over again for the rest of your lives! If you need proposal idea inspiration, check out this list of nearly 70 proposal ideas

Affordable Engagement Rings

Classic affordable engagement rings

Unique affordable engagement rings

Simple affordable engagement rings

Engagement rings under $300

Engagement rings under $500

Engagement rings under $1,000

Pictures above from Etsy and may contain affiliate links. While I may receive a small amount through affiliate links, it is always at no cost to you and all opinions are entirely my own.

Are you planning a marriage proposal?

I’m more than just a photographer. Creating epic proposal experiences is what I do best!

Fill out the contact form below and let’s chat about your vision!

Or check out some of my other planning resources!

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Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in epic proposal photography in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on such a special day is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to plan the most amazing proposal ever! That includes everything from assistance with location planning, proposal ideas and logistics, plus lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

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