The issue of cost is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when planning an affordable funeral.
This is understandable. Funerals have a notorious reputation for being expensive. This is especially true if you’re planning one for the first time, as you don’t really know what to expect in terms of cost. As a result, you’re more likely to accept a quote that is more expensive than you realise, which you could have avoided by shopping around.
Another reason why funerals get expensive is because some people are afraid of being labelled ‘cheap.’ They believe if they spend less on a funeral, it means they don’t love that person as much. Of course, this belief has no basis in reality. The amount you spend on a funeral doesn’t reflect how much you love someone. Likewise, it doesn’t mean you love someone ‘more’ if you pay for a more expensive funeral.
With that being said, here are some useful tips on how to have a memorable yet affordable funeral.
1. Affordable Burial Options
While a traditional burial is the most expensive type of funeral, as you have the most associated costs like:
- Your choice of coffin or casket
- Transportation of the deceased
- Burial site – including the cost of ongoing maintenance
There are ways to bring each of these individual costs down.
For starters, embalming is not a requirement, especially if you don’t plan to have a public viewing. Furthermore, the chemical used to preserve the body known as formaldehyde can be expensive and even harmful to the environment.
Secondly, you can choose to purchase your own coffin or casket from an independent seller. Shop around and compare quotes from multiple vendors before you settle on what’s offered by the funeral parlour. Of course, most funeral parlours have their own range of basic and affordable coffins and caskets, which are similar in price to independent sellers.
Finally, for the burial site, you can either forego a traditional headstone or have a small and basic headstone. Another consideration is the location. In most cases, metropolitan-based cemeteries are more expensive, as space is limited. Meanwhile, cemeteries located away from the city and in the outer suburbs may be more affordable and have more scenery options.
2. Affordable Cremation Options
Cremation has become increasingly popular over the years, as they are more affordable and flexible than a traditional burial.
A single service cremation, also known as direct cremation, is one of the most affordable ways to have a funeral. Here, the funeral parlour collects the deceased body, has the body cremated, and then returns the ashes in the urn of your choice.
By doing this, you can host a private memorial at a time and location that is most convenient to you. For example, you may wish to scatter the ashes at a location that was significant to the deceased. On top of this, you avoid paying a venue hire fee and other associated costs.
3. Donate the Body to a University
Not everyone is comfortable with this idea and, while the concept of organ donation is supported by most religions, there are differences of opinion among specific religious groups.
At the end of the day, the decision to donate the body for the purpose of science and research is entirely up to you.
However, there are many benefits to donating your body to a university science department.
For one, it costs you next to nothing (as the department will often heavily subsidise or cover the entire cost of the service). Secondly, the donation is for a good cause, as the body is then used to help train the next generation of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, surgeons, physicians, and dentists.
Finally, once the study is completed, the body is then cremated and the ashes returned to the surviving family. So you can still host a memorial and say goodbye to your dearly departed.
The main downside? You may have to wait several months or up to a year to receive the cremated remains.
4. Consider a ‘Green’ Funeral
In essence, a green funeral is just like a traditional burial. However, many steps are taken to minimise the environmental impact. Some of the most common ways to make an affordable funeral more ‘green’ is to:
- Dress the body in bio-degradable clothing
- Avoid embalming and preparing the body
- Bury the body without a grave liner or burial vault
- Bury the body in an eco-friendly coffin, casket, or shroud – which are often made from natural fibres and materials such as wicker, willow, and plantation timber.
- Avoid the use of a headstone or use a green headstone in its place
How much does a green burial cost? That depends on the type of eco-friendly concessions you make. Overall though, the average cost of a green funeral falls between a traditional burial and a cremation.
Talk to your local funeral director about green funeral options and they can help you implement a green solution that is both eco-friendly and affordable.
5. Plan Ahead With a Pre-Paid Funeral
One way to save money, even if doing so is not immediately apparent, is to arrange a pre-paid funeral.
As the name implies, you pay for today’s cost of the funeral, and document your funeral plans in writing. The funeral director will then set up a secure funeral bond, where you pay a deposit either as a lump sum and/or in monthly instalments. Keep in mind, some funeral parlours have a minimum monthly deposit amount, so make sure you know what the minimum amount is before you agree.
As a result, both you and the family can relax knowing the funeral plans are in place, paid for, and ready to implement when the time is right.
To find out how Funerals of Compassion can help you plan a memorable yet affordable funeral, call our 24 hour number on 1300 906 060. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer your questions and help you get started.