Understanding how to manage funeral expenses can help you plan a meaningful and affordable ceremony that honors a life well-lived. Whether you’re planning a funeral after the loss of a loved one or preplanning for yourself, there are things you can do that can help you manage costs. We’re sharing tips you can use to manage funeral costs.
Plan with loved ones
Planning a funeral alone can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. Without support, it can become easy to feel like you have to do everything. Surrounding yourself with family, loved ones and friends can provide valuable support and perspective to plan a meaningful ceremony within your budget.
Consider all your options
When making final arrangements, you’ll need to decide how to handle the deceased’s remains, known as final disposition. Today, there are many options, including earth burial or entombment in a niche or mausoleum, which you can choose even with cremation. Ask your funeral professional about alternative disposition choices, including “green burial,” which may reflect your family’s or loved one’s preferences.
Select only the services that matter to you
Most funeral homes offer packages that can simplify planning or help you get started. Remember, your arrangement conference should be an open flow of ideas. Feel free to omit or add items and services that result in a memorial that best represents your loved one’s life and wishes and is meaningful to those attending the service. Your funeral director or preplanning professional is required to provide a written, itemized list of their goods and services—making it easier to understand and manage costs. You may request this over the phone or by stopping by before planning. Many firms offer their general price list (“GPL”) on their websites.
Embalming is optional
Embalming allows families to have a viewing before the casket is closed, prior to burial, entombment or cremation. It is a preservation process that often involves restorative measures to provide the best possible “final picture” of a loved one. Embalming is almost always required if a funeral needs to be delayed, for example, if family members need to travel long distances to attend services. Most cremations and direct burials do not require embalming. Your funeral director or preplanning professional can answer any question about embalming.
Make it personal
Funerals are as individual as the people we wish to honor. Most people plan very few funerals in a lifetime, which means you don’t know what you don’t know—so ask your funeral planning professional for ideas and examples of how others commemorate their loved ones’ lives. Incorporating photo displays, tribute videos and memory capsules are simple ways to tell the story of a life well-lived. Even if you have a strict budget in mind, feel free to brainstorm because you have one chance to design the best farewell.
Preplan funeral arrangements
Preplanning funeral arrangements for yourself or a loved one can reduce stress on family and save you money. Many funeral homes will lock in the price of services and merchandise when you preplan, which can help protect against inflation over time. Preplanning doesn’t mean you’re “stuck” with the choices you make, either. As your life changes and your story evolves—even if you move—it’s possible to adjust your plans accordingly. Learn more about the benefits of funeral preplanning.
We know talking about your funeral plan can be uncomfortable, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, our funeral planning checklist can provide additional support to help you navigate the process. We also offer grief, loss and bereavement resources to help you cope.