The death of a loved one is difficult. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional toll the loss will have on you, but you need to prepare for a funeral. Funerals can be expensive, especially if your loved one does not have burial insurance. Still, there are ways that you can save on a touching memorial service. Funeral expenses do not need to be a financial burden if you take the time to do some planning.
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Here are some great ways to save while still honoring the life of the person you have lost:
There are several different choices to make when it comes to a casket. Often, the grieving family will feel overwhelmed and choose the first or best casket recommended by the funeral home. However, you can save money on funeral expenses if you take the time and do some research.
Did you know that you can purchase a casket online? That is right! You are not legally obligated to use a casket supplied by the funeral home. Some websites offer caskets at lower rates sent directly to the funeral home.
Make Your Own
If you are a DIYer, then consider building your own casket. You do not need to purchase one for burial. Some states may have standards (such as materials or dimensions) that need to be followed, but making your own will save a lot of money. There are a lot of different patterns out there that you can choose from as well.
The type of material your casket is made out of will make a difference in cost. There are different woods and different metals for the hardware used on caskets. For instance, if you choose a casket with stainless steel features as opposed to a pine casket with no hardware, then you are going to pay more money. You do not have to pick the most expensive casket for it to be a good-looking one. Take your time and shop around to find the best deal on a casket.
Skip the Vault
Check with the cemetery where you are burying your loved one. When a person is buried, their casket is put inside a vault before putting it into the ground. A cemetery might require a vault to keep the ground settling and making dips at the burial plot. Another reason a vault may be required is it will protect the casket from the weight of the dirt on top of it or if heavy machinery ever passes over the plot. If it is not required to have a vault, you may be able to skip this purchase and save on the burial.
Contrary to popular belief, you are in charge of what you purchase for a funeral. A funeral home cannot force you to buy anything, and you can shop around. The funeral rule ensures that you are not being taken advantage of financially when planning a funeral. The funeral home you are working with should be transparent in their prices and allow you to shop around for prices on caskets.
Instead of doing a traditional burial, you may want to consider doing a cremation. A cremation will save a considerable amount of money compared to a funeral and burial. A traditional funeral with burial cost is between $7,000 and $12,000. The average price for a standard cremation service is $6,000 - $7,000. There is a potential of saving several thousand dollars by going with a cremation. Check to see if your loved one expressed a preference of whether they wanted to be buried or cremated in their funeral plan. However, suppose there were no wishes expressed. In that case, cremation will be a better financial decision while still honoring your loved one. The funeral director can help you make all of these arrangements.
The most cost-effective type of cremation is direct cremation. Direct cremation is when a deceased person is brought to a funeral home to be cremated right away. You do not need to pay for embalming or other body preparations. There is no funeral or service of any kind before the cremation, and then the ashes are handed over to their loved ones. The cremation is also usually performed quickly after death and inside a combustible container.
The cost of a direct cremation is usually between $800 to $3000. The price will typically include a funeral home transporting the body, the container used in the cremation, and the cremation itself. Speak with your funeral director to learn your options for cremation vs. burial.
A home funeral is precisely that, a funeral at home. It is legal in most states to keep a deceased body in your home until it is time for the cremation or burial. This means that the family is in charge of all after-death care. A great benefit of a home funeral is that it will allow more time for friends and loved ones to sit and visit with the deceased. It also allows more time to grieve, giving the family and friends more control over decisions made with the body. Doing a home funeral instead of working with a funeral home will save thousands of dollars.
Donating Your Body
A great way to save money on a memorial funeral service is to consider donating your body. With body donation, the organization that accepts the body will handle most costs. Not only will it save a lot of money, but your loved one will go on to help with medical research or even save the lives of other people.
There are several ways to donate your body to science at no direct cost for your loved ones. Some of the different types of donation include:
- Organ donation - the deceased’s body can be cremated at no cost after organ donation is made.
- Medical education - medical students can use a donated body to practice surgical skills and learn more about organs and the body’s makeup.
- Body farm donation - this is where the body is put in different elements (weather, heat, cold, etc.) for educational purposes to study the decomposition of the body.
- Research companies - instead of donating your body to a medical school, you could plan to donate your body to a research company that will use it in a nonmedical way. An example is to test what happens to a body in a car crash for a car company.
- Organizations for medical research - if your loved one has died of a specific illness, there are organizations out there that will want to run tests on their body to aid in finding a cure for that illness.
Some extra forms and regulations go along with donating your body, but each organization mostly covers the costs. Most of the time, the body will need to be donated immediately, which means there will be no time for a viewing or traditional funeral. In some cases, a cremation service will be provided after the body is used for research, and then their ashes will be sent to their loved ones. This can save tremendously on costs.
When a loved one dies, we can be filled with sadness and unsure of the next step. We are often at the mercy of what others tell us to do, and it is sometimes easier to just go with that instead of looking around. Suppose you can shop around and see the prices at different funeral homes, casket companies, flower arrangements, and locations for a memorial. In that case, you can potentially save yourself a significant amount of money.
Take the time to look around before deciding on the first business that you see. There are programs and grants out there, too, if you cannot afford a funeral. You do not need to agree to anything until you feel comfortable and ready. The funeral cost is a large expense. You have the time to make the best decision financially for yourself and your family.
Most funerals consist of two parts, a viewing and a memorial service. If you are looking to save some money on a funeral, you can do so for the memorial service. You do not need to hold the funeral in the funeral home. There are churches and other locations that will let you use the facility for free. You can even consider doing a virtual funeral. Be sure to look around at all of your options before selecting a location.
There are additional costs the more you add to a memorial service. The loved ones coming to the service pay respects and honor the person’s life that has passed away; they will not care about the extra expenses. There are funeral flowers, programs, printed pictures, rental cars to take you to the cemetery, and a luncheon for friends and family. All of these things can be eliminated to save on costs. You may also request donations in lieu of flowers to help with funeral expenses.
When you are buried in a cemetery, there is usually a way to mark the grave to identify the burial plot. There are several different options you can choose from to mark the burial plot. There are large headstones that sit upright, nameplates, flat headstones that are flush with the ground, benches that can be engraved and sit on the burial plot, and large monuments that can be erected as well. The great thing is, you do not need to decide right away. If the funeral home or cemetery asks you to decide right away, you can let them know that you are not ready just yet. You can use a small nameplate until you are prepared to purchase a headstone. And even when you are ready, there is a large selection of sizes and materials to choose from that will help alleviate the cost. If you want to make payments on the headstone, ask about payment plans. Most monument companies will offer installments instead of a large upfront cost.
Paying for Funeral Expenses
Be sure to check and see if your loved one has any type of savings or insurance that can be used to pay for the funeral expenses. Life insurance and burial insurance will help cover many of the costs associated with planning a funeral or memorial.
Every bit will help when it comes to paying for a funeral. Be sure to check all of their assets to see if there is anything to help pay. If a savings account is set aside for funeral expenses, obtain access to that to pay for the services.
If you have the opportunity to speak with a loved one nearing death to help prepare their funeral arrangements, then take the time to do so. Whether you are using a funeral home, picking out a casket, or discussing the plans for the burial, there are ways to save on funeral expenses.