Funeral Costs: Frequently Asked Questions
There are many elements to consider and pricing is presented in many different ways. If you have a question that is not listed below and you haven’t found an answer on our funeral costs page, please let us know. We’ll try to help however we can.
Funeral Costs: Frequently Asked Questions
The most recent price survey done by the National Funeral Directors Association showed that the average funeral today costs about $9,000, not including cemetery costs. Of course, the exact price will depend on what you include in your service and the price of the merchandise that you select.
One of the key ways that people reduce the cost of the funeral is to limit items such as the visitation. For example, you may be able to pay less if you have a brief visitation on the day of the funeral rather than holding it the day before. You can also reduce the cost by selecting a less expensive casket and burial vault. We estimate that for a no-frills traditional funeral with the casket present, you may be able to get your cost down to around $6,000 to $7,000. A memorial service or graveside service can be arranged for $5,000 to $6,000. You can reduce your costs further by choosing cremation over burial. Keep in mind that these costs exclude cemetery costs.
A direct cremation (no funeral service) can cost as little as $1,000. To keep costs low, you can hold a memorial service after the cremation. If you would like to have a funeral with the casket present, you can expect to add $3,000 to $6,000 to the cost.
We consider a basic cremation to be a “direct cremation.” With direct cremation, the body is delivered to the crematory and the remains are returned to the family. There is no service. In many areas, a direct cremation can cost as little as $1,000. Visit our Cremation page for more information.
Caskets come in a wide range of materials and designs. A typical quality casket would be somewhere between $3,000 to $4,000. If you are buying through a funeral home, you may be able to purchase a basic casket for about $1,500. If you shop online, you may be able to find one for even less. At the high end, you can easily spend $10,000 or more. For more information on casket prices and quality, visit our Caskets page.
A typical burial plot will probably cost between $1,000 to $3,000. The actual cost depends on where you live, how many cemeteries are in your area, and what part of the cemetery you choose. For example, a prime space at the top of a hill overlooking a valley may be more expensive than a flat space in a memorial garden. Interment in a mausoleum crypt can easily cost $2,000 to $3,000 more than a burial plot.
How to get a cheap funeral is an interesting question. With so many elements that go into funeral pricing, it’s hard to say. An average funeral costs between $7,000 to $10,000 but that includes a visitation and some other elements that you may be able to eliminate. One way to keep cost low is to select direct cremation and then have a memorial service instead of having the casket present at the ceremony. We suggest that you request our Guide to an Affordable Funeral to get tips on how to reduce funeral costs.
Average funeral costs usually don’t include the cost of the burial plot and other cemetery services. The average cost of a funeral will be between $7,000 to $10,000. A typical burial plot will be between $1,000 to $3,000 and the cemetery interment could cost $1,000 to $2,000. A simple grave marker and installation could easily cost another $1,000. In addition, there is typically an honorarium paid to the officiating clergy. Other extra costs include the cost of a newspaper obituary, death certificates, and perhaps flowers.
Cremation can be much more economical than in-ground burial. A traditional funeral with burial will cost upwards of $10,000, cremation with a memorial service can be thousands less. However, the decision of whether or not to be cremated is very personal and depends on your faith, traditions, and other factors. For more information to help you decide what is right for you, visit our Cremation pages.
Finding the money to pay for a funeral can be difficult if the deceased and his or her family have not planned ahead. There are places you can get help. Some states and local municipalities have programs to help defray costs and many financial tools can be used. Visit our Paying for a Funeral page for more information.