If we don’t take control of funeral planning, we might end up spending extra dollars in cost. Here are 8 ways to have an affordable burial and cremation.
Would you like to learn about affordable burial and cremation options? If you recently lost a loved one, you might be facing unexpected and significant costs. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can still say goodbye to your loved one with compassion and honor. And you can find affordable alternatives to traditional expenses if you know where to look. When you’re ready to discover your own low-cost alternatives, read on.
1. Compare Prices
Funeral costs vary widely from one funeral home to the next. Crematoriums tend to offer more consistent prices across the board, though prices for crematorium containers and urns may vary. Treat these facilities for what they are: businesses.
If you wanted to plant trees in your front yard, you’d ask a handful of landscapers for estimates. If you needed a new coat, you’d shop around. Why then wouldn’t you call up multiple funeral homes to ask for prices?
Call and get a “general price list.” These lists must show the itemized charges of what they offer. It’ll let you compare prices accurately.
2. Pick a Direct Burial
The typical funeral cost includes a lengthy stay for the body and embalming. It also includes visitation from friends and family during the wake. The wake occurs in the funeral home or near the graveside.
With a direct burial, the body is buried soon after death. Neither is visitation allowed nor embalming required. It leaves you with extra financial resources to spend on your wake or other funeral necessities.
3. Cut the Casket Cost
Arguably the most frustrating funeral service cost is the casket. You’ll find more options than you will BBQs in Texas.
Metal caskets are more durable but they often come at exorbitant prices. Most funeral homes offer caskets in bronze, copper, and stainless steel.
On average, wooden caskets cost much less, but that’s not to say they’re all inexpensive. Hardwoods, like mahogany, walnut, and cherry will take a chunk out of your wallet. If you want a more practical option, choose pine, willow, or poplar.
Other mid-range woods, like birch, oak, and maple, fall somewhere in the middle of the scale. If you want to cut the cost of funeral and burial for your loved one, also avoid the other extra bells and whistles:
- Casket lining
- Hidden drawers
- Embroidered head panels
These are some other helpful hints to ensure you choose the right casket for your pocketbook:
Set a budget: Before you leave the house, decide your upper limit. When you speak with your casket salesman, tell him your limit is 15% to 20% less than what you decided. Hey, a salesman is a salesman after all.
Don’t shop alone: You’re still suffering from one of the most painful experiences a human can have. Your decision-making skills aren’t operating at full capacity right now. Ask a rational friend to accompany you.
4. Choose Cremation
Did you know that 50.2% of American families choose cremation? 43% choose burial. Why is cremation more popular?
People express one of two reasons when asked this question. The first is their loved one asked for cremation before dying. The second is it didn’t overtax their credit cards.
No matter how many alternative funeral options you look into, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more economic alternative. When you consider burial vs. cremation, also consider how many people can make it to the wake.
When someone passes, especially when it’s unexpected, it gives you a limited window to for a burial. On the other hand, if you choose to have the body cremated, you can pick a time more suitable for the scattering of ashes.
Both are usually followed by a wake or memorial of some kind. But the funeral puts undue pressure on family and friends who might have other, unavoidable obligations. If you scatter ashes, you can wait months or even years for the right opportunity.
5. Pick Your Own Urn
One of the most common questions about cremation funerals that we get is about the urn. Your loved one’s ashes must be placed in a receptacle before you receive them from the crematorium. Most folks choose an urn.
Like coffins, urns come in a variety of options. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars by providing a box or container from home. You can choose something with sentimental value to your loved one who recently passed.
6. Donate Your Body to Science
If your loved one chooses to donate his or her “whole body” to science, funeral costs are cut to zero. Whichever scientific facility receives custody of the body covers all removal and transportation fees. It also gives those who died one last chance to aid those they’re leaving behind.
7. Check into Social Security Benefits
Did your loved one receive social security? If you’re a child or spouse of the recently departed, Social Security may pay you death benefits. They come in a lump sum of $255.
8. Other Organizations that Help with Funeral Expenses
A handful of other charities and organizations also help those struggling to pay for funerals.
- Funeral Consumers Alliance
- American Red Cross
- United Tissue Network
- Veterans Affairs
Additional groups might also help with these costs. Was your loved one a member of other clubs or organizations? If so, ask that organization if they have a program to help families reduce the cost of funeral services.
Your Affordable Burial and Cremation Summary
Affordable burial and cremation services do exist if you know where to look. Consider what you need and what your loved one would have wanted. Then make a choice and take action.
If you have further questions, reach out to your local burial and cremation experts today.