Money Wasters: Pricey Funeral Services

  • Painful Expenses

    Funerals can be extremely expensive, but you and your family members don’t have to be caught off guard by overwhelming costs when the time comes to commemorate a loved one. In fact, with a closer look beforehand, you might even consider some funeral home services a complete waste of money. If you’re on a tight budget, the last thing you need when there’s been a death in the family is another bill you simply can’t pay. So, even if you’re not making definite funeral plans, here’s what you need to know to keep from spending excessively on any funeral service. Photo Credit: Antonio Machado
    A Traditional Funeral
  • A Traditional Funeral

    The National Funeral Directors Association provides a long, itemized list of funeral and burial fees that need to be paid when traditional services are used. Overall, the average cost of a traditional funeral and burial is about $6,195. In some cases the cost of a casket alone can cost $10,000, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Photo Credit: Phil Scoville
    The Cost of Cremation
  • The Cost of Cremation

    But the overall cost is lower and your list of fees is significantly shorter if you choose cremation over traditional burial. Cremation can cost just $1,692, or maybe much less depending on where you live. And that fact – plus increasing social acceptance for the practice – is a major reason why American families are increasingly choosing cremation over traditional burials, according to a recent report from The Detroit News. Photo Credit: The Steady Decline
    Basic Fees
  • Basic Fees

    Regardless of the whether you choose burial or cremation, you’ll probably have to pay a general fee of about $1,595 to a funeral home and about $233 to the funeral home for transporting the body, according to the NFDA. Beyond that, your family’s own preference determines how much more you spend. Photo Credit: Cliff 1066
    A New Outlook
  • A New Outlook

    If you’re of a particular religious denomination that once discouraged cremation, you might be surprised to find that, in a shaky economy, tides have turned. And a cremation, preceded by a viewing or memorial service can be just as meaningful as a more traditional service and burial that requires several additional fees. “What’s important to keep in mind is, even with cremation, families can still plan a meaningful funeral service which reflects the life of the deceased,” says NFDA spokeswoman Emilee High. Photo Credit: Say No To Turtles
    Memorials
  • Memorials

    Gathering family members for a memorial service could be the most important event to help in the grieving process following a loved one’s death. While a formal funeral or memorial service can be held before any burial or cremation, if you opt for cremation, holding a memorial service at your own home after your family receives the ashes could save you nearly $1,000, according to the funeral directors association’s list of fees. Photo Credit: SashaW
    Incidentals that Add Up
  • Incidentals that Add Up

    Besides not spending thousands of dollars on a casket and about $800 on embalming and other body preparations, according to the NFDA, choosing cremation along with a simple, at-home memorial can also save you on the costs to print memorial cards and formal funeral programs, which cost about $119, about $251 for transportation of the body by hearse to the cemetery and about $120 on average for car service for funeral attendees. Photo Credit: k. steudel
    Your Rights
  • Your Rights

    If you’re planning a funeral, you’re entitled to certain rights according to the Federal Trade Commission. For instance, you should be able to choose the specific goods and services you want, a right that must be communicated to you in writing along with a price list that’s provided by a funeral director, according to the FTC. Also, a funeral home cannot refuse you or charge you a fee if you want to use a casket purchased elsewhere, the agency says. And at funeral homes that do cremations, there should be a selection of containers you can purchase to hold the remains. To find a funeral home in your area, visit nfda.org. Photo Credit: YGX
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