How to reduce the cost of a funeral


Burial and cremation costs are rising at levels above the rate of inflation, so what can you do to reduce the cost of a funeral?

You do not need to spend a lot of money or get yourself into debt, just to show your affection and respect. A funeral that is dignified and meaningful, without spending a huge amount of money, can be a comforting and healing experience for all who attend. Average costs for burial and cremations have risen by 50% in the past 10 years* and prices vary depending where you live, cremation is usually going to cost less than a burial, as is arranging the funeral yourself instead of using a funeral director.

There are ways to further reduce the cost of a funeral regardless of these choices:

  1.  Shop around: funeral costs can vary a lot. So while you might find it difficult, it’s important to shop around.
    Get a quote from more than one funeral director, caterer or florist so you can compare prices. You can then pick one that fits your budget.
  2. Ask family and friends: for example, instead of paying for a caterer, ask family or friends to bring food to the wake. You could also ask them to help you check for cheaper options.
  3. Charity collection and memorial: buying and maintaining a headstone or memorial plaque can be expensive. Instead, you can create an online memorial where family and friends can donate to a charity in memory of the deceased.
    Websites, such as JustGiving offer a charity online memorial indefinitely.
  4. Time of day of a cremation, and who you use: picking a cheaper slot, if available, such as an early morning or a weekday slot can also lower the cost. You could also pick a council-run crematorium, which is usually cheaper than a private one. The facilities and decor, however, might be a bit basic, so you might want to check it out beforehand.
  5. Type of coffin: there’s nothing in the law that says you have to use a coffin. So you can use a shroud instead. And don’t feel pressured into picking an expensive coffin or shroud if you’re working with a limited budget. You can sometimes get a cheaper option with online coffin and shroud suppliers, such as The Coffin Company.
    Alternatively, check the Good Funeral Guide’s list of recommended companies.
  6. Natural burial: you might want to consider a natural burial ground, such as a woodland. These are often much cheaper than a traditional cemetery, which can be very expensive. Traditional cemeteries also charge ‘non-resident’ fees if the person who died didn’t live in the area. To find a natural burial ground, visit the Natural Death Centre website. 

For more ways to reduce the cost of a funeral, visit the Down to Earth and Natural Death Centre opens in new window websites. 

Help paying for a funeral

If you’re worried about the cost of a funeral, or think that you might struggle to pay for a funeral, read the Money Advice Service article Help paying for a funeral for some advice.

*Source: Some of the data in this article is based on the annual SunLife Cost of Dying report 2017, and the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2017.

Reproduced courtesy of Money Advice Service.

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