An unfortunate part of any loved one passing is worrying about finances and how much a funeral will cost. It is a bitter pill to have to be thinking about what goes into a funeral and how to pay for everything while also dealing with your grief. Also, since many costs like transportation and grave markers are not included in your general estimates, they often are unpleasant surprises. While everything about planning a funeral can be sad and overwhelming, hopefully we can help answer the question of "How much does a funeral cost?" by breaking down these costs for you.
Like everything else, funeral costs vary from state to state and have generally risen in the past few years so what you find below is simply an average.
Now, none of this covers any kind of reception as costs for that can vary widely, based on the type of event and venue. With that in mind, the low average cost of a funeral with burial is about $8,000 with the high reaching over double that if you include things like a private cemetery. Of course, there are states where that may be lower or higher and if the deceased already has a burial plot, then that may reduce costs as well. The median price according to experts is closer to $10,000 which is why many life insurance policies include a $10,000 benefit.
An obviously cheaper option is cremation, where costs like cosmetic services, caskets, viewing space, and even grave markers may be unnecessary. You may be able to spend as little as $5,000 for a simplistic funeral, though that is entirely up to you.
However, there are other ways to keep costs down whether you choose cremation or traditional burial. First, know that embalming is not always a necessity. If the funeral is happening within a few days of your loved one’s passing, refrigeration is also an option and, while it still costs, is not nearly as expensive. Things like viewings and cremation caskets are completely optional and going without them can bring down costs, but we understand that for many, they may be an important part of honoring the departed.
Easy ways of lowering costs are your funeral materials and decor. Many funeral homes have packages that include the printed materials such as programs, photo displays, and even invitations. An easy way to reduce costs is to make your own printed materials using a professional template that you can completely personalize.
Rather than the typically elevated price given by the funeral home, then you need only worry about a one time purchasing cost and the printing. This also allows you to pick and choose the combination of programs, keepsake materials, and signs you would like, with no restrictions or minimum amount requirements while also giving you the option of sending invites digitally.
Lastly, the amount and type of flowers and wreaths is entirely up to you and can change your price quite a bit. One way to keep costs low is to display the bouquets sent by guests. Or if guests are donating to a charity or you are a creative type, gather and make the bouquets yourself. For a wreath you could even use good quality fake flowers which you can then leave at the grave site and not worry about wilting.
Whatever you and your loved one’s preference, we hope this helps you through this difficult time and gives you a few ideas on how to not break the bank while still having a beautiful event to say goodbye.