Funerals are a major expense, the annual SunLife Cost of Dying Report estimates that the average cost of a funeral in the UK was £4,056 in 2021. With people up and down the country feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis that is currently gripping the UK, and much of the world, reducing expenditure is at the forefront of many people’s minds. But how can you cut the cost of a funeral without doing a disservice to the person that has died? Fortunately, there are plenty of options to help reduce the cost of a funeral, some of these steps need to be considered well before death, however, there are options to cut costs even at short notice.
Reducing Funeral Expenditure
Whether you are in the throes of organising a funeral for a friend or relative and concerned about the cost or considering your own future funeral and reducing the financial burden on your family, there are steps that you can take to keep the cost down. Below we look in more detail at some of the options for cutting funeral costs. A few smart choices can make a big difference to the overall cost of a funeral, we will consider:
- Pre-paid funerals
- Direct cremation
- Officiant choice
- Coffin choice
- Forgo non-essentials
- At home wake
For anyone wanting to ensure that their funeral is paid for, and that there will not be a financial burden on their family the best option is to pre-pay for a funeral. Most funeral directors offer the option of a pre-paid funeral. You choose the type of funeral that you would like, your coffin, and other details and pay in advance, sometimes even by direct debit over several months or years. The funeral director would then keep all the information provided on file until it is required. You do not have to be ill or close to death, anyone can pre-pay for their funeral.
Many pre-payment options allow you to pay in instalments if you prefer, making it a viable option for many people. Pre-paying for your funeral also offers some protection against rising future costs. It is difficult to know what the cost of a funeral would be in 5, 10, or even more years, by paying now if the costs increase many-fold you and your loved ones would be shielded from those increases. Of course, if in the unlikely event that costs were to decrease you would have already paid the agreed price. Interestingly you can also pre-plan your funeral with a celebrant such as Steve, pre-planning is free with Steve when you name him as your officiant. Contact him directly if you’d like more information on this service.
Increasingly people are choosing direct cremation in a bid to reduce funeral costs. Direct cremation is where the person that has died is taken straight to the crematorium without a funeral service. The benefit of this is eliminating all costs associated with a funeral service, however, it does mean that family and friends would not have the opportunity to pay their final respects. You can choose this yourself prior to death, or in the case of a sudden death and limited funds direct cremation would allow the deceased to be treated with dignity and respect in a more affordable way.
Funeral officiants are an added cost to a funeral service. You can of course opt for a family member or friend to perform the ceremony, which would be a free of charge choice. However, if there is no one confident enough or willing to take on the task paying for a dedicated, caring, and compassionate officiant is an essential cost. A Celebrant such as Steve, that truly takes the time to get to know about the person that has died will perform a fitting ceremony that allows family and friends to pay their final respects and receive a sense of closure.
A properly composed and conducted service will be a fitting tribute to the person that has died, without the need for expensive extras that may appear to make the occasion more special. Taking the time to work with a well-respected celebrant, such as Steve, can be a cost-efficient way of making the ceremony extra-special, while staying within budget. A good way to find out more about a celebrant is to look at their reviews and find out what others have said.
There is a wide and varied choice of coffin, from basic to extravagant. Choosing the simplest option is usually a sensible choice in most circumstances and will certainly help to keep the cost of the funeral as low as possible. There are also modern coffin choices such as those made from cardboard or other eco-friendly materials that can be a cheaper alternative to a traditional wood coffin.
There are many extras when organising a funeral, but if you are on budget you may like to list these out and consider what is actually essential. For example, funeral stationary is nice to have but not necessary. Similarly, the cost of flowers, while beautiful, can cost hundreds of pounds, that when on a budget isn’t essential. You could opt for a simpler design or opt out altogether depending on your budget.
Booking multiple funeral limousines or extravagant transport is also potentially unnecessary, driving yourself or with other family members would help to lower the cost. Memorial items, video recording of the service and premium plot locations are other areas that could be compromised on or forgone to reduce outlay.
Traditionally funerals have been followed by a wake, where family and friends gather to eat, drink, and share memories. This practice has somewhat been curtailed in recent years by Coronavirus restrictions, proving that it is not strictly necessary if budget doesn’t allow. If you’d like a wake but can’t stretch to hiring a venue and catering, why not have an at-home wake? Invite people around to your house or that of the deceased, ask everyone to bring an item of food and/or drink and have the wake without the full cost.
Money Saving Funeral
There is no getting away from rising costs, and the cost of funerals is also rising. Legal procedures and formalities including cremation or burial mean that a funeral is never going to be free or even extremely cheap, however, there are ways to cut costs if you’re on a budget. Pre-paying for your funeral is the best way to protect family from unexpected funeral costs and is something that most people should consider doing.
However, for those faced with the prospect of arranging a funeral imminently there are still ways to cut the cost of a funeral. Considering direct cremation is the cheapest option, but if that’s not suitable you can still reduce the cost by booking a highly-qualified officiant, and forgoing some other traditional funeral elements that are ‘nice to have’ as opposed to essential.