A funeral is very expensive and it can be easy for the costs to get out of hand. Families want to minimize the funeral costs, but often find it difficult to do so. Losing a loved one is very emotional and it is not always easy to think clearly and make the best decisions when arranging a funeral. Everyone wants to honor and celebrate the life of their departed loved one the best way possible and often choose funeral products they may not need. This leads to a funeral that is expensive and sometimes unaffordable. That is why we have put together the list below with some of the top ways for you to reduce the funeral costs.
Top Ways to Reduce Funeral Costs
A viewing is the time that the family and friends come to see the deceased after they have been prepared by a funeral home. The viewing will typically take place at the funeral home, which can cost $500 or more to rent a room at the funeral home. To save money, some families will have the viewing at their home to save the cost of renting the space. However, there will still be cost involved with transporting the deceased person in the casket to and from the funeral home. Instead of a viewing with the body present, many families will have a visitation. The visitation can be held immediately before the funeral, which won’t cost as much as a separate viewing. Or, families will have the visitation, or a wake, at the home of a family member. This is the easiest way to reduce the funeral costs. If the immediate family would like to view the body, they can either have an open casket at the funeral, or arrange with the funeral home a time to come in and see the deceased person.
2. Funeral Service
Today, many families are choosing not to have a traditional funeral service. Instead, they will have a celebration of life ceremony held at a family member’s home or other location. This option is selected to save money, or because the family would prefer not to have a standard memorial service at a funeral home. The decision to have a funeral service is based on a number of factors, including the family’s beliefs and the person who passed away. However, if the cost is the issue, we recommend speaking to the funeral home about other ways to reduce the funeral costs. A funeral service is an important part of the grieving process because it allows friends and family to gather, share stories, and say their final goodbyes to the person.
Choosing cremation over burial is the best way to reduce funeral costs. The cost of the casket, burial plot, vault, headstone and other fees make a traditional burial very expensive. The burial plot is often the most expensive part of a funeral. Depending on where you live, a plot could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000+. Furthermore, cemeteries will have ongoing maintenance fees that have to be paid on an ongoing basis to maintain the gravesite. A basic cremation can cost under one thousand dollars and the ashes can be place inside any urn or other vessel.
Even if you choose to have your loved one cremated, a casket is still required. The casket is one of the largest funeral expenses and is another easy way to reduce funeral costs. Caskets are typically made of wood or metal and the price can vary significantly. To save on the cost of the funeral, choose a casket that is less expensive. If you are burying the body, choose a cloth-covered casket. A cloth-covered casket is beautiful in appearance, but less expensive because it is made of plywood or pressboard and then covered with cloth. If you are having the body cremated, instead of purchasing an expensive wood casket, use a plain plywood box. Most funeral homes will have rental caskets that can be used for the funeral service. This allows you to have your loved one in a beautiful casket at the funeral, but have them cremated in an inexpensive box.
Obituaries are announcements in the newspaper that notify people of a person’s death. A typical obituary space will cost you around $250, but can be more or less depending on the number of words you use. To save money, place the person’s obituary on an online memorial website. There are numerous websites that allow you to post the obituary for free. The obituary will remain online permanently and reach a larger audience than an obituary in a local newspaper.
Most people do not consider reducing funeral costs through the funeral flowers, but flowers can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Instead or purchasing flowers for the funeral, there are a few other options. Some local florist will provide rental flowers. For a fee they will deliver flowers for the funeral and then pick them up afterwards; which, often costs less than purchasing the flowers. Another option is to use fake flowers because they cost less than real flowers. Lastly, the best way to have real flowers at the funeral for no cost is to ask friends and family to bring flowers from their home garden.
7. Funeral Home
As with any service it helps to shop around. Do not simply choose the closest funeral home to your house. The price that funeral homes charge can vary significantly. Typically a family owned funeral home will cost less than a corporate chain; however, that is not always the case. Even if the funeral home is a further distance from your home, if their costs are significantly less, choosing a different funeral home is an easy way to reduce funeral costs.
8. Funeral Products
Similar to how there is a benefit to shop around for a funeral home, you should also compare funeral product prices. Today, most funeral products that a funeral home sells are available for purchase online. Do your research and find the best possible prices for the funeral products you purchase. You may be able to use the prices you find elsewhere to negotiate a better price with the funeral home you are working with. It never hurts to ask if you can get a discount off their products and services.
These are just some of the ways that you can reduce funeral costs. The key is to be innovative and resourceful in coming up with your own ideas. There is an opportunity to save on every aspect of the funeral. Shop around, compare prices, and never be afraid to ask for a discount.
Updated: May 20, 2013