Budgeting for a funeral isn’t exactly the most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, especially if it’s your own, but death is an unavoidable part of life that we have to plan for.
A funeral and burial are a huge expense which is why having a comprehensive plan to help your loved ones pay for yours is a good idea. To make the planning process as easy as possible, we’re here to help you get a feel for the average funeral cost.
To put it bluntly, a funeral is a huge expense, averaging between $7,000 and $12,000 depending on factors like whether you’re having a burial and/or viewing as well as the cost of the casket, hearse, embalming, service fees, transportation of remains to a funeral home, and more.
If you’re considering cremation, the average cost drops down to between $6,000 to $8,000. Caskets and urns can be incredibly expensive with some designs ranging into the thousands of dollars.
Keep in mind that these expenses do not include cemetery costs, decor, or flowers for the viewing or any food or decorations for a gathering after the service. A funeral budget can easily spiral out of control when you consider these additional costs, even if you’ve made a preliminary budget.
So what can you do to make the process a lot easier?
How To Budget For A Funeral
- The first step is to make yourself reasonably aware of the average costs of everything. Do your homework! We know that prices change and fluctuate but knowing about these costs is a great first step.
- Layout the average cost of each item in a chart or spreadsheet. Organization is key.
- Go through each item and decide what basic services you need. Then, consider the things you want and what you can do without.
Only then can you begin to craft a budget for your loved ones when the time comes.
How Not To Overspend
It’s common for a funeral to exceed $12,000. This happens for many reasons, the most important of which is emotional overspending.
Families are often overwhelmed by the emotional loss which clouds their judgment. Planning a funeral for a loved one is never easy. Many families just want it over and done with and pay outrageous costs for the sake of getting it over with as quickly as possible.
Planning a funeral is also time-sensitive and requires multiple on-the-spot decisions. Some families are ill-prepared for funeral planning, having never done it before. What’s more, funeral homes are often looking to take advantage of vulnerable individuals and families, putting the financial profit ahead of doing what’s best for the family in their time of grief.
Ways To Save On Funeral Costs
1. Remember that cremation is, generally, a much cheaper option than a casket burial. That said, buying a coffin can also be ridiculously expensive. We understand that some folks have very strict ideas of how they wish to be buried, and, of course, these wished should be respected — but the cost between cremation or burial is just one to keep in mind.
Why is there such a difference in cost between being buried or cremated? A few reasons:
- Service fees for burials are a lot higher
- Gravesite and casket costs
- Vault or coffin costs
- Transportation fees
- Cemetery costs (opening ground, lowering remains into grave site, the burial itself)
2. Remember that certain items can be purchased outside of a funeral home. Urns are just one example, especially since funeral home prices can be so high. Buying decorative items from external retailers can also be extremely helpful.
3. The memorial service doesn’t have to take place at an expensive venue with a catering crew. It can be held at a family member’s home, park, or something a lot less expensive.
4. Reach out to several funeral homes in your area to price match. Gathering a wide range of prices can help you choose the one that is the most cost-effective.
5. Take a look at embalming costs. Embalming isn’t required for every death; some of these costs can be reduced or eliminated.
Know Your Funeral Rights
In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced the “Funeral Rule” which was put in motion to protect families’ rights against funeral homes and cemeteries. This rule is meant to protect families from being taken advantage of during their time of grief by attempting to get them to agree to unnecessary services that significantly raise funeral costs.
Here are some of the key points made by the Funeral Rule:
- Funeral homes cannot pressure you into buying services or items you do not want.
- You are entitled to view a list of all casket or cremation urn prices.
- You are entitled to an itemized statement listing each charge by the funeral home.
- You are entitled to a written statement with all expenses outlined before making a payment.
- You are entitled to bypass a casket and choose an alternate urn or container for the cremation process.
- You are entitled to decline embalming altogether.
- You are entitled to provide your own cremation urn or casket and not to buy from the funeral home you are doing business with.
- You are entitled to receive all pricing information on the phone.
Average Breakdown of Funeral Expenses
Remember that these costs are contingent on a lot of different factors and these are meant to be taken as average numbers to get you thinking.
These prices are based on data collected by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA):
Funeral Home Basic Fee: $2000
Transporting Remains To Funeral Home: $300
Makeup/Styling of Body: $300
Viewing (Facilities): $450
Funeral Ceremony: $500
Service Car: $175
Basic Memorial Printed Package: $150
Metal Casket: $2500
Setting aside between $500-800 for flowers should be more than enough. The typical cost of a funeral plot is between $1000-5000 and a headstone can cost between $2000-5000. Caskets can also sit within this price range.
Special Tip!: Keep in mind that burial life insurance can also be used to help cover these expenses. Investing in a life insurance plan where this can be negotiated is one of the best ways to ensure that these expenses are covered and that your family doesn’t have to pay a lot of money out of pocket.
As principal licensed life insurance agent Bennett Bier has helped 1000’s of people purchase life insurance online & over the phone. During his career he has become the go to expert for securing hard to place term and permanent life insurance policies for clients across the nation. With his wealth of knowledge of each life insurance carrier’s products and underwriting he provides honest answers and advice to every client. Bennett Bier and his team will work tirelessly to successfully secure the coverage your family deserves.
All content on this site has been written by life insurance experts & licensed life insurance agents.