Have you found yourself in the position where you have to plan a funeral? Accept my condolences, if that is the case. If you have just stumbled upon this post, read on as you never know when you will need the information. Sadly for me, almost five years ago, I found myself thrust into the position where I had to bury my teenage son! Read about some of the plans and preparation for the funeral you will have to do. And if you want to find out the ways I considered preserving his memory, click to read that post here.
In this post, however, I will share with you how to ensure that the cost of the funeral is kept to a minimum (in some cases, even halved). How do I know that? Well, I’ve been doing my research just to make sure.
This week I went back to the funeral directors where I had made the plans for my son’s funeral. My aim was to find out if I had made the right financial decisions or whether I could have done things more cheaply but still in a dignified way. At the time, I had my sister and a friend with me to help make the plans etc. but none of us knew approximately how much the expenses would be. This is where I think we made our first mistake.
So my first piece of advice to you would be to shop around at different funeral homes to compare prices. If you don’t feel up to it, or can’t manage, depending on your emotional and mental state, you may ask a close friend or family member to do some shopping around for you.
As I said, this week I paid a visit to Cooperative Funeral Home to reminisce a bit, but mostly to find out if I had made the correct decisions in respect of the cost of the funeral. I was welcomed into a small, clean and quiet room around a small table with a lovely bunch of cut flowers. The funeral administrator who sat down to assist me was Lorraine Ryan. She was super helpful and a few minutes into our chat, I realised that I could have paid half the price I actually paid five years ago!
One major cost, I found out, could have been cut in half! The burial. I didn’t consider a cremation at all! This is because being Jamaican by birth, it is traditional to have a burial rather than a cremation. I didn’t know then that the cost is significantly less to do a cremation than to do a burial. I didn’t even enquire at all! I just asked about what I knew. And I went with the burial.
The cost for a new grave at any of the two burial sites near me is £3065! If you decide to do a cremation rather than a burial, you actually save that money.
Here’s the breakdown that Lorraine gave me:
Crematorium fee £747.00 Grave £3065
Doctor’s fee £164.00
Chosen coffin £565.00 £565.00
Hearse and Limo £500.00 £500.00
Funeral care £340.00 £340.00
Prof. Services £1070.00 £1070.00
Total £3386.00 £5540.00
If you have to pay for a minister or for a chapel then you will need to add those to the total. Of course, there are a lot of added extras that you may want to add. Of course, these don’t have to be exorbitant costs at all. They include refreshments, clothing for the deceased and for family members, flowers etc. I am sure that you can figure out how you can get those cheaper. In my case, the refreshments were prepared by my friends.
Knowing what I know now, I would have chosen a cremation over a burial. Not that I would want the ashes, no I am not that inclined. But for reason of frugal living, I would not have spent so much money on a plot of ground! So I have made my choice for my own funeral: I would rather have a cremation, save the money for my child or to help someone in need.
Frugal living means even in the case of death, you do not go overboard financially. That is my view on things anyway.
Hopefully, you will not need to consider this any time soon, but chances are, you will. Please share this with others who might not know that a funeral does not have to cost so much. In fact, Lorraine advised that if a family cannot afford the cost of a funeral, they can check with their Social Services who will arrange things for them, if they qualify.