Planning a Funeral: 5 Ways to Reduce Costs

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Planning a funeral can be a difficult and stressful process without the added concern of expenses. With the average cost of a funeral totaling over $6,000 and funeral expenses increasing every year, many families have difficulty paying for services after a loved one has passed. Here are 5 ways to reduce costs when planning a funeral.

1. Research Several Funeral Homes
Most funeral homes offer similar services, but prices can vary greatly. Call a few funeral directors and ask for a complete estimate, also called a General Price List. Use this information to determine which funeral home is best for your budget.

2. Purchase Your Casket Elsewhere
One of the largest funeral expenses is the cost of the casket, which can range from under $1,000 to over $20,000. Search online for a model within your budget and then ask your funeral director if they carry it. Funeral directors are required by law to accept caskets purchased outside of their offerings. Plan ahead, and if they can’t match the online price you found, purchase the casket elsewhere.

3. Stick to the Plan
Think about what was important to your loved one and don’t feel the need to add frills or special services to the funeral services. While your funeral director may recommend a white dove release or a musical trio, don’t feel pressured to include additional services. These can quickly derail your funeral plan and increase costs.

4. Embalming is Optional
Many people think embalming, or preserving the body with chemicals, is necessary, but that is not always the case. Embalming is encouraged if you hold a public viewing but, if you plan your funeral service within 24 or 48 hours it is not required. Talk to your funeral director about other options that may be available.

5. Consider Green Practices
More and more individuals are planning green, or eco-friendly funeral arrangements. This can mean forgoing traditional headstones in favor of engraved stones, or trees as markers. Some funeral services even offer simple wooden caskets that appeal to individuals trying minimize their environmental impact.

It’s important to remember that you have options when planning a funeral, and to focus on creating a service that your loved one would have wanted. Asking friends and family to help not only helps cut costs, but also creates a more personal and meaningful funeral or memorial service.

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