Jan 08, 2016 - 11:49 AM
According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) national survey, the median cost of an adult funeral in 2014 was over $7,100 before cemetery charges. If you include cemetery charges, the average cost of a funeral with burial will cost over $10,000.
One thing to keep in mind is that funeral prices vary from one provider to the other with no discernible reason for the price differentiation.
Since this is a question about funeral costs, here are some tips to help your family save money during this painful time.
1) Get a Copy of the General Price List
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires funeral homes to provide families with a clear price list, called the General Price List, detailing the per item cost of all items including basic service, death certificates, storage, transportation and planning of the funeral. You are also entitled to review the list of caskets available and their corresponding prices. Once you have these price lists, call around to other funeral providers to compare prices – a little effort goes a long way.
2) Purchase Caskets Online
The average casket costs nearly $3000 at a funeral home! The FTC encourages people to purchase merchandise wherever they feel comfortable, so it is not necessary to finalize the purchase of your casket at the funeral home. Also keep in mind that a funeral home cannot charge you a handling fee for accepting a casket from a third party.
3) Resist Sales Pressure Through an Advocate
Funeral directors are business people and it’s their job to pitch sales. Funeral directors are not clergy, so do not let a funeral director pressure you into unnecessary arrangements. One way to mitigate undue sales pressure during the funeral arrangement is to bring a friend who isn’t in mourning. Another way to avoid undue sales pressure is to contact a funeral celebrant. A funeral celebrant is a non-clerical person who advocates on behalf of the family to arrange and/or officiate funeral ceremonies. Celebrants usually can negotiate better prices or better funeral services than the family can negotiate directly.
4) Take Advantage of Military Benefits
Any Veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable is entitled to burial in one of the nation’s 131 National Cemeteries at no cost. Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will furnish, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world. This can provide a significant savings compared to what it costs to bury a loved one in a private cemetery.
Just as there are many different ways to plan a wedding, there are just as many different ways to celebrate your loved one’s life without allowing survivor’s guilt to lead you into assuming unnecessary expenses. By following these tips, you can have a fulfilling, dignified funeral service without breaking the bank.