Planning Funeral Costs (How Much Is It?)

Planning for the Cost of a Funeral

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Planning a funeral isn’t the kind of thing most people like to think about but the fact of life is, it happens to us all. We will all die eventually and so will the people we love.

We can’t prevent this but we can ease some of the burden by planning in advance.

Some people don’t like to think about planning a funeral because thoughts of their own death or a loved one’s death makes them sad or filled with anxiety. While this is a perfectly natural feeling, it’s still very important that you take some time to plan accordingly.

How Much Does A Funeral Cost?

You may have heard of a common figure going around that says the average funeral costs around $6,000. However, this is actually an outdated figure. The true numbers have gone up due to inflation and you’re now looking at anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 for an average funeral.

That’s not counting anything extra that can (and usually does) come up.

The prices can also vary considerably based on where you live and the funeral home you go through. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of some of these costs.

Keep in mind these are just averages and it may vary by your location:

  • Funeral director services: $1,500 to $1,700
  • Casket: $2,500
  • Embalming: $500
  • Fee for the actual burial: $500
  • Price for the grave site: $1,000 – $1,200
  • Price for digging the grave: $600 – $800
  • Cost of a headstone: $1,500- $1,800

This is just the base price for the things needed for a burial. You may also need to pay for a burial liner, flowers, and a reception/wake if you have one. There could be fees for listing the obituary, too.

Many people are opting for cremation instead and while it is cheaper, there are going to be costs there as well.

Planning An Alternative Burial

More and more people today are actually opting for alternative burials instead of traditional funerals. This can also save you a lot of money. Not everyone does it for financial reasons, however.

Some people choose this because they think it’s better for the environment or even because they want to donate their organs and/or body to medicine.

Today’s consumers truly have more options than ever before when it comes to their burials. This is why we are seeing more alternative burials happening. If this is more your style, it is a good idea to plan in advance since your family members may not know what your wishes are, or how to execute them properly if they differ from the traditional burial arrangements.

Some people are choosing to be cremated and have just a stone placed at a grave site. Others choose no stone at all. Some choose to skip the funeral and have a party with close friends and family to celebrate the life instead.

These options often take out many of the expenses included in the traditional burial and wake/viewing


Many years ago, deaths and burials were always handled by the family of the deceased. Now it is a multi-billion-dollar industry. It’s no surprise then that some people are going old school, back to our roots, and choosing alternative burial methods that are smaller, cheaper, and more personal.

Some things you will need to ask yourself are:

  • Do I want cremation or a whole-body burial?
  • Am I an organ donor?
  • Is a burial plot/space in a cemetery important to me and my family?
  • Will I want a headstone and what kind?
  • What kind of memorial service do I want?
  • Do I want flowers or can they be skipped?
  • Do I want a small gathering or to invite everyone who ever knew me?

Keep in mind when going over these questions that a discussion with your family might be in order. Funerals are, as the saying goes, for the living. Those who have already passed have no need for them. So how would your family want to remember you? What is important to their need to say goodbye?

Discussing what is really important to you, as well as to your family members is important when making a decision about any funeral, but especially alternative options.

How to Save On Funeral Expenses

Whether you are having a traditional burial or an alternative burial, there are several ways you can save on common funeral expenses. If you’re one to plan ahead for things, you can purchase the plot as well as a casket (if you’re using one) in advance. It may sound strange but it’s very practical.

More and more people are choosing to buy their own casket in advance. They get to pick out one they like and their families don’t have to stress about the expense when the time comes.

Here are some other ideas to save on funeral expenses

  • Have the services at the funeral home instead of another venue
  • Cut back on the number of flowers or cut out flowers altogether (many people are now requesting donations be made instead of flowers for the deceased)
  • Have family members put together a few simple, favorite photos or compile your own slideshow
  • Have a family gathering at a family member’s house
  • Serve coffee, tea, snacks instead of full service meals

These are just a few ideas to help you save on funeral expenses. Of course, you always want to take the opinions of the deceased into account when planning and this is why more and more people are writing their wishes for burial into their wills.

Matt R

Hi, my name is Matt and I'm the founder of Barefoot Budgeting. This site is dedicated to one thing... helping you budget and save money.

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