Understanding funeral costs
The average cost of a funeral
in America today between $7,000 - $10,000 according to a national website
that collected funeral prices from funeral homes across the US last year
National Funeral Directors
Association had last recorded an average funeral price of $7,045 in 2012,
so arguably funeral prices have not changed much over the last 5 years.
What has changed is the huge
shift towards cremation, as this offers a much more affordable funeral
alternative. A simple cremation service is likely to cost between
$1,500 and $3,000, so this can present a significant saving to families
struggling with the full cost of funeral services.
If you live in a major metro
area, funeral costs can be even higher if you are looking for what is known
as a “Traditional Funeral Service”. When you begin to break down
the funeral costs, the largest costs incurred are for items like the casket,
cemetery plot and grave marker, which on their own, can end up costing
you more than the average cost of a complete funeral service. In cities
with limited cemetery space, the cost for a cemetery plot aloe can amount
The single biggest issue
when having to arrange a funeral is that we have very little to go on and
to compare with. It is very easy to compare grocery stores and restaurants,
because these are businesses that we deal with on a regular basis.
Arranging a funeral is something that many people have never had to do,
and therefore we are very trusting of the funeral home. Make no mistake
about it, funeral homes and funeral companies are businesses. Think
about the funeral director as a sales person, because that is what they
are. Funeral homes are interested in getting you to spend as much
money as possible, and they are extremely good at doing this.
The decline in traditional
funerals has resulted in a drop in revenue for many funeral homes, meaning
that ensuring they can sell ancillary products and services is vital to
sustaining their funeral business.
Be clear about what kind
of funeral services you require
It is important to decide what
type of funeral you want before you even begin discussing things with a
funeral home. The first question is whether the deceased is to be
buried or cremated. If you choose burial as an option, remember that
you will also need to purchase a cemetery plot, and these plots can be
very expensive indeed.
If you have decided on cremation
as a more affordable alternative to burial, be sure to understand that
there are various options for cremation services. A cremation with
a funeral service beforehand will still cost in the region of $2,000 -
$5,000. A cremation with a memorial service afterwards with the cremation
urn will cost less, and a direct cremation with no ceremony or services
is the most inexpensive cremation option.
Understanding cremation options
as a low cost alternative
Cremation is an option that
more families are opting for today, indeed last year (2016) the cremation
rate in the US surpassed 50%.
As you can see from the chart,
the cost for a cremation does vary. It varies by state, by city and
by provider. Some states are more expensive, these tend to be some
of the northeast states or the very rural and smaller population states.
The west coast has a much higher cremation rate and therefore costs are
A direct cremation is generally
the lowest cost method of disposition. A direct cremation is when
the deceased is immediately cremated, with no service, and the cremated
remains directly returned to the family or scattered.
Whilst the cost for a direct
cremation can vary, it can be conducted in certain areas of the United
States for as little as $495. Generally a direct cremation can be
conducted for between $695 and $1,095 in most cities if you select an affordable
cremation services provider.
DFS Memorials was set up
in 2012 as a network of low cost cremation providers. Visit DFS
Memorials to find your nearest provider and their direct cremation
Saving money on funeral costs
A great way to save on funeral
expenses is to purchase items like the casket, urn or grave marker from
other third party sellers. Today you can actually purchase caskets
from both Costco and Walmart, although you need to order from their web
sites. There are many other companies selling funeral products online,
and these can often be great savings compared to the funeral homes prices.
Federal Law requires ALL funeral homes to accept funeral products bought
from other companies, and they cannot charge you extra for doing this.
“No cost” cremation when
you donate your body to science
Although most funeral homes
will not mention this, it is possible to get a cremation for free.
Donating a body to science for research is one way of getting a funeral
cremation for no cost. The body is used for research by the medical
profession, and the body is then cremated and the ashes returned to the
family, with no costs incurred. The whole process takes between 4-6
weeks and a memorial service can then take place, if chosen.
Is there any state financial
assistance for funeral expenses?
Sadly, there is little financial
assistance for poor or low-income families. Some states do aid residents
on welfare programs, but not only is it very limited, there are very stringent
qualifying criteria and many families end up finding they do not qualify.
It is best to check with
your local county human or social services, they will advise you of what
may be available locally and if you would qualify.
The message is simple, if
you want to save money on funeral costs, do some research, compare prices,
consider purchasing funeral merchandise from a third-party seller, and
even consider making an anatomical donation.
This way it is not only possible
to save thousands of dollars on funeral expenses, you could even find that
you could have a free cremation and a funeral that virtually costs nothing
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
Memorials – Low cost cremation provider network
Last Revised: 06/23/2017