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Cutting funeral costs

Advice on how to cut the costs of the funeral arrangements. 

Basic funeral

Most funeral directors will offer a basic funeral, where the deceased is collected, placed in a cheap coffin and cremated when a slot at the crematorium is available. There is no viewing and no ceremony/service.

If you want to have a more elaborate and satisfactory farewell event, but still save money, then consider the following:

Tips for saving money

Choose a basic coffin and buy direct from a supplier.

Don’t embalm, even if the funeral director advises. It is toxic and only necessary if the body is going to be viewed for several days without being stored in a refrigerated cabinet, or if being transported long distances.

Funeral directors charge for visits to view the body as this is the use of their time, premises and staff. Reduce the number of visits or negotiate with the funeral director if there are likely to be a lot of viewings.

Not necessary and more people are choosing to donate the money otherwise spent on flowers to charity. If you want flowers, consider flowers from your gardens and those of friends and family. If you want traditional funeral floral tributes, visit Flowers Direct and get a 10 per cent discount.

If you don’t want a religious service, consider conducting the ceremony yourself or find someone within the family to conduct the event, calling on pre-arranged friends and family to give brief tributes and introducing the chosen pieces of music.

Order of service leaflet
Produce the order sheet yourself, or ask a computer confident member of your family or close friend to produce it. If it is not a religious funeral, call it the order of ceremony sheet.

Choose a natural burial, often known as Woodland burial, where a tree is planted instead of a headstone. The headstone is a large cost.

Funeral venue
Have the ceremony or service at home or at another venue. You don’t have to use the crematorium/cemetery chapel or a church.

Transport and accommodation
Use your our own vehicles or get a discount from a local taxi firm. Ask friends/neighbours to put up people who have to stay over, or negotiate with a local hotel. More advice here.

Use a suitable estate car instead of a hearse. The funeral director is likely to have one, or you can hire one.

Pall Bearers
Provide these yourselves.

Grave digging
Some cemeteries or the natural burial grounds may allow you to dig the grave yourselves.

Grave tending
This is a hidden cost of burial. Find out the costs of keeping the grave tidy from the manager of the cemetery or the vicar if it is a churchyard. If cheaper, agree a roster for looking after the grave with close family members.

The reception/gathering after the funeral can be expensive if you have to book a venue and pay for the food and drink. Cut down on the people you invite so that you host the reception in your home or that of a friend/family. Organise friends, neighbours and family to provide food, drink, cutlery, crockery.

Planning ahead

Death is inevitable, so plan for it. To reduce your family's burden of paying for your funeral, take out a pre-paid funeral plan.

Make your own funeral arrangements. Discuss your funeral wishes with your family.

When commissioning the funeral director, use the My Last Song checklist so nothing is overlooked but which can also show where money can be saved.

Use the Funeral wishes section of your Lifebox to help you organise your funeral wishes, and store them safely.

You can change them if you wish. Give your next of kin or executor the access code to your Lifebox so that on your death they can see your funeral wishes and carry them out. 

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Micha V edited on 1 Jun 12 at 6:25am
Micha V

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