Traditionally a gentleman saved 3 months wages for an engagement ring. That was great for a time when only one person in the household worked and you could pay off a mortgage in less than 10 years while still taking an annual holiday and buying a new car every 3 years.
Most couples are already living together. Most in my experience have shared bank accounts, so it is increasingly difficult to have the element of surprise. The average monthly income has increased, and at the same time the cost of living has massively increased.
So what is a fella/couple to do?
Firstly, please consider the general advice and read the PDS........in other words, this is what makes sense to me.
You can spend less, by putting thought into it.
What does this mean? If you walk into a retail store, they want to sell you what they have. They want to turn their stock into cash. Which is fast and convenient, and may not suit you exactly.
If you spend the time (about 2 hours in total) talking and listening to the experts, you'll hopefully see the patterns with Jewellery/Engagement Rings and the right combinations will start to emerge. You can get a lot of confidence with diamond colour/clarity/carat combinations by talking. There is always a sweet spot, a value combination, whether that fits in the budget is the thousands of dollars question.
I understand better than anyone how important and sentimental an engagement ring is. I also understand the passage of time and change in circumstances. The financial position of a couple or individual changes constantly. It is perfectly ok to "upgrade" or have a new bigger/brighter ring made for another finger at a major anniversary. Very seriously I see a trend of 20 year anniversary the centre stone doubles (usually the carat weight). The original engagement ring centre stone is turned into a pendant or matched and made into earrings.
My advice. Look at your situation now. There is lots of "compromise" that can be done to achieve a result that fits within a budget. Everyones budget is different, a budget helps draw a line in the sand and fine tune.
And, secret for the fellas.........most women would prefer the thought/time you have put into getting an engagement ring made, rather than the cost and I don't think anyone is going to be happy if you have a fabulous engagement ring and a stable diet for the next year of Vegemite on toast.
There are options, and given the changes to the work in 2020 - some bridging might be needed.