Don’t Needlessly Go Into Debt to Pay For a Funeral

Posted: 08/03/2018

The average cost of funerals has been creeping up year after year at an unusually swift pace within the last decade. This steadily climbing price tag has certainly put a strain on families, as evidenced by the dramatic rise in campaigns set up to help families pay for funerals on the crowdfunding site Go Fund Me. The high cost of funerals is only adding stress and panic to an already tragic and stressful time. Fortunately, paying for an unexpected funeral without finding yourself deep in debt is very doable.

When a loved one is approaching death, or has just passed away, the last thing you are thinking about is selecting a funeral home. This selection process is often overlooked, however, if you take the time to choose carefully, you can potentially save a lot of money on funeral expenses. In fact, the most effective way to save money on funerals is to choose the right funeral home. Some funeral homes charge substantially different prices for their goods and services. This variance in price becomes much more apparent when you ask for a price list from different funeral homes. By comparing the prices of different funeral plans side by side, you will be in a much better position to select a funeral home that offers the services you are looking for at an affordable rate.

It is important to remember that just because you have worked with a particular funeral home before, it does not mean that they are the best fit to accommodate you and your family. When purchasing a funeral package, it should be like making any other major purchase, you do your research beforehand, and know what you can and cannot afford. Don’t make the mistake so many people make of accepting the first funeral home they find, and blindly accepting whatever funeral plan is sold to them without asking any questions.

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Choose Cremation To Save Money

The disposition method you choose will also significantly affect the total cost of the funeral. In the United States, the National Funeral Directors Association found the average cost of burial funerals to be $7,100 while the average cost of a cremation funeral is $3,200. In the UK, the average cost of a burial funeral is £4,600 and the average cost of a cremation funeral is £3,600. In all cases, it is apparent that the cost of cremation is significantly cheaper than a burial funeral. Cremation funerals have been gaining popularity largely due to this price schism between the two disposition methods.

By taking a look at what both type of disposition methods require, it is plain to see why this price differential exist.

Burial dispositions require: 

  • casket
  • headstone
  • transportation fees for casket
  • grave lot
  • grave digging fee
  • mortician services
  • opening and closing of the grave fee
  • additional memorial services such as an open viewing.

Cremation dispositions require:

  • cremation of body
  • cremation urn
  • memorial services

I you are interested in taking a more in depth look at the many benefits of cremation, check out “5 Reasons Why You Should Choose Cremation” for more information.

Taking Out a Loan

As funeral costs continue rising, many families resort to taking out a loan to finance the funeral. This solution is suitable in many instances where there is simply no money to pay for the funeral. If you plan on taking out a personal loan, you should be knowledgeable on some of the disadvantages and common pitfalls people fall into when going this route.

High Interest Rates

Personal loans can carry very high interest rates since they are normally unsecured loans, which means that the lending agency will want a greater return on their investment. Furthermore, the longer the payment period, the more interest you will end up paying. For these reasons, you need to be wary of taking out a loan if you are already in a precarious financial situation.

Upgrading the Funeral When You Shouldn’t

It can be tempting when you have more money available to splurge on things. Maybe you get a caterer, or maybe you buy elaborate floral arrangements for the memorial service. Sure, the money is temporarily there, but eventually you will have to repay the loan, only you are now further in debt because of the additional service that you originally did not plan on buying.

Take Some Time and Choose Carefully

When both the funeral home and the disposition method are taken into consideration, a family can save a significant amount of money on funeral expenses without having to compromise on funeral services. In the time period immediately following the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to think clearly and make rational financial decisions when you would rather be focusing on supporting yourself and surrounding family and friends. It is especially important during these emotionally turbulent times that you do not make hasty decisions regarding choosing a funeral home and a service package.

If you are interested in more ways to save on funerals, check out our resource, “How to Save Hundreds on Funeral Expenses” for a comprehensive look at frugally planning a funeral.

For more information, visit Safe Passage Urns.