The Cost of Love

A header image for a blog that estimates how much money people spend in relationships
A header image for a blog that estimates how much money people spend in relationships

If you ask JLo, “Love don’t cost a thing.” But while it’s true there’s no way to put a price tag on that special feeling of connection, we all know there’s a fiscal side to affairs of the heart.

We wanted to get down to the dollars and cents of what it really costs to be in love, so we surveyed engaged and married couples about how much they spent during their journey to commitment. We asked about engagement rings, wedding bands, and other gifts to uncover the average person’s total annual cost of love.

Curious about where your own love expenditures land in the grand scheme of romantic finance? Read on as we unpack the cost of love, and remember: even if love isn’t all about the money, it’s always wise to keep an eye on the price tag!

The Lifetime Cost of Love

A bar chart showing how much money people spend in relationships over the course of a lifetime

The results are in! We surveyed 1,500 married or engaged people about their spending habits around a long list of love-related activities and gifts to break down the cost of commitment over the course of a lifetime. We broke it down into one-, three-, five-, 10-, and 20-year snapshots on the chart above to illustrate how a lifetime of love adds up.

The first year of love can be costly, with Americans spending an average of $9,233.32 in the first 12 months of a relationship. However, our results show that once over that first-year hump, annual love spending decreases over the next two years (with a three-year average total cost of $16,290.53).

Of course, the investment doesn’t stop there. Over the next two years, Americans spend another $11,295.83 before celebrating their five-year anniversary.

The lifetime cost of love? A heart-stopping $192,769.19! That’s right — while money can’t buy love itself, the associated total spending over a lifetime will secure a comfortable house in many parts of the country, a true testament to the great lengths we’ll go to for those we cherish.

What Does Love Cost per Year?

A graphic showing an itemized list of how much people spend on relationships throughout the year

Let’s get a bit more granular and nail down the annual costs of gifts and dates. First off, the big one — the engagement ring. According to our survey, Americans spent just over $2,900 to lock in a lifetime of shared adventures (and inevitable debates over who controls the TV remote).

In a fascinating twist, our data revealed that courtship length directly influenced engagement ring spending. Couples who raced to the altar within a year spent an average of $2,384 on an engagement ring. On the other hand, couples who nurtured their love for a decade or more before one of them popped the question invested a lavish $4,224.

At Shane Co., we’re all about getting married whenever it feels right, but it does look like good things do come to those who wait! (By the way, if you’re considering popping the question soon and need some insight, check out our deep-dive Spring Engagement Ring Trends of 2023 post.)

We found some intriguing gender differences in the anniversary category. The average man in an engaged or married relationship spent around $525 to celebrate another trip around the sun together.

On the flip side, the average woman in similar circumstances spent about $285. Regardless of the different amounts, our survey found that 55% of respondents were “very happy” with how their partner handled special occasions. 29% said they were “somewhat happy,” and only 9% reported being either “somewhat” or “very unhappy.”

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, while love is priceless, the associated costs of nurturing and celebrating commitment can certainly add up over time. But remember, the above are not just costs; they’re investments into the experience of sharing life’s journey with your true love.

With this study, we wanted to shed light on the financial realities of love to empower couples to make informed decisions and have open conversations about the monetary side of their romantic journey. Our unending quest to bring you love-related knowledge you won’t find anywhere else is ongoing. Check out our blog for more posts like this one!

Rest assured, Shane Co. will be with you every step of the way to help you find the perfect engagement ring, wedding band, and gifts for your partner. No matter what you spend or who you marry, we hope you find your true love and enjoy a lifetime of happiness together!


To determine the cost of love — from one year spent with your partner to a lifetime of happiness together — we surveyed over 1,500 married or engaged Americans. We asked them how much money they spent on specific gifts and special occasions throughout the year and averaged the results based on their relationship length to estimate how much money one can expect to spend on love over a lifetime.

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