10 Tips For Having A Cheap Funeral

Lots of people look for ways to have a cheap funeral. It’s not that they don’t care about the funeral, they just can’t afford today’s funeral costs (see how much a funeral costs). Fortunately, with some pre-planning and a little creativity, you can have a nice end-of-life send-off without breaking the bank. In other words, you can have a cheap funeral that doesn’t look cheap!

Change How You Think About Funerals

We generally think of a funeral as one event but there are really two elements to consider. First, there’s the care of the deceased, and second, the funeral ceremony.  There are ways to manage the costs of each element. If you want to keep costs down, you’ll have to decide what’s most important to you and make some choices.

Here are our top 10 tips for having a cheap funeral without having it look cheap. Remember, the purpose is to honor the deceased and offer support to those grieving the loss. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do that!

How much you spend on a funeral does not necessarily reflect on how you feel about the deceased or how meaningful the ceremony is. You can have a cheap funeral that is a beautiful tribute to the deceased. The important thing is that the ceremony reflects the life of the person who is no longer with you and offers those grieving the chance to gather with others to share their mourning.

Don’t like slideshows? Here’s the full cheap funerals list.

10 Tips for Having a Cheap Funeral That Doesn’t Look Cheap

  1. Plan Ahead
    The number one way you can save money on a funeral is by planning ahead. When you decide what you want in advance, you avoid making emotional purchases, and you have time to consider what is important to you. After all, do you really need those solid gold casket handles or that top-of-the-line exotic wood? You might, but chances are, you can get by with something a little more modest. Of course, it’s not always possible to make arrangements in advance, but we highly recommend it if you can.

    >>Learn more about the Funeralwise Wise Planning System
  2. Set a Budget
    Reducing your costs means making choices and, to do that, you need to have a top-line number in mind. Deciding how much you can afford to spend before you start shopping can help avoid emotional decisions or buying extras that you don’t need. If you are working with a funeral director, a budget figure will help them present you with options in your price range. They might have funeral packages that meet your needs and will save you money. Remember, having an inexpensive funeral doesn’t mean you don’t care about the person you are honoring. No one is keeping score.
  3. Shop Around
    Shopping around goes hand in hand with planning. You’ll have more time to consider what you are buying, and you’ll have enough information to know if the items you are quoted are in line with market prices. After all, you are making a big-budget purchase. It helps to gather as much information as you can so you can make an informed decision. Would you consider buying a car or making another significant purchase without having prices to compare? The same applies here.
  4. Choose Funeral Services Wisely
    Various funeral home costs are based on the number of hours of service. For example, they have extra charges for weekends and overtime. You can adjust the schedule to avoid these costs. Also, you can save money by holding a visitation immediately preceding the funeral and reducing the number of days or hours for the viewing. Do you need to have a procession to the cemetery and additional services once you are there? Graveside-only services can reduce costs. You might limit certain services to immediate family to limit the hourly costs. For example, will you have a reception or a luncheon? If so, does it need to be catered, or can family and friends help out? Funeral ceremonies do not have to be elaborate to be meaningful.

    >>See our How-to Guide for Making Funeral Arrangements
  5. Scale Back on Funeral Products
    There is a wide range of choices for caskets, burial vaults, and cremation urns. There are also a variety of places where you can purchase funeral products. You can save thousands of dollars by choosing wisely. Do you really need the top-of-the-line casket or vault? There may be less expensive options that are suitable for the intended purpose. If you plan to scatter the ashes, you may not need to purchase an urn, and there are containers designed specifically for scattering. If you will display the urn or would prefer a more permanent container, there are many beautiful options available in every price range.

    >>See our guide to Buying Funeral and Memorial Products.
  6. Hold Your Own Ceremony
    We often think of funerals and memorial services as being held at a funeral home or church, but you can have a ceremony just about anywhere. A family home, a park, or another favorite location may be perfectly appropriate and can be a great alternative if you are trying to have an inexpensive funeral. An added advantage of taking care of the ceremony on your own is that you can include other family members in making the arrangements. Remember that personalization can make for a truly memorable celebration.

    >>Learn more about Celebrations of Life
  7. Consider Cremation Over Burial
    Cremation isn’t for everyone, but it is worth considering if you are comfortable with the process and it is compatible with your family traditions and religious beliefs. Cremation is almost always less expensive than burial. Part of that is because you don’t need to buy a plot, and unless you plan to have a viewing, you won’t need to pay for embalming.
  8. Consider Direct Cremation or Burial
    Direct cremation means having the body delivered directly to the crematorium and then having the remains returned to the loved ones. Direct burial means the body is sent directly to the cemetery. Choosing direct cremation or burial does not mean you can’t have a ceremony. You can hold a memorial service at any time. Direct burial or cremation can be an excellent option since it can save you money by avoiding some of the costs that go along with traditional cremation or burial.
  9. Donate Your Body to Science
    When a body is donated to science, you incur no costs. Under most programs, the body is cremated, and the remains are sent back to the family once the research is complete. Remember that donation to science must be arranged well ahead of death since not all people qualify for donation programs.

    >>Learn more about donating your body to science.
  10. Take Advantage of All the Benefits To Which You Are Entitled
    The Veteran’s Administration, Social Security, fraternal organizations, and other groups may provide death benefits to which the deceased is entitled. Check the deceased’s files, military records, and work history to see if there are benefits you can claim.

How Much Will Your Funeral Cost? Try Our QuickPlan to Find Out.