It’s easy to be blindsided by the costs of a funeral during times of grief and, unfortunately, a desire to get things out the way with as little stress and upset as possible can mean that people end up paying too much and causing themselves financial difficulties. According to the Money Advice Service, an average cremation costs around £3,247, while a burial is approximately £4,267. Clearly, this is not a trivial amount – but if you take some time to learn about the different options and associated costs, you can avoid being overwhelmed.
Burial or cremation?
This is one of the most important decisions to make. Make sure you consider the wishes of the person who has died – they may have expressed a specific desire to have their remains either buried or cremated, in which case this should guide you. However, it’s not wrong to make price part of the decision process: very few people want their loved ones to be put into the debt as a result of paying for their funeral.
As we mentioned above, a burial is significantly more expensive than a cremation. This is because you’re paying for the burial plot and the work taken to dig and fill the grave, as well as the service itself. You still have some options for bringing the costs down, though: a natural burial is often cheaper than a traditional cemetery, and the type of coffin or shroud that you can use can also make a big difference to overall cost.
There is also a service called ‘direct cremation’. This is where the body is simply collected from the mortuary and taken to be cremated, without any funeral proceedings. You should still be able to keep the ashes if you wish to. This option should cost around £1,500, and some people choose to do this and then hold their own separate ceremony.
Working with a funeral director
The next decision to make is whether you want to work with a funeral director. A funeral director will help to take care of many of the necessary tasks associated with a funeral, such as storing and preparing the body. They’re also likely to provide the coffin and hearse for an additional fee. It’s fair to say that most people do not have the special knowledge required to carry out these tasks themselves, so while a funeral director isn’t essential for everyone, it’s a good option for many. Make sure you get quotes from several providers, as fees can vary quite dramatically between providers.
Memorialising your loved one
The final cost that many people like to factor into their funeral budget is some sort of memorial. If you choose to have a burial then you can find a memorial headstone to mark the grave. If you’ve opted for cremation, you can still use a headstone or other type of memorial stone to mark a quiet spot for remembrance.
There will always be a lot more than price to consider when planning a funeral – including the wishes of the deceased, as well as the feelings of their loved ones. However, you should never feel pressured into spending money that you don’t have when there are a range of respectful options available.