Cost Cutting Funeral Tips
There’s no way around it – funeral planning can be expensive. No one wants to cut corners on the burial arrangements for their loved ones, and it can be hard to think through the cost of a funeral and stay frugal during the grief process. It is important to know, however, that with respect and proper funeral etiquette.
One way to cut costs while funeral planning is to go with a prepaid funeral plan. A pre need funeral allows you to pay for the services in advance. Not only do you choose what you want and what you don’t, but you pay today’s costs for burial arrangements that may not be needed for years or even decades in the future. If you choose a prepaid funeral plan, be sure the money is held in trust so that it is still available if the funeral home or cemetery ever experiences financial difficulties.
Adding burial arrangements to your estate planning can also reduce costs. Many funeral homes will offer packages with all of the final arrangements made for you. Be sure to ask the funeral home for an itemized price list of what you are being offered. Legally, they have to provide it, and a reputable business will be happy to do so. You cannot be forced to purchase an entire package when planning for a funeral. You can pick and choose what you want, and customize the funeral plan to your needs.
After a loved one dies, purchasing a casket directly from the funeral home is one common source of overpaying for burial arrangements. These caskets are often marked up many times above the actual cost. Fortunately, there are many funeral planning businesses where you can purchase caskets for a much lower price point. Funeral home cemeteries cannot refuse the casket you provide, and purchasing elsewhere can save thousands of dollars. Beware of expensive seals and details on the casket. These will be buried where no one will see them, and nothing can prevent the natural processes that occur after burial.
Embalming is another costly service that may not be necessary. While local laws vary, embalming isn’t usually required. Depending on if there is a viewing or when the viewing is held, choosing not to embalm may significantly reduce the costs of planning a funeral. Embalming doesn’t prevent deterioration long term, and isn’t always necessary.
Perhaps the most significant cost cutting tip for funeral planning is to choose cremation instead of burial arrangements. If you will have a viewing, caskets can often be rented for this service. For the cremation itself, there are specially made cardboard options that will be cremated along with the deceased. For many people, there is no real reason to purchase an expensive casket while planning a funeral only to have it burned to ashes.
Funeral planning can be expensive, but there are cost cutting tips that can make burial arrangements fit a budget while still offering proper respect to the deceased. Be sure to ask questions, get an itemized funeral checklist, and research all of your options to be sure you aren’t paying too much. And always remember that paying less doesn’t reduce the amount of love and respect you feel for the bereaved. Oftentimes, planning a less expensive funeral and contributing a portion of the savings to the deceased’s favorite charity is the best way to honor those you love.