Photo by Rhodi Lopez
The average funeral can cost upwards of fifteen thousand dollars. Very few families can shoulder an unplanned expense that big without some level of financial stress. Luckily, the cost of a funeral can be drastically lowered with some simple methods. Here’s what you can do to avoid spending more than what you can afford.
1 – Be prepared
Lack of preparation is often what drives families to overspend on funerals. When a death catches you by surprise and there are no plans in place, you are left at the mercy of funeral directors who have a thousand times more experience dealing with — and extracting money from — grieving people than you do.
When you can see a death coming on the horizon, it’s a good idea to make basic arrangements for the funeral in advance, as it lowers both the emotional and financial load for everyone involved. Having at least vague knowledge of how funerals work and what are the costs can also help you avoid undue stress if someone passes away suddenly.
2 – Compare the price of services online
Believe it or not, the death care industry is also worried about their SEO rankings and having an online presence. Many funeral homes and service providers have robust websites where you can request free quotes and research prices when making funeral arrangements. Since they expect people shopping online to be comparing prices, you can often get a better deal online than you would in person.
3 – Crowdfund the funeral
There are platforms specifically designed for funeral crowdfunding that turns the funding campaign into a tasteful memorial for the deceased as well. This will allow everyone who knew the deceased to contribute to his funeral. For friends who live far away and won’t be able to attend the ceremony, pitching in some money for extra flowers or a better casket might make them feel more included.
4 – Consider cremation
There are many different options when it comes to cremation, including alternatives where you can rent a casket and have people visit the body before it gets cremated. Cremations can cost as little as one thousand dollars and help eliminate all sorts of secondary costs, such as the cost of acquiring a plot in the cemetery.
5 – Donate the body for science
This is the cheapest alternative in this list. Often medical schools will handle picking up the body themselves, which makes donating completely free for the donors. Some medical schools will also cremate the body and return it once they are done with their studies, all free of charge.
6 – Go light on the extras
Flowers, expensive caskets, protection seals, sealed caskets, there seems to be no end to the list of add-ons funeral homes are willing to provide for a few hundreds — or thousands — of extra dollars. However, many of those additions are partially or completely useless. Extra protection for the casket, for example, does little to protect the body, which will decompose regardless.
7 – Shop online for goods
You can buy everything you need for a proper burial online and even get free same-day shipping. Caskets, urns, headstones, you name it. This allows you not only to buy quality goods much cheaper than you would get them at the funeral home, but it also gives you access to more options should you decide to have a home funeral. Which is a legal and cost-effective way to bury a body, not to mention it makes the grave easy for the family to visit.
If you want to check the prices of funeral items, try a site like Memorials.com.