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Tips on how to save on huge funeral costs – from cheapest day to cardboard coffin

Dying is an expensive affair. It’s the unfortunate truth that most funerals cost a lot and families are often stretched to their limit in order to cover the costs of bidding farewell to their loved one.

But there are ways for people to avoid being burdened by costs that they may not be able to comfortably pay.

The Mirror spoke to Sarah Jones, director at Full Circle Funerals, about ways in which you can curb funeral spending.

Whether it means purchasing a cheaper coffin or cutting back on the floral arrangements, there are many ways for the families of the deceased to cut back at the funeral.

She said: “We would always encourage people to spend money on parts of the funeral that are important to them, and not on anything unnecessary that they don’t find meaningful, consoling or helpful.

Cremations tend to be cheaper than burials
Cremations tend to be cheaper than burials

“When considering your choices, it is important to know how much different options cost before you decide, so you can check that they are right for you.

“Choosing flowers from the garden, travelling in your own cars, creating less service sheets (or none at all) and asking people to bring some sandwiches or cakes to enjoy after the funeral are all ways to keep funeral costs down.

“Cremation is cheaper than burial and there is a big difference in the costs of cremation in different areas. Even within the same area, some crematoria are more expensive than others so it is important to understand the different options before making your final choice.

“Making a funeral more personal often doesn’t need to cost any money- grandchildren creating some bunting to go around a coffin, placing a much-loved guitar in front at a service or adding some walking boots to a simple flower arrangement are all very meaningful, without costing a penny.”

With Sarah’s advice in mind, we have put together some additional tips on little adjustments you can make that your purse strings will thank you for:

Go for a cheaper coffin

Coffins can be very expensive, but they don't have to be
Coffins can be very expensive, but they don’t have to be

There are more economical options when it comes to coffins, as opposed to the traditional style. For example, cardboard coffins start at about £100 and they’re more environmentally friendly.

Host the wake at home

A large expense is often spent on the venue of a wake. Why not host it at home? After all, home is where the heart is. It might also mean that certain people may feel more comfortable grieving in a familiar environment.

Get creative in the kitchen

It can be lovely to have caterers take care of everything but making your own food is always an option. Get your family and friends together and create sandwiches and nibbles or ask each guest to bring a plate.

Pre-plan with a will and protection in place

This tip is a little different in the way that it calls for you getting organised yourself or on behalf of a loved one to ensure that all affairs are in order.

All too often families are hit with unexpected fees and restricted access to estates because a plan was not in place before death. This means that families then may not have access to money that would help them to make the funeral what they want.

Frisk is a free intuitive app that produces a Frisk Score (a bit like a credit score), confirming the level of risk your family and loved ones would face were you to die without effective planning in place. You can click here to discover your Frisk score.

Cut back on flowers

Flowers are a lovely touch to any funeral but they’re not necessary. In fact flowers are becoming less and less a staple at burials with many now opting for donations to a charity or cause instead of a bouquet.

Many funerals nowadays are opting for donations to charity rather than flower bouquets
Many funerals nowadays are opting for donations to charity rather than flower bouquets

Have fewer pallbearers

You can request fewer pallbearers or even ask friends and family to carry the coffin instead if they are comfortable doing so. This cuts costs and also adds an additional meaningful aspect to the event.

Scattering ashes instead of a burial

If your loved one is cremated and your budget won’t stretch to burying the ashes, spreading the ashes in a meaningful location for the loved one is a lovely alternative and can be a poignant family activity when grieving.

Week day over weekend

Like most things, for places such as crematoriums, services tend to be more expensive on a weekend rather than a week day. If you can be flexible with dates and times then looking at different time slots could save you some money.

Exclusive right of burial

The Exclusive Right Of Burial refers to the physical burial plot itself. A smaller expense would be to have your loved one buried with other loved ones that have previously been buried, rather than by themselves. This is something you’d have to look into whether you’re permitted to do so but re-opening an existing burial plot rather than paying for a new one is more affordable.

Weekend funerals are more expensive
Weekend funerals are more expensive

Burial location

If your loved one was not a resident in their chosen place of burial, the cost of burial will be indeed be higher. Opting for a burial plot within their local authority in which your loved one resided will help reduce costs.

Weigh up funeral director fees

Finding the right funeral director for yours and your family’s needs is important but different directors are also bound to charge different fees, so it can be worth getting a few quotes from different organisations.

Material, shape and design of the headstone

When it comes to the headstone, the material, shape and design will affect the price. Granite is a cheaper option than marble and flat headstones can be cheaper then upright headstones.

The design of the headstone is also worth considering as engraving can often cost per letter or symbol.

Travel in your own vehicles

To save money on funeral cars, you could choose a hearse to transport your loved one and organise the rest of the procession to follow in their own vehicles instead of paying for private funeral cars.

If using your own cars, you may want to consider funeral procession etiquette including planning for the professional route and time of arrival.

Tips on how to save on huge funeral costs - from cheapest day to cardboard coffin
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.


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