Burial expenses can add up quickly, and some grieving families feel they owe their loved ones the best of the best. While it can be a sweet gesture, casket and service upgrades can significantly increase the overall bill. Even with funeral insurance, your family could end up out of pocket if you do not save and plan for your final expenses.
The average funeral costs anywhere between $6,000 and $12,000. The state where you live could play a big part in how much you need to spend. The states with the highest burial expenses are in the northeast (New England states), the west coast, and the non-contiguous states of Hawaii and Alaska.
It may be difficult to estimate your own final expenses if you do not know what to budget for. The first step in creating a funeral budget is determining the typical price for the services you want. Affordable burial and cremation services are sometimes available as packages from funeral homes or listed as individual options.
For instance, a traditional burial is often more expensive than a direct cremation or even being buried at sea. Your funeral budget may determine which type of end-of-life service you can afford.
Here are a few tips for how to save money on a funeral:
· Plan Ahead – Last-minute planning can end up costing you or your loved ones more money. It can also allow funeral directors and others in the business to upsell mourning family members. Getting your affairs in order can save your family from searching for “cremation near me” or “nearby funeral homes” while grieving.
· Prepay – Funeral prices only increase with time. Everything is subject to inflation, including services and burials. Buying caskets, plots, and headstones years before can save your estate money. Several funeral homes have prepaid options, so you can plan and pay for what you want.
· Choose low-cost alternatives – Traditional funerals are often the most expensive choice. Direct burials and cremations can cut out a lot of expenses.
· One place, one price – Transferring the body to different places to get the “best price” can actually be more expensive. Find a funeral home with the lowest price for all services instead of picking several organizations.
The average cremation cost is a third of the typical funeral burial expense. If your most important consideration is your budget, cremations are a less costly alternative, priced between $700 to $3,000. However, your affordable cremation can be much more expensive if you also want a memorial service or anything additional.
Regardless of burying or cremating, you will need to pay transportation fees for moving the body from home or the hospital to the funeral home. Transporting a body costs hundreds of dollars each time, so it can be more expensive to plan services somewhere besides the funeral home’s chapel or parlor.
Even if you are planning your funeral to the letter, you should consider unexpected funeral prices and fees you could not anticipate. For instance, the transportation fees could be more if your loved one passes away out of state or out of the country.
Here are some common optional funeral expenses:
- Embalming: You’ll pay this if you want a viewing of the body. It is usually between $500 and $900 and includes dressing and preparing the deceased (hair and makeup).
- Transportation Rentals: You may want to rent vehicles, like a hearse and limousines with drivers, to take members from one place to another, such as the service to the grave.
- Basic Service Charges: The funeral home may have a basic service charge that can increase depending on what you want.
- Post-funeral expenses: These can include the reception and the repass (the meal following the service or burial), can add hundreds to thousands. Restaurant services cost more but remove the hassle of food preparation. Alternatively, you can plan to have it at home with homemade dishes or catering.