Funeral Costs: Frequently Asked Questions
There are many elements to consider, and you will find pricing presented in many different ways. If you have a question not listed below and 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 by the National Funeral Directors Association showed that the median cost of a traditional funeral and burial is over $9,000. A traditional funeral includes a viewing. These costs do not include cemetery costs. 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, an honorarium is typically paid to the officiating clergy. Other extra costs include the cost of a newspaper obituary, death certificates, and perhaps flowers. Considering all these costs, a traditional funeral with a burial can easily cost as much as $15,000. Of course, the exact price will depend on the funeral home and cemetery you choose, what you include in your service, and the price of the merchandise you select. Learn more on our funeral cost page.
One of the ways you can reduce the funeral cost is to limit items such as 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 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. The absolute cheapest funeral is a direct burial or direct cremation, which includes no ceremonies. You can request our Guide to an Affordable Funeral for tips on reducing funeral costs.
>>Read “10 Tips For Having a Cheap Funeral”
The most recent price survey by the National Funeral Directors Association showed that the median cost of a traditional funeral and cremation is approximately $7,000. A traditional funeral includes a viewing. Many people do not realize you can have a traditional funeral and visitation followed by a cremation. Cremation caskets and rental caskets are available for traditional funerals before cremation. More commonly, people choose to have a memorial service after the cremation, which can cost between $4,000 to $6,000. There are many options for where to hold a memorial service that can reduce costs. A direct cremation (no funeral service) can cost as little as $1,000. The body is delivered to the crematory with a direct cremation, and the remains are returned to the family. Visit our cremation pages to learn more.
Caskets come in a wide range of materials and designs. A good 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.
Cremation can be much more economical than in-ground burial. A traditional funeral with burial costs upwards of $10,000, and cremation with a memorial service can cost thousands less. However, deciding whether to be cremated is very personal and depends on your faith, traditions, and other factors. For more information, visit our Cremation pages to help you decide what is right for you.
Finding the money to pay for a funeral can be difficult if the deceased and their 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.