People are regularly surprised by how much a funeral costs. It is easy to spend $10,000 on a basic funeral or even more if you want more than just the basics.
Most funeral homes charge a basic services fee which includes those services that are common to all funerals. Those basic services often include obtaining copies of the death certificate, securing any required permits, sheltering the remains, and coordinating the arrangements.
Burial vs. Cremation
As mentioned earlier, the cost of a burial can go up to $10,000 or higher. Cremations typically cost less, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000 depending on the choices made by the family.
Embalming is not always required and depends on if body is buried or cremated and how quickly the service takes place after the deceased has passed away. Refrigeration can be an alternative to embalming but it can cost several hundred dollars while the cost of embalming typically ranges from $1,000 to $4,000.
Cemeteries are typically separate from funeral homes and have their own fees. On average, a grave plot costs anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 and will cost even more in densely populated areas.
There are also often additional fees to open and close the grave, open the ground, place the casket, and cover the plot. You will also need to check into whether maintenance fees are an extra monthly cost or if that is included.
Headstone or Grave Marker
Upright headstones cost around $2,000 to $5,000 while grave markers (which lie flat on the ground) cost around $1,000. You can buy the headstone or grave marker directly from the funeral home or cemetery but you can also buy them from third party retailers, which is typically a less expensive option.
A casket is typically the most expensive item you will buy for a traditional funeral. The average casket costs anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000 but, again, more elaborate caskets sell for $10,000 or even higher.
Again, you can look to third party retailers to find a better deal on a casket rather than buying directly from the funeral home.
There are also costs associated with the ceremony itself. These can include:
- Hiring clergy and musicians,
- Using a hearse,
- Putting an obituary in the local newspaper or elsewhere,
- Printing out materials to be handed out to those attending the service, and
- Basic funeral ceremony fees.
Other costs often associated with a funeral or memorial service can include:
- Burial clothing,
- Burial shroud,
- Burial vault,
- Death certificate,
- Flowers, and
- Transportation of the body.
If You Looking for More Economical Alternatives
If the costs are simply beyond your budget, there are a few ways to save some money:
- Contact different funeral homes and compare prices.
- Shop through third party retailers, rather than the funeral home or cemetery when possible.
- Eliminate the embalming process. This is not always possible but can be done if the body is being cremated or you are having a direct burial.
- Do not use the funeral home for visitation or memorial services. These services are not necessary unless they are important to the family.
- Hold the memorial service in a private home or another place that holds special meaning for the family.
- Do not buy flowers, or at least avoid the expensive floral arrangements.
- Do not purchase new items for burial clothing. Rather chose a favourite outfit of the deceased for them to wear.
- Buy less expensive caskets and vaults if you are having a burial.
As funerals and cremations are very costly, many individuals today plan ahead to make sure the money is available for their family in order to ease the family’s stress.