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How much does the average funeral cost?

The cost of a funeral can be intimidating, especially for families that are dealing with an unexpected loss. Nonetheless, it is important to give your loved one a fitting memorial service and the thoughtfulness they deserve. But how much does the average funeral cost? In this blog post, we will examine what drives up the price tag on an average funeral – so you know exactly what to expect when planning yours.


The Average Cost of a Funeral

The short answer is; it depends. Funerals are costly, and the costs can vary greatly depending on your location, what type of funeral or service you choose, and which additional services or products you opt for. The National Funeral Directors Association recently conducted a survey that found the median cost of funerals in the United States was $7,640 in 2019 – indicating just how costly these events can be.

This figure often includes a basic services fee, transportation of the body, and embalming and preparation of the body. It does not often include additional expenses like caskets, burial vaults, flowers, obituary notices, or cemetery fees. Our suggestion – get together with family and a death care professional and let them know your wishes. Are you cremating, terramating, burying? Are you having a simple graveside service or a full traditional funeral? Does your religion require any specific burial rites or rituals? Will you be bringing your loved ones urn home with you or utilizing a cemetery space? Decide ahead of time if there are any options for final disposition that your family feels strongly about, and move forward from there. 

If you know for sure your loved one would prefer something more eco-minded than traditional, start there in regards to planning and telling the funeral director your needs. Once they know what you want your loved one’s service to look like and everything you want to be included, they can provide you with an estimate; at that point, you can talk about adjustments to the services you’ve chosen that can bring the cost down.


Factors that Affect Funeral Costs

Here are some essential considerations to keep in mind:



Depending on your location, costs may be very different – typically urban regions tend to have higher rates than rural areas.


The Funeral You Choose:

There are a variety of funeral rites and dispositions to select from, which varies significantly in terms of cost. From traditional burials with viewings and lay-in services for composting to water cremation ceremonies – the ceremony you select will have an enormous influence on the final expense.


Caskets and Urns:

When deciding between a casket or urn option, remember that these can range anywhere from several hundred dollars for simple models up to tens of thousands of dollars for more intricate designs.


Embalming and Preparation:

To ensure your departed loved one looks their best for the funeral, you may choose to add embalming and preparation services. However, this will add to the overall expense of the funeral service, and embalming is usually not required to still say a final goodbye to your loved one.


Additional Services and Products:

Funeral homes offer many other services beyond simply arranging a memorial service; they can provide floral arrangements, limousine rides, keepsakes, urns, jewelry etc. 


How to Plan a Funeral on a Budget

If you are experiencing financial hardship, there are various ways to organize a budget-friendly funeral. Here’s what we recommend:

Opting for Alternative Disposition:

Usually more affordable than burial services, cremation, terramation, and alkaline hydrolysis may be available in your area and can help reduce costs significantly. According to the National Funeral Directors Association report in 2019, an average cremation with memorial service will cost around $5,150. It is not inexpensive anymore, so looking into other options is your best bet to ensure your budget aligns with your loved one’s wishes.


Avoid Embalming:

This procedure isn’t always necessary, particularly if you’re expecting to have a closed-casket funeral or an eco-friendly service. Doing away with this step will save you quite a bit of money. Most funeral homes will allow for viewing without embalming as long as the service is done privately with immediate family only.


Opt for an Uncomplicated Casket:

A basic, inexpensive casket can make all the difference in your budget. Don’t let yourself be convinced into buying the most costly one available. Some families feel very strongly about a high-end casket, but do what’s best for you and your budget. Wicker and Bamboo are beautiful, inexpensive, and better for the environment than traditional caskets.


Do Your Research:

Funeral homes vary greatly when it comes to pricing and services provided; take time to investigate and compare prices before making up your mind on which one is right for you. Funeral homes are required by law to be upfront with what their services cost, sometimes they even have it available on their website. If the funeral home helping you does not give you a general price list, they are breaking federal law!


Get Creative:

If you’re looking to express your creativity, why not DIY some of the funeral details? You can make stunning floral arrangements yourself or create a heartfelt memorial slideshow that will be sure to touch anyone in attendance. Take it a step further by asking your funeral director to help! That’s what they’re there for!


Final Thoughts

Funeral planning may be an overwhelming and emotional experience; however, it is possible to honor your loved one with a meaningful ceremony without exceeding the budget. By understanding how much the average funeral costs along with the various cost elements involved in funeral arrangements and taking steps to plan strategically, you can create a special tribute for them within your financial means.

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