Lowering the cost of a funeral: How much should you pay for a funeral in 2018?

Funerals today are expensive.  The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) recently reported that the average price for a funeral in 2017 was $8,755.  This included a burial vault but no cemetery fees.  So, it is fair to say that the total cost of the average funeral service, when adding a cemetery plot is likely to cost in excess of $10,000.

Now, not many folks have $10,000 available to pay for a funeral these days, especially if the deceased had not made a funeral plan or had no life insurance.

So, what options do you have to lower funeral costs?

Find a lower-priced funeral services provider

low cost cremationFuneral prices can vary tremendously, depending on the funeral home, and the type of funeral service selected.  It is important to compare funeral prices from a funeral home’s General Price List (GPL) or Funeral Service Packages, before deciding.  You will find that even the same funeral package service can range in price between different funeral service locations.

Typically, corporate funeral companies and full-service funeral locations with high overhead have higher funeral pricing.  If they have share-holders, expansive premises to up-keep and a large fleet of vehicles, they need to charge funeral fees commensurate with maintaining a certain revenue.

Often smaller, family owned and operated funeral homes can afford to offer funeral service packages at a lower cost.  There are independent funeral locations that are very focused on their role in their community, and in offering affordable funeral packages.

All funeral service providers are required by FTC legislation to disclose pricing from their GPL when a consumer makes an inquiry about funeral costs either online, by phone or in person.  This is known as the ‘funeral rule’ but despite this legislation being in place to protect funeral consumers, many funeral locations still will not openly disclose prices.  Some funeral home websites will include pricing information or have a copy of their GPL for you to download.  However, there are still far too many funeral home websites that disclose nothing about their prices.  And many funeral homes seem unable to openly disclose funeral prices by phone either, especially when their objective is to get you in person into their funeral establishment to better complete a ‘sale’.

So, choose a few funeral homes and call around and compare funeral prices. If they will not openly discuss pricing, then that is probably an alarm bell.

If you locate a lower-priced funeral services provider, he or she will generally be very happy to discuss pricing with you.

Eliminate some of the more expensive funeral services and products

Everything adds up for a traditional funeral service.  The funeral director’s basic service fee may not seem too expensive, but then everything becomes itemized.  A few funeral products can really hike up your overall bill.  It can seem overwhelming when you have to make so many decisions about the funeral, choosing a casket, memorial pamphlets, whether to hold a visitation, for how long, what type of funeral service to hold, how many funeral vehicles are required.  This is also how your overall funeral bill can expand, and having to make all these decisions when you are feeling distressed can mean you do not make the best decisions!

Consider choosing cremation instead of burial

Cremation now accounts for almost 54% of dispositions in the U.S.  It has overtaken burial as the preferred funeral option for Americans.  One of the main reasons why Americans are now choosing cremation is cost.  Choosing a cremation service can provide a much lower-priced funeral alternative to burial.

As I have mentioned, eliminating some of the main costs associated with a burial can have a big impact on the funeral price.   Opting for a cremation means that these services and products are not required anyway.

Cremation can eliminate the need for embalming, a casket, a burial vault and a cemetery plot.  On the whole, a cremation service can cost at least half the cost of a burial service.

Lowest-price funeral option: Choose direct cremation

How to save money on a funeralIf you need to trim the cost of a funeral down as much as possible due to very limited resources, then a direct cremation is the least expensive cremation option.

A direct cremation is where the funeral home or crematory only handle the cremation of the deceased and then return the remains to the family.  It is also called a cremation without ceremony, or a simple cremation.

A direct cremation can take care of the immediate need to conduct a dignified disposition of the body at an affordable cost.  The price of a direct cremation varies between funeral service providers, but it is possible (in most metro areas) to arrange a direct cremation for between $795 and $1,495 with a funeral home that offers affordable options.  However, do be mindful that some funeral homes still charge in the region of $2,000 to $3,000 for a direct cremation.  Again, it is important to check the cremation pricing from more than one provider.

If you need immediate assistance, and do not want to make numerous phone calls to cremation providers, DFS Memorials has undertaken this task.  Our aim was to be able to connect you with an independent affordable direct cremation provider near you.  Use the state links to on this page to find your state and city and locate a provider near you and their price for a direct cremation service.