Dying can be an expensive business. Not only do you have to put up with the inconvenience of actually dying, but you also have to foot the bill for the final send-off. Funerals can cost thousands of dollars, and if you’re not careful, you could end up leaving your loved ones with a hefty bill to pay.
But don’t worry, in this article, we’ll take a humorous look at the costs of dying and give you some tips on how to keep the expenses to a minimum.
Overview of funeral costs
Average cost of a funeral:
The average cost of a funeral in the United States can range from $7,000 to $12,000, depending on location and the type of services and products chosen.
This dollar amount can include expenses such as the cost of a casket or urn, embalming or other preparation of the body, funeral home services, transportation for the remains, and a gravesite or cremation.
Additional expenses may include a memorial service, flowers, and obituary notices.
These end-of-life costs can vary greatly depending on the location, type of service, and the added options chosen by the family.
It’s important to note that funeral costs are generally higher in urban areas than in rural areas, and choosing a traditional funeral with burial can be more expensive than a cremation service.
Breakdown of expenses: (e.g. casket, embalming, funeral home services, etc.)
The major expenses involved in a funeral include:
- Casket or Urn: This can vary greatly in cost, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars for a basic casket to several thousand dollars for a more elaborate one.
- Embalming or other preparation of the body: This process, also known as “funeral disposition,” is often required by state law or by the cemetery. The cost can range from $500 to $700.
- Funeral home services: This can include the use of a funeral home’s facilities for the viewing, funeral service, and/or visitation. It can also include the services of a funeral director, who will help with the arrangement and planning of the funeral. This can range from $500 to $5,000.
- Hearse and transportation for the remains: This can include the cost of a hearse to transport the body from the funeral home to the cemetery or crematory, as well as any additional transportation for family members or the remains. This can cost around $300 to $1,000.
- Gravesite or cremation: This cost can vary greatly depending on the location and type of cemetery or crematory. A gravesite can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a plot in a public cemetery to tens of thousands of dollars for a private cemetery. Cremation can cost around $500 to $2,000.
- Memorial Service: This can include the cost of renting a venue, officiant, and other expenses associated with the service. This can cost around $500 to $1,500.
- Flowers and Obituary Notices: This can include the cost of flowers for the service and any obituary notices placed in newspapers or online. This can cost around $200 to $500.
It’s important to keep in mind that these costs can vary greatly depending on location and the options chosen by the family.
And funeral homes may offer package deals that bundle several of these expenses together at a discounted rate for those people who like to plan ahead.
Variations in cost based on location and type of service:
There are several factors that can affect the cost of a funeral, including location and the type of service chosen.
- Location: Funeral costs can vary greatly depending on where you live. And as we mentioned earlier, funeral costs are generally higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to the higher cost of living and doing business in these areas. For example, a funeral in New York City may cost significantly more than one in a small town in rural America.
- Type of service: The type of service you choose, such as a traditional funeral or a cremation, can also affect the overall cost. A traditional funeral with burial will likely be more expensive than a cremation service. This is because traditional funerals often include the cost of a casket, embalming, and a gravesite or plot. Cremation, on the other hand, eliminates the need for a casket and grave site, which can significantly reduce the overall cost.
- Funeral package: Some funeral homes offer package deals that bundle several of the expenses associated with a funeral together at a discounted rate. These packages can be a more cost-effective option than purchasing each service separately.
- Additional options : Some additional options like a viewing, memorial service, or reception can significantly increase the cost. Also, the type of casket, urn, or cremation container, you choose can also significantly impact the cost.
Generally speaking, dying isn’t cheap, and it can be really, really expensive depending on what options you choose.
The history of funerals and funeral costs
Funerals have changed over time in many ways, both in terms of the rituals and customs associated with them, as well as the costs.
- Rituals and customs: Historically, funerals were an important part of many cultures, and often included specific rituals and customs. For example, in ancient Egypt, mummification was an important part of the funeral process, while in ancient Greece and Rome, funerals were grand and elaborate events that included a procession and a feast. These days, funerals are generally more subdued and less elaborate, but many cultures still have specific rituals and customs associated with funerals.
- Technology: With the advancements in technology, funerals have also changed over time. For example, embalming, which is the process of preserving a body for viewing, is a relatively modern invention, dating back to the mid-19th century. Also, today, cremation is becoming more popular, and it’s an option that didn’t exist in ancient times.
- Cost: The cost of funerals has also changed over time. In the past, funerals were often paid for by the community, and the cost was not a major concern. Today, funerals can cost thousands of dollars, and are often a significant financial burden for families.
- Personalization: In recent years, funerals have become more personal, with family members and friends being given more opportunities to participate in the planning and execution of the service. This has led to a greater variety of funeral services, with the traditional funeral service, cremation, and green funerals being just a few of the options available.
Overall, funerals have evolved over time, with changes in rituals, technology, cost and personalization, reflecting the changing attitudes and beliefs of society.
Cultural and societal impact
Cultural and societal factors have also had a significant impact on funeral costs. Some of the ways in which these factors influence funeral costs include:
- Religious beliefs: Many religions have specific rituals and customs associated with funerals, which can influence the cost. For example, in some religions, embalming is not allowed, which can reduce the cost of the funeral. Similarly, in some religions, cremation is not allowed and a traditional burial must be performed, which can increase the cost.
