8 Ways to Save on Funeral Costs
Today, average funeral costs range from $7,000 to $12,000. While cremation costs are significantly lower, many families still find it challenging to cover the cost of laying their loved ones to rest.
There are steps you can take to lower funeral costs. Here are eight tips.
1. Compare Your Options
People comparison shop for most purchases, but when it comes to funeral expenses, they’re far more likely to simply choose the provider their family uses. However, that may not always be the most cost-effective option.
Consider having a friend or trusted loved one help you compare and weigh your options. The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule requires all funeral homes to itemize the cost of items in their quotes, which makes it easier to compare prices.
Comparison shopping can potentially provide significant savings, so it’s worth the time and effort to weigh your options.
2. Purchase Your Urn Elsewhere
It may seem convenient to purchase an urn from the funeral home, but you may be spending more than you need to if you go this route. You are under no obligation to purchase your urn from the funeral home, nor can they charge you a fee for using one from an outside source.
You have so many options when it comes to funeral urns for ashes. Making your purchase from an outside source means that you can choose an urn that allows you to remember and memorialize your loved one in a meaningful way. There are simple wooden urns for ashes, or tried-and-true brass urns.
Cremation jewelry is another unique and meaningful option that allows you to carry your loved one with you always.
When you purchase your urn from an outside source, you’re not only in control of the cost, but you also have a wider selection to choose from.
3. Consider a Home Funeral
If you’re comfortable with the idea, you may consider having a home funeral. Home funerals were the norm until the 20th century, but many people assume a funeral home is the only option for laying their loved ones to rest.
In most states, there are no laws prohibiting home funerals and you are not required to use a licensed funeral director to handle your loved one’s final arrangements. In fact, many states do not have any laws that prohibit you from burying your loved one on your private property.
However, there are procedures that you must follow if you plan to handle your own funeral arrangements, such as completing and filing your loved one’s death certificate. Therefore, it’s important to contact your local city or county to find out if there are other requirements and for guidance on the process.
Crematories may require that the family have a funeral director make the arrangements, but not all of them have this requirement. If you’re planning a viewing at home and wish to have your loved one cremated, you will need to find a crematory that will accept the body directly from your family.
4. Skip the Casket for Direct Cremation
If you don’t plan to hold a viewing or a service where the body will be present, direct cremation is a cost-effective option. With direct cremation, there’s no need to purchase a casket. Instead, you can choose a simple unfinished wood box, pressboard, canvas or even cardboard.
You are not obligated to purchase a casket for direct cremations, so consider skipping it for a direct cremation if cost is a concern.
5. Consider an Immediate Burial
If you decide that a burial is a right choice for your loved one, an immediate burial can offer cost savings. In this case, the burial takes place shortly after death, so there’s no viewing or embalming.
With an immediate burial, you can still have a graveside service if you wish. Skipping the viewing and embalming can significantly lower funeral costs. The cost can range from $1,200-$1,600, which is much lower than the standard cost of a burial.
6. Skip the Embalming
Embalming is notrequired by law, and if you’re planning to have the funeral shortly after death, it may not be necessary. However, refrigeration may be a viable alternative to embalming, especially if you’re having a one-day funeral.
Embalming can cost $750 or more, but refrigeration can range from $35-$100 per day. As a result, many families find that refrigeration is a cost-effective and practical alternative to embalming.
7. Keep it Simple
Surviving family members often feel that the amount they spend on the funeral reflects how much they loved and cared for the decedent. As a result, they may feel pressured to buy more than necessary out of guilt.
However, family and friends will find a personalized and memorable service to be far more meaningful. Keep it simple and buy only what you feel is necessary. Your loved ones know how much you cared for the decedent. Consider focusing more on how you will remember your lost loved one. Sharing stories and having a personalized service will have more of an impact than a lavish funeral.
8. Skip the Sealed Casket
Protective or sealed caskets may seem appealing, especially if you’re grieving and concerned about your loved one’s comfort. These caskets have seals or rubber gaskets that are supposed to protect the body from the elements.
These special gaskets can significantly increase the funeral price, but they aren’t necessary. They don’t actually preserve the body, so it will still decompose naturally (there is nothing wrong with this).
Skipping the gasket or protective seal can potentially save you hundreds of dollars in funeral costs.
The importance of a funeral and memorial service cannot be underestimated, but you don’t have to spend more than necessary to have a memorable, unique and personalized service that family and friends will appreciate. It’s about how you celebrate your loved one’s life, and not how much you spend on the aesthetics.
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