How Much Does a Funeral Cost? Here’s How to Save Money On a Funeral

Everyone knows funerals are expensive. But is there a way to save money on a funeral while still honoring your loved one? It turns out there is.

Any occasion that inspires a lot of emotions is bound to cost a little more. Why? Because business owners realize the unique opportunity they have to overcharge you when you’re feeling sentimental. That’s the reason wedding gowns are so overpriced and funeral flowers cost a fortune. People pay any price when they’re distracted by emotions.

Here’s something most people don’t realize about funerals: They don’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of smart, cost-saving measures you can use to keep costs low but still follow traditions.

Funeral fund

Funeral fund | designer491/iStock/Getty Images

The average funeral cost isn’t cheap

According to Parting.com, the average American funeral costs anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000. Many people start saving in advance for their funerals in hopes of reducing the financial burden on their loved ones.

This cost is inclusive of all expenses related to the funeral, however, including services at the funeral home, burial fees, and the headstone. This does not include the wake, however, and depending on how many people you invite that can get very expensive. Even if you decide to host people at your home, catering fees may be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

There’s no standard fee for funerals

Funeral costs vary from state to state and even town to town. There is no standard cost for a funeral and prices often vary dramatically. Most funeral homes are privately owned and can set their own prices. However, federal law requires them to provide this information over the phone, making it easy to price compare just by calling in advance.

Holding hands at a funeral

Holding hands | kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

Here’s how to save money on funerals

Not everyone can afford the expense of a traditional funeral. However, there are certain ways you can save money while still honoring your loved one with a beautiful burial service.

  • Collect veteran benefits

Honorably discharged veterans are entitled to free graves and may even qualify for free burials at State Veterans Cemeteries. Sometimes even their spouses can be buried for free, too. Research what your loved one is eligible for before overspending on these services.

  • Skip the embalming

Most people think embalming is something you must do – but they’re wrong. If you plan to bury the body within a few days, embalming can be an unnecessary expense you don’t need, especially if you don’t plan on having an open casket. Embalming helps make the body look more “lifelike,” but it’s not required.

  • Find a discounted casket

No, you don’t have to purchase the pricey casket on display in the funeral home. There are tons of cheaper options available. Ask the funeral director if you can see less expensive options that they might not have on display or check places like Costco or Amazon for even better deals. Casket rentals are also a less expensive, more eco-friendly option.

  • Don’t fall for inflated pricing

You wouldn’t just buy the first car you found without doing research first, right? The same principles should apply to funerals. Bring someone with you if you’re feeling very emotional (someone who wasn’t very close with the deceased is your best option) and have them advocate on your behalf.

Remember, the amount you spend on the funeral is not an indication of how much you loved the person. Saving money on a funeral is often the best way you can honor their wishes. Instead of spending thousands on a single day, take the funds you saved and donate it to their favorite charity.