4 Ways to Save on Funeral Costs

Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

A death in the family is always difficult — regardless of whether it’s a sudden event, or the result of long illness.

It is likely to affect everybody you know, and often you’ll find yourself experiencing your own grief, but also that of other loved ones.

It’s hard enough to deal with this mixture of intense emotions as you navigate everyday life, but a death always throws in an extra burden on top of everything else. The funeral.

Quite aside from the stress of planning this event, a funeral can produce significant financial strain.

The industry surrounding death has led us to believe that this is a necessarily expensive affair, that a costly, lavish send-off is fitting for your loved one.

The truth is, this needn’t be the case. We’re going to look at four ways you can cut down on funeral expenses, while still providing an apt farewell for your dearly departed.

  1. Forward Thinking

    With very few exceptions, actions undertaken with urgency at the last minute will usually be more expensive. There aren’t many funeral services that will provide last-minute deals. While it’s not always the most pleasant thing to think about, we each have the foreknowledge that, at some point, we’ll pass on. This also provides us with a certain amount of power — we can make cost effective, personal choices about our own funeral. End of life planning is important for us all, not just the elderly and terminally ill.

    One of the most helpful advance steps you can take is through investing in life insurance, which can help take a lot of the initial financial burden family may experience. If you are preparing for your own funeral, making sure Advance planning also gives you time to shop around, make enquiries with funeral homes regarding the most cost effective packages. Some providers even offer the opportunity for prepayment of certain aspects, in effect securing a service at today’s costs which may go up in the future.

    This also provides an opportunity to make a living will or advanced directive. Essentially, this allows your relatives and healthcare providers to assert your wishes if you are in a terminal condition but unable to express your wishes as to how you would like them to proceed. Planning in advance for death needn’t be morbid, rather it opens a dialogue with your loved ones. To make it clear what your preferences are, and even take care of some of the arrangements yourself.

  2. The Personal Touch

    One of the enduring myths that seriously affect the amount people pay for funerals, is that you need to seek the services of a funeral director. While they can certainly offer expertise, there is no reason why you can’t perform this function yourself. If you have organizational talents, taking on this responsibility can not only help save money, but also give you an opportunity to have a positive effect on the practicalities of death that you may even find cathartic.

    While legislation varies from state to state, there is no requirement to hold a funeral. This means that you are largely open to providing any kind of farewell service that fits the deceased, their loved ones, and the budget. This can include burying the remains on family land, rather than purchasing a plot in a cemetery.

    You don’t need to bow to the trend for packages that include huge swathes of unnecessary flowers and expensive processions — provide what makes sense for the person who has passed, perhaps get members of the family to suggest more meaningful alternative decorations and activities.

  3. Cremation and Burial

    One of the reasons that we tend to spend large amounts of money for others to take care of funerals for us, is that there are details that we feel that we don’t have the expertise to handle. Among them, the physical process of handling the remains. However, with a little research, you can save money on this important aspect of every funeral.

    Burial can bring with it costs for unnecessary extras, including visitation and even coffins. If you are going through a funeral home, a “direct burial” is often the most cost-effective option. This doesn’t include a graveside funeral service or option for viewing, and the body is usually interred in a simple container rather than a casket. It’s also worth noting that no state requires bodies to be buried in any kind of casket, so you may find it both less costly and more appropriate to bury the deceased directly in the earth.

    There are also ways to save money in cremation. One of which is to donate the body to medical science. Once the requisite tests have been undertaken, the medical facility will cremate the remains free of charge and return them to the family. This also has the added benefit that a loved one has potentially been instrumental in furthering medical knowledge for generations to come.

  4. Caskets and Urns

    One of the primary expenditures of any funeral, is the cost of caskets. Thinking about this logically, these items are really luxuries that will either be buried or burned. While we all want to give ourselves or our loved ones the best funeral we can provide, we don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on an opulent box.

    When we are in the midst of grieving, it can be tempting to agree to a casket that includes various extras, but we should be wary of this. For example, rubber gaskets which are intended to keep outside elements at bay. These gaskets, which generally cost the provider approximately $8, can raise the casket cost by as much as $800. While this may seem as though it is a protective step, it is wholly unnecessary, as — whether we like it or not — the body will begin a state of decay.

    If you have opted for cremation, urns can also result in significant expenditure. If you are going to be distributing the ashes in the deceased’s preferred location, an elaborate vessel isn’t necessary — most crematoriums will provide a simple plastic box free of charge. However, if you are planning on retaining the ashes, you might consider a more personal approach. Making a DIY cremation urn isn’t just a cost-saving measure, it’s an opportunity to produce something more meaningful. One last contribution to the memory of someone who meant a great deal to us.

Author’s Bio

Nat Juchems is the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat helps those grieving the loss of a loved find the right memorial to cherish.

Before becoming the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat worked for six years in the memorials ecommerce industry as a Marketing Director and Ecommerce Director, using his skill set to manage powerful paid search and organic search campaigns as well as implement merchandising strategies and manage the software development teams that made everything work.

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