You’re spending way too much on that engagement ring

Atlanta resident William Oliver is trying to crowdfund money to buy a $15,000 engagement ring for his girlfriend — though he’s only gotten $609 for it as of Friday. He writes this of the effort:

“Sometimes we can’t quite afford expensive things by ourselves. A lot of people lean on credit card companies and banks (that overcharge them) so that they appear to do nice things for people they love by themselves. My approach is a little different. We have friends, family, and colleagues that don’t mind passing up a drink or a sandwich to help out. Anything helps. All proceeds will go to the purchase of a beautiful engagement ring one that WE ALL can be proud of. Call me crazy but Love is Free Not Engagement Rings and Weddings.”

The internet has, predictably, gone nuts over this:

While Oliver’s methods to fund a ring may be questionable, he is spot on about one thing: Engagement rings are insanely expensive — and that’s getting worse. The average person spends $6,163 on an engagement ring, up from $5,871 in 2015, according to The Knot’s latest data, which surveyed 13,000 brides and grooms who married in 2016. Experts now say that the “right” amount to spend on an engagement ring is 2-3 months salary.

That’s far more than most people can afford: Seven in 10 Americans has less than $1000 saved. That may explain why jewelry companies are offering credit and other options for those who can’t shell out cash. The Zales credit card offers an “own it today, zero down” option , as well as special financing offers. But that can cost you big: it’s interest rate goes up to 29.49% if you don’t pay off the jewelry in time. The Helzberg Diamonds credit card also has special no-interest financing options, but it’s rate goes up to 26.9% interest if you don’t pay that ring off on time.

Options like these are widespread, and tempting, so it’s no wonder that many people go into debt to buy a sparkler — as The Nest notes in one of its articles. “If you are an average American there is a good chance when you step to the counter to purchase an engagement ring you’ll be pulling out a credit card or signing a loan agreement for store financing.” (Of course, it’s important to note that 0% financing offers — for those who diligently work to pay them off in time — can be a decent way to buy a ring.)

But before you take on debt to buy a sparkler, think about this: If you buy the average engagement ring and put it on a credit card with 26% interest — a rate that many of these cards have — you’ll end up spending more than $10,000 for that ring assuming you paid it off in about five years.