What prospective groom hasn't secretly shuddered at the old saying an engagement ring should cost at least two months' salary? Let's be honest: Even in robust financial times, this is an extravagant idea. But when the economy is fragile -- and the price of gold and diamonds astronomical -- spending up to 16 percent of your income on a ring can give new meaning to the words "crazy in love."
You don't have to break the bank to find a good engagement ring, says Robert Bates, senior editor of Jewelry Circular Keystone, a leading trade magazine in the jewelry industry. "People get hung up on the numbers," he says, "but it's really about finding (a ring) you like and making your fiance happy."
Start your marriage on the right financial footing by buying an engagement ring with love -- and wisdom. Here are five ways to save money on the perfect ring.