It’s not necessarily a pleasant thing to think about, planning a loved one’s funeral, but chances are at some point in your life you will have to be part of the planning process of a loved one’s funeral.
According to Funeralwise.com’s quick plan calculator funeral costs can range from $355 (donating the body to science with no services) to $14,000 (traditional burial with a public viewing and traditional services). That’s a huge range. So, how can you make sure that during probably one of the roughest times in your life that you are making the smartest financial decisions for your family and your loved one’s funeral plans?
1. Make pre-arrangements to avoid the overspending.
Many times loved ones spend more than what they can or what they would normally spend due to guilt or the need to show the world how much they loved the deceased. Pre-planning with your loved ones can help you avoid making irrational decisions during a time in which you may not be thinking so clearly. However, keep in mind this is pre-planning and not necessarily pre-paying. Sometimes it is not the wisest decision to pre-pay with funeral homes as they may not be in business when you finally pass on. If you do wish to financially prepare so that those you leave behind won’t be burdoned with the expense of your funeral, instead set up a separate savings account.
2. Do your research regarding caskets.
Caskets can cost you a pretty penny if you are not careful about their purchase. And probably the best way to save money on caskets is to not buy them at the funeral home. Walmart, Costco, and many other online retailers sell caskets at discounted rates, and funeral homes have to accept these caskets. To make it easier for you they might even offer to price match the discounted rate that you find online. Also, if you are opting for cremation, but still would like a viewing of the body you have the option to rent a casket or purchase a much cheaper casket that is meant for cremation.
3. Avoid the unnecessary extras.
There are many items that funeral homes try to sell you that are absolutely unnecessary. For example grave liners and vaults are not state or federally mandated, do not prevent decomposition, and are a completely unnecessary expense. And did you know that embalming is not federally mandated and most states do not require it unless the burial is extended past a certain amount of time or a body has to be transported across state lines by plane? Also, no embalming may happen unless you give permission to have your loved one embalmed. Question each and every expense with your funeral planner to make sure they are not selling you nice to haves vs. must haves.
Funeral planning can be an overwhelming proposition during your time of grief, but the pain of losing a loved one does not have to be compounded by the pain of overspending to honor a loved one. Take the time to do your research ahead of time so that you can be more prepared for what might happen in the future.
What other ways can you save money on funerals?