Average Funeral Costs: Helpful Guide to Funeral Fees and Expenses

Chances are – if you’re reading this – then you’ve lost a loved one. Unfortunately, the cost of losing someone you love surpasses any fond memories you may have had with that person. In the aftermath of their passing, you’ll have to deal with the struggles of funeral costs.

Funeral costs are exactly what it seems. The term is plural because several factors will influence how much you’ll ultimately spend and a variety of things you’ll need to pay for.

Fortunately, keeping yourself informed on how funeral costs work can tremendously impact your outcome of maximizing your budget and getting more for your dollar.

This extensive guide will point you in the right direction of the many questions you may have about funeral costs.

How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

You can expect to spend between $7,000 to $12,000 on average funeral costs. These costs include basics such as viewing, standard service fees, burial, transportation, embalming, a casket, and several other preparations.

With cremation, the average price of a funeral can decrease in the range of $6,000 to $7,000. However, these costs don’t include a monument, cemetery, or flowers.

For awhile, funeral costs have been steadily rising. As the market for funeral homes and services continues to grow since people die every day, the costs have skyrocketed as a result.

Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to spend as much as $9,000 on a standard funeral. If you ever helped arrange a funeral, you’ll know that even a basic one can be extremely expensive, leading to stress among family members.

Continue reading below to explore some ways to save money on funeral costs.

How to Save Money on Funeral Costs

Typically, families often overspend on funeral costs, sometimes by thousands of dollars. Why? It’s usually because of these key factors:

  • The emotional devastation of losing a loved one can ultimately cloud judgment.
  • There is often little time and much pressure to make sound decisions.
  • Most people have no experience in proper funeral planning.
  • Some funeral homes and cemeteries may take advantage of people and put making revenue above the well-being of their clients.

As you can see, there is a lot of time, thought, and knowledge that goes into planning the proper funeral at the right cost.

For example, if you needed a new car, would you drive into the first lot you see and buy a car (no questions asked) just because you needed a new car?

Of course not.

Yet, thousands of families pressed with the burden of the loss of a loved one rush into making ill-timed decisions because they’re faced with strict time constraints.

With that said, here are some helpful tips to save money on funeral costs regardless of the state you live in:

  • Do Your Research – It may seem tedious, but you’ll need to contact several funeral homes to get a range of prices you can expect to pay for funeral costs. Funeral homes are required to give you standard pricing information at your request.
  • Use a Third-Party – Something funeral homes will never tell you is that some items can be purchased externally, such as liners or caskets. By doing some research and shopping with a third-party, you can save thousands of dollars without overspending on your funeral home’s commodities.
  • Know the Law – If you want to purchase a direct burial plan or cremation, you can save a lot of money on the embalming process. The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t require embalming for routine.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Costs – Memorials can optionally be held at a significant place of the deceased or at a private home to save money.

If you decide that you want a burial for your deceased loved one, general expenses include:

  • Casket
  • Gravesite
  • Coffin container vault
  • Basic service fees
  • Transporting fees for van, hearse, etc
  • Fees for opening the ground, entombment, and burial.

In essence, price shopping for funeral services and homes can uncover more ways to save money. There are more ways to avoid being taken advantage of by money-greedy businesses and that entails knowing your rights.

Knowing Your Funeral Rights

As life goes on, it’s perfectly normal to begin thinking about your final arrangements. However, how certain are you about your unalienable rights as a consumer of funeral services?

Specifically, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced the Funeral Rule in 1984 to stop funeral homes from excessive advertising and pressuring families into purchasing services they didn’t want or need.

This rule was established to help families avoid spending money on items they didn’t want. It also gives people the right to:

  • Buy only the services they need.
  • Be provided pricing information via phone.
  • See a full list of casket prices.
  • Be provided an itemized and detailed list of goods and services.
  • Decline embalming

The Federal Trade Commission makes it possible for families to never be taken advantage of in a crisis. Knowing your rights is a fundamental aspect of saving money.

Cremation vs. Burial

It’s common to purchase a burial service for your loved one, but cremation can be a last resort option if you have a small budget.

The average cost for cremation is between $1,000 to $8,000 depending on where you live and the services you choose. A cremation, however, can cost just as much as a burial due to a wide variety of fees paid to the funeral home.

On the contrary, the cost of burial can increase based on the offerings you choose. While caskets can cost a few thousands of dollars, grave liners and headstones can make your total price steadily increase.

Therefore, it’s very likely you can fit your desired funeral into your budget. You’ll just have to be mindful of the costs of any extracurriculars.

Final Words

Funeral costs can vary based on your specific package and where you live. For this reason, it’s important to do your research and know the rights as a consumer.

Doing so will help you save money and navigate the rough course of choosing the funeral service that’s best for you.

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