5 Ways to Cut Costs on a Funeral

Saying goodbye to a loved one at their funeral is an important moment and it needs to be well planned by you and a funeral director to ensure that your relative has the send off that they deserve. But although you might want to spend lots of money and create a lavish funeral to remember, that lavish event isn't always an option.

You simply might not have the financial power to host a really expensive funeral. But actually, a funeral doesn't need to cost the earth to be remembered for all the right reasons. Take these money saving tips on board and you can throw a funeral that is fit for a king but that doesn't get you in trouble with the bank manager.

Help the environment with a cardboard coffin. One of the major expenses of any funeral is the coffin. These are often expertly made and varnished, and the craftsmanship that goes into them does justify the cost, but this doesn't mean that there are no other options.

If your loved one had any environmental concerns, they might prefer a cardboard coffin anyway. Having a cardboard coffin doesn't mean that the coffin will look any worse—it can even be painted with a wood grain effect to replicate a traditional coffin—but it means that the material will decompose in the ground far more quickly and that you will be paying far less money.

Shop with someone else. When you are shopping for items like coffins and funeral flowers, this is obviously an emotional time when you can make quick, emotional decisions that might not be in the interest of your wallet. For this reason, it is advisable not to shop for funeral items by yourself. Bring along another relative or friend who can make the decisions with you. Between the two of you, you should be able to make more sensible purchases.

Skip embalming. Embalming is something that takes place when a family wants the deceased's body to be preserved for an open casket. Of course, if you are having a closed casket ceremony there is no need for embalming at all. You actually might not need it if you are opting for an open coffin either. Funeral homes will often have on-site refrigeration and this tends to be much cheaper than embalming. Embalming is only absolutely required if the body is being sent to another part of Australia or if it is being sent overseas.

Choose a cremation over a burial. It is likely that the deceased person made it clear before their death whether they wanted to be buried or cremated since this is a very personal choice. If, for some reason, the choice does fall to you and you need to think economically, cremation is the way to go.

While it's true that there are expensive cremations and cheap burials, generally speaking a cremation is going to be cheaper than a burial. The reason for the difference in price is simply the cost of the burial plot, and some plots are more desirable than others.

An alternative obituary. There are some things a funeral home will charge for that you might not feel are necessary. For example, there will be a fee attached to contacting the local newspaper and wording a tasteful obituary that gets published. Of course, there is no one that says you need to have an obituary and so if you feel comfortable, this is a fee that you could forego entirely. Alternatively, you might want to create the obituary yourself and contact the local newspaper as a way of cutting costs.

Consult local funeral directors to better understand what is necessary and what is tradition. You will find ways to cater to your loved one's wishes as well as your wallet.

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Non-denominational funeral services ideas

These days funeral services are less about religion and more about a persons life. When we are planning funeral services for someone who is not religious, it's not that we don't use any religious text as inspiration but more that we draw from a range of sources instead of one. It's common to use thoughts from Buddhism alongside quotes from Native American leaders and poetry from a range of sources to create a beautiful service. This website has some inspiration from a range of belief systems and literature which you can use to help plan and write memorial and funeral services.