According to the National Funeral Directors Association, a funeral’s average cost is $7,000. Is that a price you’re comfortable paying? If not, you can avoid unnecessary fees by not accepting the standard funeral home package deals but only purchasing what’s needed.
No one wants to leave their family in debt due to funeral costs. But not everyone knows how to plan a funeral. By following the tips in this article, you’ll discover various simple ways to lower the cost of a funeral.
Choose a Modest Casket or No Casket
A casket is often a major expense when planning a funeral. There’s pressure to choose the most elaborately detailed model available. No one wants to feel as if they are disrespecting their loved one by opting for a no-frills package.
Why People Overpay for Caskets
The deceased may have been a widely known and well-respected community member. Naturally, there will be the pressure to present a loved one in a way that onlookers think is appropriate. This subtle pressure can lead families into debt.
There can also be internal pressure from certain family members. Even guilt plays a role. If the family feels that they did not spend enough time with the deceased, they may try to compensate by choosing luxurious options for the funeral.
But even the most cost-conscious consumers are likely to pay several hundred dollars online for a casket. So, a primary way to save money on a funeral is to avoid needing a casket.
Green Burials and Cremations Don’t Require Caskets
Some families pursue green burials where the deceased is laid to rest without a coffin. The idea is to allow the body to return to the earth as quickly and naturally as allowed by local law.
A green funeral isn’t available everywhere. But you can find crematoriums throughout the country. That’s why more families today are turning to cremation services.
Embalming is not necessary in every case. Do you intend to have the body available for public viewing? How much time will elapse between the death and the disposition of the body? Will the body have to cross state lines? These are a few of the considerations relevant to embalming.
But it’s possible to skip the embalming process. If the funeral home can keep the body at the required temperature, embalming becomes an unnecessary expense.
Don’t Use a Burial Vault
If you have a traditional burial, try to find a cemetery that doesn’t require an in-ground vault. The vault is simply a container in which the casket sits.
The vault is not a state requirement. So don’t be pressured into paying for one.
Consider a Memorial Service at Home
A funeral home will also charge you for using its facility for your memorial service. The staff must prepare the chapel, arrange the seating, make the attendees comfortable, and so forth.
It also would have to arrange the flowers, operate the sound system, and coordinate the music. Staff members are also on hand to assist where needed, for example, by escorting elderly or infirm visitors to their seats.
You can save money on funeral expenses by holding the memorial at home. If your home is not suitable, perhaps due to space, think of having a simple ceremony in the backyard.
But you may worry about how to plan a memorial. Let’s look at how you can do that successfully.
It’s Easier Without Having a Viewing
A home memorial service typically does not include the body or remains. There may be significant legal complications if you intend on having the body present as you would at a funeral. So, consider planning a memorial ceremony without the body.
Keep the Ceremony Simple
Some people find it more meaningful to have a memorial service at home or another place meaningful to the deceased. Friends and relatives also find going to the family home to be less intimidating than going to a funeral home.
The service need not be complicated. No one needs to be a polished orator. It’s simply the opportunity for a few well-chosen people to speak briefly about the meaningful impact the deceased had on their lives.
Afterward, the family can enjoy a meal with everyone in attendance. Here again, nothing needs to be fancy. Anyone who wants could bring a simple dish to contribute to the meal.
You could play in the background some of the deceased’s favorite music. You could pass around pictures showing the history of the deceased. And everyone can swap additional stories of the good memories they have.
Donate the Body to a Medical School
If you were to donate your body to a medical school, you could avoid burdening your survivors with medical expenses.
The state of Texas has an arrangement called the willed body program. Various universities and colleges throughout the state belong to the program as part of the state’s Anatomical Board.
Contact the school of your choice and request the necessary donation forms.
Criteria for Body Donations
You can still donate your body to science even if you’re also an organ donor. If your organs are unsuitable for transplant, your body as a whole will remain eligible.
However, most schools will not take a body after its organs have been removed. But some schools make exceptions for donations of eyes and skin.
Each school will have unique criteria for accepting a body. However, some general criteria are common.
For example, schools are likely to reject a donation if the death was the result of severe injuries or a highly contagious disease.
A school may also turn down a body if the person was recently diagnosed with AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, or gangrene.
Schools generally want the bodies to be of typical size. Overly large bodies may not be suitable for a school’s storage facility.
Ideally, a donated body has not undergone an autopsy. But some schools will accept an autopsied donation.
On average, schools prefer adult bodies. Only a few accept the bodies of children and babies.
Make Arrangements in Advance
It’s best to complete all the necessary paperwork before the death of the loved one. There will be more options as to where to donate the body. If the family waits until after death, there will be fewer schools with policies that allow for the donation.
Save Cremation and Transportation Costs
Donating a body generally saves you the cost of embalming. Why? Schools prefer to perform the embalming, and they usually do so without cost to the family.
The majority of schools will charge a small fee for returning the remains to the family. However, you should be aware that it may be several years before the body is ready for cremation and the remains returned.
Donating a body to science can also save on the cost of transporting the deceased. Most of the schools will cover the cost of transportation. But you’ll have to speak with a particular school to find out its transportation policy.
How the Body Helps Students
Donated bodies help medical students learn anatomy through dissection. Bodies can also play a role in various research projects.
Typically, a donated body remains at the school to which you donated. But all the schools are connected through the Anatomical Board of Texas, so it’s possible for a body to be transferred to another location to help with another school’s education program.
The body can even be transported to a school out of state. But the school will transfer the remains back to Texas.
Texas Members of the Anatomical Board
Not every school that belongs to the Anatomical Board will always have a need for donations. Contact your favorite school below to see if it is presently accepting donations.
The current list of participants in the state’s willed body program in alphabetical order include:
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Parker University
- Texas A&M College of Dentistry
- Texas A&M Health Science Center
- Texas College of Chiropractic, Pasadena
- Texas Tech Health Science Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
- Texas Tech Health Science Center School of Medicine, Lubbock
- University of Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine
- University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth
- University of Texas Austin Dale Medical School
- University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
- University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio
- University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
- University of Texas Southwestern
We Can Help You Lower the Cost of a Funeral
We hope that you now understand practical ways you can lower the cost of a funeral. As you noticed, cremation eliminates many of the fees associated with traditional funerals.
Have you considered having a family discussion about cremation for yourself or a loved one? The process has become an option for millions of families that, in previous years, would not have considered it.
Why not schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable professional who can answer all your questions concerning the cremation process? Book your appointment with Lone Star Cremation today.