Someone you love passing away can be devastating. Apart from the grief, the average family in the US will pay thousands of dollars to make even basic arrangements. What’s more, it’s often more than they’re expecting. Tulip Cremation has recently found that the majority of 55-64 year olds (the generation most likely to be making arrangements in the near future) expect a cremation to cost under $1,500. In fact, the average family in America will pay $2,200.
For many families in the US that amount of money is unaffordable. Below are some tips on how to save money during one of the hardest times in your life.
Consider direct cremation: direct cremation is the simplest form of cremation and doesn’t include a witness or a service beforehand. It’s also the fastest growing choice for American families, because it’s both more affordable and simpler to arrange. Direct cremation will often cost hundreds, rather than thousands, of dollars.
Arrange as little as possible through a funeral home: a traditional funeral home will be able to arrange everything for you. However, the cost is often much higher than if you make the arrangements yourself. Consider online funeral homes – they have lower costs because they don’t need to pay to maintain an expensive building.
Think about an alternative memorial service: if you arrange through a church or funeral home, a service will be one of your highest costs. Think about alternatives that you can arrange yourself: a picnic, a walk or a dinner party can all be special and a fraction of the price. Here are six ideas for memorial ceremonies to help you create one more lasting memory about your loved one.
Buy an urn online: urns are another area where you can save money by shopping online. You’re likely find a broader selection and a lower price than if you buy through your funeral home direct.
Make sure you compare like for like: be careful when you’re comparing the cost of a cremation between funeral homes – prices advertised online aren’t always what they seem. For a direct cremation, you should make sure that the quote you get includes:
- Collection of your loved one
- Filing of paperwork and permits
- The cremation container
- Cremation itself
- An ashes container
- Return of the ashes
There are also some extra costs, which are important to remember when thinking about arranging a cremation:
- Coroner fee – sometimes charged daily and can run into the thousands
- Death certificates – the number will depend on how complicated the estate left behind is
- Complicated collection – if someone passes at home or is considered heavy, more staff will be needed for collection
- Pacemaker – pacemakers need to be removed for a safe cremation
- Storage of ashes – the urn in which you’d like to keep the ashes at home
Our guide to budgeting for a dignified memorial includes a funeral cost spreadsheet and steps to saving money on the funeral.
The key will always be making sure that the choices you make are right for you and those close to you – and what’s right for one family may not be right for another. The more research and preparation you can do ahead of time, the better. When someone has just passed, comparing prices will never be a priority – and that’s how families end up getting stung.