How much should you spend on a coffin or casket? 

Funeral Planning3 Comments

The choice of a coffin is a difficult choice which has to be made under the most distressing circumstances. Often cost is not considered as a significant aspect in the whole funeral process, because the family is overwhelmed, vulnerable and grieving.  Typically a family is making the decision of which coffin to buy at the worst possible moment.  For this reason people readily spend $2,500 or more on a coffin offered at the funeral home when there are many online sites where you can buy the exact same coffin for less than $1,000. While deciding how much to spend on a coffin, a few factors must be considered.

The first aspect to be considered during the expenditure is that of design. One can look back at the life of the deceased and choose a preference for the design. This may inculcate a specific color, or pattern on the coffin. While many go without the option of customization, it is always advisable to add an element of personality to the coffin of the deceased.  For instance, if the deceased was a sports fan, one can have it customized with their favorite team logo.  Designs are available to fit everyone’s personality and lifestyle, for the eco-conscious people who are choosing to have a Green Burial one can find coffins made of 100% environmentally friendly materials such as 90% recycled rigid honeycomb cardboard or 100% natural seagrass.

As we discussed above, the circumstances under which the coffin is bought are very delicate. Evaluating finances at such a sensitive moment could appear to be crass and cold. However, one must take into account the other relevant facts. The deceased would certainly not want you to end up in a financial debt after purchasing an expensive coffin. Unlike what many would say, the choice of the coffin does not describe your love and affection. Money, a precious entity, must be spent on the welfare of others. For instance, instead of falling for an expensive coffin, you could simply honor their memory and make a charitable donation in their name.

However, if you intend to spend a substantial amount of money on the coffin, make sure you have the quality of wood evaluated. You could get in touch with the Better Business Bureau to obtain information about the organization which is delivering you the coffin.  Furthermore, if a funeral home refuses your “third party casket” contact the Funeral Consumers’ Alliance and the National Funeral Director’s Association consumer affairs department for prompt assistance.

We understand the passing away of a loved one can be heavy on the heart, and therefore, our objective is to make sure that you aren’t taken advantage of while purchasing something that forms an essential part of the memorial service. Spending on a coffin is indeed a personal choice, but when coupled with factors, it transforms into an inspired and intelligent decision.

For Instance, when my father-in-law passed away, my husband and mother-in law had to make the difficult choice of selecting a coffin at the funeral home. The least expensive coffin was at $800, the next one went up to $4000, and after that the prices soared to over $10,000. Although my father-in-law would probably have chosen the lesser option for himself, my husband didn’t want to buy his father the “cheapest” coffin as it didn’t feel right to him.  In this situation, even though my in-laws are financially sound, spending several thousands of dollars was definitely not an option as my father-in-law always lived a simple and selfless life, and he would have not agreed to such a lavish expense.  After the fact, out of curiosity my husband did minimal research, and with prior arrangements could have purchased the same coffin for half the price on-line, at Walmart.

In general, it is always best to pre-plan for your passing.  All of us should make our last wishes known to our family and loved ones before we pass.  This will alleviate the burden and stress of making difficult decisions in a time of great sorrow.  Therefore, we should all take a few moments to think about what casket we would want, and what price range we would be comfortable with to ensure your family and loved ones are aware of your choice.  This can be done by simply writing your choice into your will or utilizing great on-line tools such as which help you and your family manage all aspects of your passing.


  1. Thanks for the tip to have the quality of the wood evaluated. We don’t mind spending money on my grandmother’s casket, but I do see how my Mom would want to make sure she was getting a quality product. Is the wood evaluation just so people can make sure that they are getting their money’s worth or are there safety reasons too?

    1. Hi Tara,

      Sorry for the late response. It is typically a matter of value. Unfortunately, the industry is rife with opportunists who find it easy to take advantage of people at a time when people are most vulnerable. There are a lot of really good funeral homes and casket manufacturers out there, but not many people are educated on what to look for. For example, some casket descriptions make it sound like the casket is solid wood when, in fact, it could be plywood or particle board with a hardwood veneer. There is nothing wrong with those types of caskets but they should be much less expensive than a solid wood casket. Having the wood evaluated can help ensure you are getting what you pay for.

  2. I want to make sure that I’m ready for my funeral. It makes sense that I would need to get a good coffin! It’s interesting that there are so many different options. I’ll have to see if I can find one that encompasses who I am.

Leave a Comment

1 + 9 =