Planning for a funeral is difficult, especially where the deceased did not leave express wishes and the family is on a tight budget. Many families find themselves torn between making financially-sound decisions and feeling like they truly honoured the memory of their loved one. However, the thought that lavish funerals are the only way to show true love and devotion to a deceased loved one's memory is mistaken: there are ways to go about the funeral that would still be sensibly honourable but friendlier on the pocket. Read on to find out more.
1. Reconsider packaged offers
As with most packages, funeral home packages may have a host of services/products that are unnecessary, especially if you're on a budget. A family would view such a deal as reducing the hassle of planning, but you end up paying extra for services that aren't essential for you. For example, if you have speedy burial, you may not need to embalm your loved one, and refrigeration costs are much lower.
Before signing that dotted line, request your provider for an itemized list of all services/products the package includes. Carry a close friend along, who will help you objectively assess every item and its necessity. Even when going for a package, feel free to select which services you do and don't want, and then negotiate the price accordingly.
2. Comparison-shop for the casket
The casket is one of the highest expenses of a funeral. If you don't find something you can afford on the floor of the funeral home, ask them to see less expensive options – most places have these in a different room. If you see none that suits your taste and budget, you can opt to buy a simple casket from elsewhere, or make a low-cost heavy-duty cardboard or fibreboard boxes for burial and rent one for the memorial service. Additionally, when assessing your options, don't be pulled in by extras you don't need. For instance, there isn't a 'protective' casket feature that can prevent decomposition of the body once in the ground.
3. Adopt a simple program
Where possible, see if the funeral can be set for a few days from the day of death. Having an elongated funeral program can only bring your costs higher. For instance, you can skip public viewing which would allow you to skip embalming when your budget is tight. You can also hold the memorial service elsewhere – the funeral home charges extra for the use of the facilities – such as your local church or school or assembly hall. Apart from a hearse to transport your loved one's remains, use your cars for transport to and from the memorial service and cemetery. However, most funeral directors will be able to advise you on how to run a decent program within your budget.