Tips and ideas on organizing cheap funerals
Let’s face it money is tight for many these days and although it’s unbelievably heartbreaking sad when someone passes away cheap funeral arrangements are not a disrespect if the money is simply is not there or you have debts that need your attention. Getting in debt even more toppled with bereavement could push many of us over the edge!
I think it’s important to budget, be realistic and sensible in all aspects of finance and the last thing your dead loved one would want is for you to go into debt or financial worry at the expense of their burial. The funeral business has been pretty much untouched for many many years now as it’s a sensitive subject but people are waking up and not just going to the funeral home and footing their package bills. Shop savvy mourners are making a stand and you can too.
I think funeral homes deserve to earn good profits and money for the awesome job they do but with some items like caskets being marked up as much as 500% it’s just not fair to the consumer. Death is a terribly expensive business.
Cheap Funeral Arrangements
The traditional way to run a funeral is designed to drain money and be overly extravagant. It’s sad that so many people have to wait to their death to experience the most extravagant event of their life!
Seriously though skipping the expensive mourning rooms in the funeral home, the large gothic church service and opting for a more personal touch are far more appealing to me and often much cheaper. A favorite bar, sports club, park or any area of the deceased is an absolute perfect venue. I know many older people who would be happy to have mourners remember their life standing in their prized gardens! Even if religious it’s no shame to cut down the church (or other religious ceremony) time down to a short and respectful affair.
My own personal funeral I hope will be as minimal as possible but still allow people to feel they have remembered my memory with dignity and respect. I expect to have very few flowers, simple music requirements and no religious ceremony unless really pushed by the organizers. I will likely get cremated and have my ashes spread somewhere.
Arranging a funeral can run up expenses in all areas and just getting some help and some internet capable friends to help you get everything together could help streamline the whole process and still make the perfect but affordable day.
Cheap Funeral Home
The funeral homes have you locked in often from the minute you walk in. They are experts in comforting but also expert salesmen with pre arranged and overpriced packages designed to take all worry and all money away from you. The guilt of choosing the bronze package may make you opt for gold and you will get to enjoy no real organisational worry but may end up paying 100’s of % mark up on every item. Your friends and loved ones will be more than willing to help you organise so you can use the funeral home purely for the things they need to do.
Also you need to shop around. The funeral business is experiencing the financial crisis like anyone else and this means competitive pricing is starting to happen. Like car insurance it pays to get together what you need and literally contact / visit every home within your area to attain the best value for your dollar. If you even mention you are doing this they may be even more keen to give you a much lower price. Remember their services are heavily marked up so they can afford to offer big discounts.
Cheap Funeral Casket
The casket is often the biggest cost. As mentioned in the intro it’s not uncommon for funeral homes to mark up the cost of caskets 500%. The lesson here is do not buy your casket from the funeral home! Caskets can be purchased direct from manufacturer, local wood workers and even some larger box stores such as Costco. As far as I know the cheapest caskets can be found online.
Buy Caskets Online
This deserves it’s own section because if you really want to save cash on a funeral casket then buying online is the way forward. It makes perfect sense to buy from source or even an importer. A good friend of mine makes a good living from importing beautiful caskets from China and selling them on in USA for much less than a casket costs from a USA funeral home.
Where I am from in England closed casket is normal and the expensive embalming process is not normally done. In USA though it’s still very common and this process could rack up $600 or more. Consider skipping this and going closed casket to save. Closed casket really makes no difference in my opinion. It’s nice to see your loved one one last time but I never felt like it was really them when they are all made up like a porcelain doll!
In USA a lot of focus in on burial but cremation is gaining in popularity and is much much cheaper. The average funeral with a casket can run up to around $7000-8000 but a basic cremation can be had for around $1000-2000, a significant saving. Some problems with cremation may arise from wanting your loved ones exact ashes as often you may get other ashes mixed in the pot but you can opt for a more expensive (but still cheaper) clean cremation.
What to do with the ashes after is up to you. A cremation and releasing of the ashes can be an ultimate respectful way to let someone die gracefully. People I know recently took one of their friends ashes up in a plane and released them on a skydive. He was a skydiver and he would have loved this more than any other way.
Ashed could be buried, kept in an urn in a small funeral spot or kept at home as well as distributed wherever appropriate. In a fave river, the ocean or onto a flower bed.
I think I will opt to be cremated for budgetary and space reasons. I think it’s a responsible choice.
Cheap Funeral Wreaths and Flowers
Wreaths and flowers for funerals are expensive because like weddings the word funeral is equivalent of the word ‘kerching’ for florists!
You can save a lot of cash by not ordering flowers specific for a funeral and ordering them un-arranged. Your friends and family or any amateur flower arrangers you know will likely be more than ready to help.
You could also get a lot of the flowers from your or friends gardens and even hire a professional arranger to get them into professional looking shape.
Saving on tombstones or memorial plaques
The tombstone is expensive because it’s a piece of hand made art. However like all other funeral items it could pay to go to the source and skip the funeral home. Think about buying the stone yourself from a stone yard and then delivering it to the mason who can shape and inscribe the block. They may be able to also supply the stone themselves at a big discount.
Also consider well treated wood stones and plaques and make sure your look online for services and craftsmen.
Funeral Cheap Airfare
Sadly people die far from home at times or you have to travel back to mourn somebody. Transporting a body will never be cheap but it’s like any time you fly with cargo (sorry to sound disrespectful here). You have to ring around and check with all companies, checking times and dates that work well with the arrangements but also keep the budget on track.
For your own flight it’s worth looking at all online sites such as Kayak.com and Expedia.com and also direct with the airlines. Travel agents often mark things up. It’s worth checking with them but I always get the best flight deals online.
Lastly you could avoid a lot of grief for your family by prepaying your own funeral. The catch here is they are not cheap at all to buy as packages. But they can be paid over time or paid in partial balance.
However the other option is to leave very detailed instructions to your budget funeral and pre-pay the important parts. You can pre-buy a casket or pay for your cremation. Arrange with your favorite venue for the wake (not too far in advance, they may close down!), specify a public space that is allowed and give arrangements for ash spreading. Flowers could be purchased in advance or at least gift cards can be stored with your will (assuming they don’t run out). I will likely look at doing this within my older years.
Other cheap funeral ideas
- Having a ton of guests is always expensive for you and for them also. The internet is an amazing place and you could consider setting up a memorial blog with life pictures and opportunity for many people to comment and tell their stories. This really would stop some people who can’t make it without big hassle feeling so bad and also give a place for a legacy to live on.
- You could go for a private burial and very very small quick ceremony and then only make the wake open to a wider public.
- If your loved one dies abroad it could be worth having them cremated before transportation of their remains. You could carry them yourself or even send them via courier.
What do you think about cheap funerals is it a disrespect to be a spendthrift in such times?
Do you think this is all a big cheap skate waste of an article? Is it offensive and disrespectful to scrimp on a funeral? I would love your thoughts and comments as always.
Thanks for reading.