How to save money on funeral or burial services.

Funerals can be very expensive, but it is possible to save money on them and below you will find some ways to do that. But the fact is that some conversations are unpleasant to talk about or plan for, such as traumatic childhood, death, first breakup, and divorce. Yet, people still talk about these topics on a daily basis. In addition to talking about the subjects, it is worthwhile to plan for them, including your future funeral or burial, which can be very pricey.

The fact is that the most difficult conversation, however, might be talking about the end of your life. Then right behind that may be how you are going to pay for the funeral or burial. As after all, death is inevitable, and life will end for all of us.

What will your funeral be like? Flowers, music, food? Funerals are a reflection of life, and most likely you will want to have a respectable service for loved ones to say to their final goodbye. But it is expensive to have a nice service, and most families are on a budget and need to save money.

The average cost for a funeral is between $7,000-$9,000- at a minimum.  This can be a hefty cost for struggling low or even moderate income families that are trying to make ends meet. Just like any other social events- it is always a good idea to discuss end-of-life wishes and funeral arrangements ahead of time and to also budget for them. This will ensure that your family members are not left with the burden as well as debt of paying for you funeral expenses.

Steps to save money with funeral, cremation or burial costs

Funerals are expensive, and it can be difficult to afford if you have been struggling with money your entire life. Whether if you are thinking about your final arrangement or dealing with the expense of a funeral or cremations costs for a relative- here are some affordable options to consider for a funeral or burial service if you lack the funding.

 

 

 

 

Pre-paying for funeral cost

Death can occur unexpectedly, but if there is time and if you can afford it, you can make a choice to cover your own funeral expenses. Preplanning and prepaying your costs is a great option to consider so that your children and relatives won't have to make difficult and expensive decisions while grieving. It will also ensure that your final wishes are carried out and to save your loved ones from funeral debt.

You can set aside money for burial and funeral expenses is by having an insurance policy, with a "pre-need" or "final expense" feature.

These insurance policies typically cover between $5,000 to $50,000, with a specific purpose to cover funeral expenses, but can also be used for unpaid debt, medical bills and travel cost for family members. Burial insurances are inexpensive, with an average cost of $3.49 to $132/month, depending on age and there are also no medical exams. This is a great fit for senior or those with severe health issues because of its easy application process and affordability. On the other hand, life insurance has a similar cost with much higher benefits but, requires physical and medical screening.

Another option to repay for your funeral is to contribute regularly to a small saving account that is set up as 'trust' or a joint account with a person that can withdraw money to cover your funeral expenses.

Donate Your Body to Science

If you want a free funeral or a 'cheaper' way to die and to eliminate the final departure expenses, donating your body to science is a great option to consider. Not to mention the benefits, such as helping medical students to further their research that can change the future of medicine.

Donating your body to science can give you a “second life”, and that is to save others and to create a lasting legacy. Full body donations are not the same as organ donations, and most programs require that you donate your entire body. This is needed as science requires it to be most effective.

 

 

 

 

Organ donors are excluded from body donation programs. After using your body, medical facilities will provide a free cremation within a year Or they will scatter or bury your ashes in a local cemetery or return it to your family if requested. In either case, it can save you and your family thousands of dollars on the funeral bills.
Body donation requires meeting a number of criteria and donors who have suffered from infectious diseases, trauma from a car accident, amputation and extreme obesity are rejected. There are no age restrictions, and no payments will be made to your family.

Registering to become a body donor is made before a person dies and it is a legal document that is signed by two witnesses. If your chosen organization or institution accept your body, you will be eligible to receive cremation, transportation and filling cost for a death certificate will be covered- free of charge.

Contact Local Churches for Discounts

Churches do not charge for funeral service for active members of the congregation. Non-members are usually charged a rental fee of $200-$500 or more, depending on the length of service and resources. Additional fee may require for ministry members leading the funeral ceremony and other musicians and organists, (unless if the deceased person were close friends or family members), then otherwise paying an honorarium is free. Regardless, the prices are much lower than using a traditional funeral home.

Having a funeral service at your local church will save money on the funeral home cost, the director and staff fees which is an average of a $2,100 for just basic service. Christian, Jewish, Catholic and other traditional religious funerals are low-cost and free. So there is no discrimination based on age, ethnicity, or religion.

A church funeral service often means having a direct burial with no visitation and embalming. This option is more affordable for families looking for a low-cost funeral that will save thousands of dollars. Find additional assistance programs from churches.

