When someone you know and love passes away, it can be overwhelming to be faced with planning a memorial service. In addition to choosing a venue, speakers, and musical numbers, you might also be faced with confronting the hard financial realities of planning a funeral. With the average funeral costing between $8,000 and $10,000, you might be looking for a few ways to save a little money. Here are three ways to cut funeral costs, so that you can focus on other things.
1: Consider Renting A Casket
If you are like most people, you might have a hard time wrapping your mind around the $2,000 starting price of most wooden caskets. Although the idea of a finely carved mahogany casket might sound like a great way to honor your loved one, the fact of the matter is that he or she probably won't care one way or the other. However, that person's surviving family members might be able to use a few extra dollars to get them through school or to help with other expenses.
If you are looking for a great way to save money on that funeral, consider renting a casket. Many funeral homes offer high-end caskets that contain an interior removable liner, which can be lifted out later. The liner and your loved one can then be placed in a more economical casket before interment at the cemetery, and nobody will ever know. Believe it or not, this service is becoming increasingly popular, and it only costs about $1,000—less than half of the price of a typical casket.
2: Check Your Benefits
Was the person who passed away a member of the armed forces? If they were, they might be eligible for a death benefit paid for by the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs. This benefit pays $1,500 for veterans who died in the line of service before September 11, 2011, and $2,000 for veterans who passed away in the line of duty since then.
However, VA Burial Allowances apply even if the veteran didn't die while actively serving their country. Depending on when and where the person died, the Office of Veterans affairs might pay between $722 and $745 towards a burial plot.
To qualify for this benefit, the person who passed away needs to have been honorably discharged, treated at a VA hospital, or receiving a VA pension. If you have questions as to whether or not your loved one was eligible for a VA funeral allowance, call your local Veteran's Affairs office, or fill out an application for benefits.
3: Ask For An Itemized Price List
If renting a casket isn't your cup of tea and you know that your loved one didn't serve in the armed forced, you still might be able to save some money on that funeral. According to laws issued by the Federal Trade Commission, funeral homes are required to give you an itemized price list that details how much each individual service is going to cost. Here are a few things that you might be able to save a little money on:
- Body Preparation: Is the funeral home planning on embalming your loved one? Although it might seem like standard procedure, most states don't have laws that require embalming. To save money, ask if you can skip this step.
- Staff During Services: Do you need someone at the funeral home to greet people at the door, hand out programs, and direct traffic? If you would rather take on these responsibilities on your own, you might be able to save some hourly labor costs.
- Funeral Programs: Instead of paying for customized funeral programs, consider designing and printing them on your own.
With the money that you save on the funeral, you might be able to do a little more for the surviving family members, or donate money to a cause that the person believed in.