Planning a funeral for a loved one is a tremendously emotional event. Unfortunately, plenty of individuals see funerals as a way of wringing every last dime out of a bereaved family. There are ways to avoid spending too much money on a funeral, but you need to know when to apply which strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind during this tragic time.
Planning Your Funeral
If you are a planner, then working out the details of your funeral won’t seem too macabre. You can pick your plot, your casket, what kind of service you want and arrange every aspect imaginable. The primary advantage of control gives way to the secondary advantage, that of paying for your arrangements in advance, at today’s prices. What you pay will remain the price of the funeral. This saves your heirs money and aggravation, as long as you leave a copy of the contract with your papers.
Cremation is considerably cheaper than traditional burial. Aside from the fact that you don’t usually need to embalm a body that is being cremated, there is no cost associated with a plot or the need to purchase a fancy coffin to impress anyone. A traditional burial begins at about $5,000 and heads up fast from there, whereas cremation starts at $1,000 and doesn’t increase much, unless you really try.
Places to Cut Costs Around Funerals
There are many places that you can reduce expenses, without appearing miserly. Flowers are nice, but completely unnecessary. If you feel they are required, stick to less expensive options like carnations. Hiring some clergy-person who barely knew the deceased is pointless. It is better to ask someone who is acquainted with the individual to speak. The more you formalize the service the more you will pay.
Caskets are another area where money is made by the industry. Try to remember that ultimately this box is going to end up in the ground or burned. Do you really need to spend top dollar in either case? If you really want to save money, opt for a plain pine box, but even that can set you back a grand.
While some people feel that it is necessary to travel from the funeral home to the cemetery in a limousine, it really isn’t crucial. You can avoid the whole traveling expense by simply having a nice closed casket service at the cemetery and encourage people to come to the house afterward for finger foods and reminiscing. This is much more personal, and frankly, cheaper.
When my time comes, I want to be in one of the new cardboard coffins that my children and grandchildren have decorated with paint, glitter and love. I want to be put in a green cemetery with as little fuss as possible, and have someone plant a tree above my head. Simple, cheap and meaningful!
The goal of a burial is to allow the family and friends of the deceased to begin grieving properly. Spending so much money that everyone ends up in debt is no legacy. Don’t get pressured into spending too much. No amount of money will bring back your loved one, so make your decisions carefully.
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