Broker Check

Funeral Costs

March 22, 2023

Save $5,000 or More on Funeral Costs


If you have been involved in planning a funeral for a loved one you know the pressure involved – hundreds of decisions, a short time frame, limited information on costs, and lack of knowing what is required by law vs. merely funeral home policy. This is a recipe for spending much more than intended or necessary especially when you are in a vulnerable state.

What can you do to avoid this situation? First, request a detailed list of services and costs to avoid paying for a “package” that may have significant hidden costs. Next, gain a better understanding of what is actually required in a funeral. According to Overton G. Ganong, president of the Funeral Consumer Alliance in South Carolina, one significant cost that most consumers assume they are required to pay for is the embalming process. In reality, embalming is not required by law in any state but is only a funeral home policy. An alternative would be to select immediate burial or cremation. If you want to have a closed-casket service, you could choose refrigeration and avoid the extra costs involved with embalming.

Another way to save thousands of dollars is to purchase a casket from a third party, instead of the funeral home. Costco and other online retailers can ship a casket overnight at a fraction of the cost of purchasing thru the funeral home. You may also have the option to rent a casket for the service and purchase a plain wood or cardboard casket for the burial. According to Ganong another area of savings can be realized by selecting the least expensive outer burial container or vault available and never purchase a “sealer casket” with a waterproof gasket between the lid and the body of the box.

While making these types of decisions are never easy, especially when you are mourning the loss of a loved one, being aware of your options ahead of time can help you ask the right questions and avoid wasting money during your time of grief.