It is possible to reduce funeral expenses.
Not everyone plans ahead for their own burials.
When they do, these people are often surprised by the cost of funerals.
If they do not plan ahead, their loved ones can be left with sticker shock and a hefty bill.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “Six Ways to Save on Funeral Expenses,” there are ways to reduce these costs with advance planning.
How can you save money on funeral costs?
Decide what you want in a funeral.
Consider what type of funeral you would like.
If you are helping loved ones prepare for their own arrangements, ask them about what they would like or not like.
Common choices include picking between a burial or cremation.
If saving money on funeral expenses is a top priority, cremation typically has lower costs.
Purchase burial insurance.
Even when the chances are fairly low, they will need insurance coverage, people still pay for house insurance, auto insurance, and insurance for personal property.
Because everyone eventually dies, burial insurance can be a wise investment.
What is burial insurance?
It is a type of life insurance specifically to provide funds to help your loved ones pay funeral costs and debts.
As long as premiums are paid, the burial insurance remains effective and can accumulate cash value.
By paying these premiums, you can essentially help pre-pay for your funeral expenses and leave minimal extra fees for loved ones after you have died.
Do the research and compare prices.
Funeral homes can vary in their pricing and offerings.
For this reason, you can save money by visiting and asking questions at several funeral homes.
Funeral businesses are required by law to disclose information like prices for products and services.
You can ask for an itemized list in person or over the phone.
Doing so will help you to choose only what you want and know if you are getting a competitive price.
Choose immediate burial or cremation.
By having your body interred or cremated as soon as possible after your death, you can eliminate the cost of embalming.
How much of funeral expenses can be avoided by foregoing embalming?
Embalming alone can cost between $600 and $1,500.
Expenses for facilities and venues for visitations can also be reduced.
Go with a simple wake and funeral service.
If a wake of funeral is something important to you and your family, you can still save expenses by keeping the service simple.
What might it look like to simplify these elements?
You can reduce the number of days allotted for the wake, select a less expensive casket, use family rather than a professional to oversee and manage the service or wake, skip a procession, and limit the number of attendees.
Consider donating your body for science.
One of the most cost-effective ways to reduce funeral expenses is to donate your body to science.
In fact, doing so costs you nothing for burial-related expenses.
You can still have a small memorial service, but other costs for burial and cremation are non-existent.
If you are passionate about helping researchers and medical professionals learn about certain diseases and the human body, this may be a good option.
If the idea of being used in a cadaver lab or for experimentation makes you squeamish, you will likely want to bypass this as an option.
Work with Funeral Professionals
If you feel pressure from the provider to purchase a package before seeing the menu, you should leave immediately and find a different funeral home!
Todd Schneider of Schneider Family Funeral Home and Crematory is a prime example of what a funeral counselor and provider should aspire to be.
Todd and his staff have taken care of the final arrangements for nearly every member of my extended family in and around Mound City, Kansas.
Whatever you decide, planning ahead is the best way to reduce funeral expenses.
Reference: Kiplinger (Sep. 8, 2023) “Six Ways to Save on Funeral Expenses”