- Societal expectations: Societal expectations can also play a role in funeral costs. In some cultures, funerals are expected to be grand and elaborate, while in others they are more low-key. The level of societal expectation can influence the cost of the funeral, as more elaborate funerals tend to be more expensive.
- Tradition and customs: Tradition and customs can also influence funeral costs. For example, in some cultures, it is traditional to have a wake, or a viewing of the body, which can increase the cost of the funeral. Similarly, in some cultures, it is traditional to provide a large number of flowers, which can also increase the cost.
- Economic status: Economic status also influences funeral costs. For example, families that are financially well-off may choose to have a more expensive funeral than those who are struggling financially.
- Government regulations: Government regulations can also play a role in funeral costs. For example, some states require that funerals be held within a certain number of days after death, which can influence the cost. Similarly, some states have regulations that limit the cost of certain products, such as caskets, which can affect the overall cost of the funeral.
Overall, cultural and societal factors can have a significant impact on funeral costs, and it’s important to be aware of these factors when planning a funeral.
Planning for a funeral
Planning a funeral can be a difficult and emotional process, but there are a few things that can be done to make it easier and to help keep costs down.
- Pre-planning: One of the best ways to make the funeral planning process easier is to pre-plan. This can include making decisions about what type of service you want, selecting a funeral home, and even making arrangements to pay for the funeral. By pre-planning, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your family is not left with the burden of making these decisions during a difficult time.
- Funeral trusts and insurance: Another way to help ease the financial burden of a funeral is to set up a funeral trust or purchase funeral insurance. These options allow you to pay for your funeral in advance, which can help to reduce the cost for your family.
- Shop around: It’s important to shop around when planning a funeral. Compare prices and options from different funeral homes and cemeteries, and make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for. Also, consider the additional options that you may want to include in the funeral service, like a memorial service, video tributes, or a reception.
- Be mindful of additional costs: Some additional costs like flowers, obituary notices, and headstones may not be included in the funeral package, so make sure you understand what additional costs may be involved.
- Consider alternatives: Consider alternatives to traditional funerals, such as cremation or green funerals, which can be less expensive and more environmentally friendly. Also, consider a DIY funeral where you can plan and execute the funeral by yourself.
Overall, planning a funeral can be a difficult process, but by pre-planning, shopping around, being mindful of additional costs, and considering alternatives, you can help to ease the burden on your family and keep costs down.
How to keep costs down when planning for a funeral
When planning a funeral, it’s important to be mindful of the costs involved, as funerals can be quite expensive. Here are a few ways to keep costs down:
- Pre-plan: Pre-planning can help to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your family is not left with the burden of making decisions during a difficult time. This can also help to lock in prices and reduce the risk of cost increases over time.
- Compare prices: Compare prices and options from different funeral homes, cemeteries, and providers of other funeral-related services. Get detailed price lists, and make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for.
- Choose a cremation: Cremation is generally less expensive than a traditional funeral with burial. Cremation eliminates the need for a casket and grave site, which can significantly reduce the overall cost.
- Choose a direct cremation: Direct cremation is the most affordable cremation option, in which the funeral home will pick up the remains, get the death certificate and other necessary paperwork, and perform the cremation. This doesn’t include any additional services like viewings or memorial service.
- Opt for a simple casket: A simple casket, made of wood or fiberboard rather than metal, can significantly reduce the cost of the funeral.
- Have the service at a non-traditional location: Instead of having the service at a funeral home, consider having the service at a church, community center, or other non-traditional location. This can save on costs associated with renting a funeral home.
- Be mindful of additional costs: Be mindful of additional costs, like flowers, obituary notices, and headstones, which may not be included in the funeral package.
- Consider a DIY funeral: Consider a DIY funeral, where you can plan and execute the funeral by yourself, this can be a cost-effective way of planning a funeral.
By being mindful of costs, shopping around, and considering alternatives, you can help to keep the expenses associated with a funeral to a minimum. It’s also important to have a realistic understanding of your budget and to make sure that the funeral arrangements align with it.
How to pay for a funeral
Paying for a funeral can be a difficult and overwhelming task, but there are several ways to cover the costs.
- Using savings: One option is to pay for the funeral using savings. This can include money from a savings account, a checking account, or other investments.
- Life insurance: Another option is to use life insurance to pay for the funeral. Many life insurance policies have a provision for paying for final expenses, including funeral costs.
- Funeral insurance: Another option to pay for a funeral is to purchase a funeral insurance policy. This type of insurance is designed specifically to cover the costs associated with a funeral.
- Credit cards: Some families may choose to pay for the funeral with credit cards, but this should be done with caution, as it can lead to additional debt.
- Government assistance: Some families may qualify for government assistance to help cover the cost of a funeral. This can include programs like Social Security death benefits or veterans’ benefits.
- Crowdfunding: Another option is to raise funds for the funeral through crowdfunding platforms, this can be done with the help of family and friends.
- Funeral Loans: Some funeral homes and financial institutions offer funeral loans to help pay for the costs.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are many options available to pay for a funeral, and it’s important to explore all of them to find the best solution for your family’s situation.
Additionally, it’s also important to have a realistic understanding of your budget and to make sure that the funeral arrangements align with it.
Now we hope that this article has been helpful to you and while, there are a lot of aspects that we here at JBM can’t help you with when it comes to planning a funeral, we are experts and helping people find and qualify for final expense insurance.
So, if you feel that our services may be helpful to you, give us a call, we’d be happy to help.