How to Save Money on Burial Costs

Written by Ross Quade

When a family member or loved one passes away, and you are the one left to plan the funeral, it can be easy to get it over and done with without adequate planning. Unfortunately, funerals can be extremely costly, and with your emotions running high, you may make important decisions about the funeral that you’ll later regret. The average funeral costs $7,045, however by taking a step back and adequately researching and planning all of the components of the funeral you can bring your costs way down. Here are some ways to save money on the burial costs of a funeral so that the financial impact of one is manageable.

Comparison Shop For Funeral Homes

When you are searching for funeral homes, it is recommended that you not just go with the first one that you see. Instead, you should compare prices from at least three homes to find the one with the best deals. Keep in mind that the funeral home in your neighborhood might not be the cheapest. You should try to visit each funeral home in person so that you can get a sense for the environment, as well as the people who will be conducting the service for your deceased loved one.

Resist the Temptation to Buy Services and Goods You Do Not Need

Make sure that you purchase only what you need and truly desire. Don’t allow a guilty conscience to get you to buy an expensive funeral product or service that you do not really need as a way of showcasing your love for the deceased loved one. Doing so will only leave a huge hole burned in your wallet. Instead, while you are shopping try to keep in mind that you are not out to impress anyone. Instead, the goal is to celebrate the life of your family member or friend.

If Possible, Shop in Advance

If it is possible, discuss with your loved ones their funeral wishes before they pass away. Although it is an extremely hard topic to bring up and talk about, it could potentially save you thousands of dollars and a lot of decision-making after the fact. If your family member or friend would rather have a simple funeral, then there’s no need to spend money on an extravagant affair. On top of this, you should consider personal alternatives that are far cheaper than a huge funeral. For instance, you could have the memorial service right in your own church or house and keep it smaller to save money.

Limit Visitation Time

Although you may want to have a visitation the evening or day before the funeral, this can add an extra cost that may not be necessary. However, if you are willing to have the visitation right before the funeral, this can lower your expenses substantially. You can save even more money by not having a set time for visitation. Instead, let people come to the funeral home an hour or so before it starts so that people can pay their respects.

Say No to Embalming

If you want to give family members and friends of the deceased a chance to see him or her, then there may be a way to do that without embalming. Many states allow a public viewing of the body without embalming as long as it has been in a refrigerated environment up until the service or viewing, which then eliminates the costly expense of embalming. However, if you live in a state that mandates an embalming prior to a public viewing, then you can opt for a private visitation period for only family members. Due to the fact this is not public, the embalming will not be required.

Choose Cremation Over Burial

Deciding on cremation as opposed to a burial is a hugely personal decision to make, and one that likely won’t have to do with the cost. That being said, it may help make your decision to know that cremation tends to be cheaper. This is because there is no expense for the casket or burial. Rather, you will only have to pay for the cremation process. Some families choose to have the cremated ashes buried, which is still cheaper than the burial of the body.

Choose a Cheaper Casket

There are a few ways to ensure that your costs are kept as low as possible when you pick a casket. If you want to purchase one made of metal or wood, then there are many affordable caskets using this material. Additionally, you can find substantially cheaper options made out of fiberboard or even heavy cardboard (which looks like wood). Another style you may want to consider is a cloth-covered casket, which is cheaper due to its much simpler design and no metals used. Another trick is to use a cremation casket, even if the body is not cremated, as these are considerably cheaper.

Choose a Plain Vault

Many cemeteries mandate that you use an outer burial container or vault when burying a deceased person. This protects the grave from falling in, as well as protects the casket from any damage in case heavy equipment is placed on top when digging out the surrounding graves. You have many options as far as these vaults. However, the cheapest is a plain concrete or wooden box. That being said if it is important to you to protect the casket thoroughly then this may be one expense you do not want to spare.

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Ross Quade
Ross Quade has been a licensed insurance agent since 2008. State of Texas license #1702965. He has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from University of Minnesota and minored in Applied Economics. He has been quoted in several online publications including Huffington Post, Young Startups and various financial blogs. Ross frequently writes about issues related to the insurance and finance industry.
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