Is Cremation Really Cheaper than Traditional Burial?

Comparing the Cost of Funerals Vs. Cremation Over Time

There is a prevailing notion today that when it comes to what to do with a loved one’s remains after they pass away, that cremation is cheaper than a traditional funeral, with its casket, burial plot, preparations for viewing the body, and so forth. But where does this idea come from, and is it true?

According to the National Funeral Director’s Association (NFDA), the median cost of a traditional funeral and burial is currently more than $8000, while the median cost of a cremation is just over $2200 at the low end and almost $5500 when you add in a casketed funeral with a viewing.

Traditional funeral costs have risen steadily and dramatically over the last 50 years, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In 1960 a fairly nice but standard funeral, including a casket, viewing and burial plot, came to $708. In 20 years that total had more than doubled to over $1800 in 1980. But over the next 20 years, by 2000, that total almost tripled. So costs are not only rising, they are rising faster and faster. It is not inconceivable that by 2020, the average traditional funeral could cost upwards of $10,000.




Cremation costs are typically lower than traditional burial costs

With that huge number looming on the horizon, it’s no wonder that more and more people are looking for alternatives. The NFDA projects that by 2020, more than half of Americans (55%) will choose cremation as their means of handling the remains of loved ones, and that by 2030, that rate will explode to 70%.

While there is no shortage of add-ons and extras that a family can choose to tack onto a memorial service to honor a loved one, cremation has over the years proven to be a more affordable option. Besides being less expensive in the first place, cremation costs seem to be rising much more slowly than traditional funeral costs. In 2000, the average cost of a cremation (according to the 2001 NFDA price list survey) was about $1400. By 2010 it had only risen to $1650, an increase of 16% over ten years, while traditional funeral costs went up by 30% over that same period.

Cremation as a beautiful option for honoring your loved one.

You can present a dignified celebration of your own or a loved one’s life, without exposing yourself to the financial strain imposed by expensive traditional burials. Even if you select a wooden urn, crafted from exotic woods, a unique, decorative ceramic urn, or an earth-friendly biodegradable urn, chances are you will still be able to keep the total cost of the burial under control.

  • You can still include a viewing prior to the cremation if you choose, although this will add casket rental and embalming costs to the total price.
  • You may also choose to have the urn containing the cremated remains interred at the cemetery for family and friends to visit and pay their respects for years to come. As with a burial plot, the space is not free, and you will pay a fee to the owner of the columbarium.

Direct Cremation – A Beautiful Ceremony on a Budget

For those who are truly in need of a budget burial, direct cremation may be the best option. In this case, your loved one’s body would be taken directly from the place of death or the morgue to the crematorium, where the cremation takes place. There is typically no formal viewing or ceremony, the body is not embalmed, and no hair care or makeup is necessary. You may not need to purchase a casket, as an “alternative container,” for the process should be offered.

With the purchase of a beautiful and affordable metal urn, and a dignified ceremony at the home of the deceased or a family member, direct cremation is a way for your family to honor the deceased even when finances are tight.

Please browse our blog to explore creative ideas about presenting a beautiful memorial regardless of your budget, and feel free to reach out to us at 877-659-2305 with your questions at any time.

One Response to “Is Cremation Really Cheaper than Traditional Burial?”

  1. From Gregory Willard

    I think it’s interesting that more than half of Americans will choose cremation. My grandpa was given a traditional burial, but was considering doing cremation. I think that cremation is a very interesting way of doing a funeral. Thanks for the information.

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