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What’s the Secret to Saving on Funeral Expenses?

In times of loss, the emotional weight of losing a loved one is often compounded by the financial strain of arranging a funeral. Yet, there are ways to navigate these expenses with thoughtful planning. Kiplinger’s recent article, “Six Ways to Save on Funeral Expenses,” sheds light on invaluable strategies to alleviate some of the financial burden associated with funeral costs. Exploring these options not only provides practical insights but also allows families to honor their loved ones in a meaningful manner.

  1. Know what kind of funeral is wanted. If you’re pre-planning your funeral or a funeral for someone else, get their opinion on the kind of funeral service they’d like. Decide on a cremation or a burial (Cremation costs are usually cheaper than burial costs).
  2. Purchase burial insurance. Burial insurance is life insurance that helps your family pay your funeral costs and debts at death. This insurance usually accumulates cash value and remains in effect as long as premiums are paid. Getting burial insurance for yourself lets you save and pre-pay funeral costs in premiums, leaving only minimal or no fees to be paid when the time comes.
  3. Do the research and compare prices. Do comparison shopping of funeral homes and select just the services you want. Funeral homes must disclose information, such as product and service prices, to customers, including an itemized list of such during phone calls or personal visits.
  4. Choose immediate burial or cremation. A cost-effective option for funeral expenses is immediate burial or cremation. This can eliminate embalming costs, anywhere from $600 to $1,500. Immediate burial or cremation also reduces the payment cost for facilities and venue for viewing.
  5. Go with a simple wake and funeral service. Keeping it simple is the best way to save on funeral expenses if you don’t want to bypass a wake and funeral service. A funeral wake and service can be as simple and as extravagant as the family would like, but keeping it simple could mean:
  • Keeping the wake to fewer days
  • Choosing a less expensive casket
  • Having a family member manage or oversee the wake and funeral service, not a funeral director
  • Skipping a procession; and
  • Restricting the number of visitors or attendees.
  1. Consider donating your body for science. Donating your body to science and medical research is a way to save costs on funeral expenses and also contribute to society. There’s no cost to the donors; it helps researchers learn more about the body and certain diseases. A family can still do a simple memorial service, but donation eliminates all the other costs incurred to preserve, transport, and bury the remains.

Finding ways to save on funeral expenses doesn’t mean compromising on the dignity or significance of honoring a loved one. The strategies mentioned, from pre-planning and purchasing burial insurance to considering donation for scientific research, offer avenues to alleviate the financial burden while still allowing for a respectful farewell. By understanding and exploring these options, families can navigate funeral expenses more efficiently, allowing them to focus on the essential aspects of grieving and remembrance.

Reference: Kiplinger (Sep. 8, 2023) “Six Ways to Save on Funeral Expenses”

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