Nobody wants to be guilty of skimping on a funeral for a loved one. Yet as the cost of funerals continue to rise, paying funeral expenses has become difficult for some people to afford. If you have to plan a funeral on a budget, read on. This article will present four ways to save on funeral costs—without sacrificing the dignity of those you love.
1. Decline the option to embalm.
Contrary to many peoples' understanding, embalming is neither legally required nor even necessary, in cases when burial take place within 48 hours. Instead, be sure to inquire about whether refrigeration is an option at your funeral parlor. This simple measure could end up saving you between 300 and 1,000 dollars.
2. Handle the "extras" yourself.
Most funeral homes, as you may or may not already know, offer a wide array of "extra" services. These generally come as part of more expensive funeral packages—those designed to "handle everything" for you. Yet you can save a significant amount of money by attending yourself to details like:
- memorial cards
- funeral service programs
- thank you notes
If you feel unable to handle such things yourself, don't hesitate to ask another family member of close friend to help make such arrangements. Though you may hesitate to impose on them, chances are they'll be more than happy to be of assistance in your time of need.
3. Consider cremation.
Depending on the last wishes of your loved one, cremation may be an option than can help reduce your funeral costs immensely. In fact, compared to traditional casket funerals, cremation can reduce expenses by as much as 75%.
Many people who opt for cremation still choose to have a sealed casket on display at the viewing. This not only prevents people asking intrusive questions, but it may also help to appease family members who would not otherwise approve of cremation.
4. Purchase the casket on your own.
If your family is set on having a traditional casket funeral, you can usually purchase a casket much more inexpensively on your own, than when you buy one from the funeral home. Consider looking online, where even "luxury" caskets can often be found for less than a funeral home's most basic model.
In order to increase their profits, many funeral homes will do their best to dissuade you from buying your own casket. Legally, however, most states don't have any sort of legislation requiring that a casket be purchased from a mortician or funeral home. Furthermore, in many states it is against the law for a funeral home to attempt to charge a "handling fee."
Planning a funeral is a sad and trying event, even when money isn't an issue. For those who must plan their funeral expenses on a budget, things can get even harder. Luckily, there are still certain ways to reduce the financial burden without compromising your loving intentions.