Military Funeral

All military veterans are qualified to receive free funeral and burial services. Veterans and active military members are free to be laid to rest in any cemetery of their choice, and not just a military-specific cemetery. Parents, spouses, children, and other immediate members of the family can all apply to this service.

Cremation is also another option for veterans or any other option of their choice. Burial allowance and benefits are available to spouses and dependents in a national cemetery. Family members of deceased veterans may receive up to $2,000 for service-related death, reimbursement for transportation cost, and $255 from government benefits.

If the veteran passed away in VA hospital, they are eligible to receive between $700-$ 1,400. There are other assistance programs too. There will be $300 for veterans who did not pass away in a VA hospital and $300 or more for a plot allotment for burial in a private cemetery.

 

 

 

To access VA benefits, you will need to submit your loved one's military service records and conducting personal research to understand what is available through the VA and funeral budget.

Rent a Casket to Save Money

Caskets are the most expensive item for a traditional funeral with an average cost of $2,000 to $5,000. This is outside of the budget of the vast majority of American households.

Renting a casket is an excellent cost-saving option. It often comes with a removable interior and the body is placed in a simple wooden box inside of the casket. But the family may not even notice. The reason being is the layout gives the appearance that the body is in a real casket, without it never touching the casket.

The wooden box is easily removed during the service and then the body can be buried or cremated. The casket is then returned and re-use. Rental caskets can cost as little as $110

Furthermore, buying items outside of the funeral home can save you thousands of dollars. Each year an increasing number of people are buying caskets from third-party retailers like Walmart, Amazon or Etsy and have it shipped directly to the funeral home. It is often a much more affordable alternative.

By law, funeral homes are committed to use the given casket and cannot charge additional fees to handle the third-party unit. If they push pack against you, consumers do have rights available to them. Another option would be to have an eco-friendly funeral with biodegradable caskets.

Choose an Affordable Location & Conduct Your Own Funeral Service

The cheapest funeral is achieved by choosing your own location and conducting your own service. It does take a little time and effort, but it is a budget friendly option.

It is a lot cheaper to hold a funeral ceremony outdoors or even free if having a service in a friends or families backyard. Depending on your state, you can have a funeral at a public park, community or senior centers or a location that is special to the decedent. This option will save money on decorations and flowers if the site already has a lovely garden, beach or a scene of natural beauty.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor funerals also offer a sentimental opportunity to commemorate someone who loved nature, fishing, sailing or frequent visits to the coast. Anyone can conduct a service, and there are plenty of free options available to officiate your loved one.

The cost of hiring a priest or religious leader is between $150 to $300. You can save money by creating a personalized, unique service by saying your own prayers, music and by having relatives and friends deliver eulogies.

Skip Funeral Invitations and Save Time

It can be time-consuming to break the news of death to friends and extended family members through phone calls, messaging and emails. Nearly every adult in the United States is an active user on Facebook.

Skip invitations and save time and money by creating a Facebook event for guests to attend. It totally eliminates the cost of mailing and cards. A Facebook event will allow you to add location, date, time and description. In addition to that, you can directly post a status to informed friends and family about your loss.

Consider Potluck For Funeral Food to Save Money

A potluck refers to a communal gathering in which guests contributes to different homemade dishes. Death is a time where friends and extended family outpour sympathy and condolences by bringing cards, flowers, and food to convey support and care.

Food and cooking is the last thing on someone's mind if they just lost a loved one. You can ask family members and friends to bring potluck dishes to save on the cost of catering. Or many free food pantries also provide free groceries, meals, ingredients, and more to people going through a hardship.

Death and Survival Benefit from Social Security

Death and survival benefits are monthly social security payments made to the family of the wage earner who has died, which typically goes to the spouse, former spouse or children. Under some circumstances, parents, stepchildren or grandchildren may also qualify for survivor benefits.

In most cases, the funeral home will report a person's death, but if needed, 1-800-772-1213 between 7am-7pm to speak with a social security representative, with no required appointments.  There is a one-time death benefit payment of $255 paid to the surviving spouse, child or dependent. If you need help in this process, find how social security disability advocates assist with the application process.

 

 

 

 

Death is one of the hardest experience a person can go through. Losing a beloved person is painful enough, and grieving family members are often left with the burden of funeral expenses. This usually results in many on-the-spot decisions and financial pressures on a low income households.

It is common for families to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on funeral arrangements during stressful times. But it does not need to be that way. As mentioned above, there are many ways to reduce funeral expenses.

 

By Jon McNamara

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