When you've found your special someone and are ready to take the next step in your relationship by proposing, it's time to think about how much you want to spend on the engagement ring. Some people aim to spend about a month's salary and others spend three months; whatever the case, people buying engagement rings spend about $4,000. If you're on a budget, you don't need to be concerned that you won't be able to buy something nice. The fact is that many jewelry stores have engagement rings at a wide range of price points -- and if you keep the following three tips in mind, you'll stay on budget and have a rock that impresses.

Forget About Stylish Brand Names

Do a little shopping around and you'll see that some stores have engagement rings that are marketed as having specific brand names. While this idea might initially seem attractive to you, the reality is that, like anything, you'll spend more for a "brand name" diamond. Extensive marketing campaigns can raise the price of these rings. Skip the display that features these rings and, instead, look for something that suits your budget and visual requirements but doesn't carry a brand name. At the end of the day, it's the look of the ring that matters most, and forgetting about brand names can save you money.

Stay Below Catchy Carat Numbers

Larger-carat diamonds often have more sparkle and pizzazz, but if a smaller-carat diamond has a high clarity rating and is cut expertly, it can be dazzling. You can often save money by figuring out the carat amount that is within range of your budget and then opting for a diamond slightly smaller. For example, a one-carat diamond costs a fair bit more than one that's 0.9 of a carat, but there isn't a huge degree of visual difference. Whether you're aiming for around one carat or even two carats, staying just a smidgen below the bigger numbers will be beneficial to your wallet.

Opt For Slightly Less Clarity

A diamond's clarity is ranked according to a multi-point scale and the higher the clarity rating, the more you'll pay. While no one is necessarily suggesting that you should buy a diamond on the bottom end of this scale, you can often save a considerable amount of money by selecting a diamond with a mid-range clarity rating but that still sparkles. Clarity ratings are so subtle that by opting for a lower-clarity diamond, you can safely stay within your budget.

Visit an affordable jeweler, such as Jeffrey-Private Jeweler.