Oct 28

How can I afford a funeral? 

Is there anything more depressing than planning a funeral?

Unless you’re one of the few who is at peace with the thought of the hereafter, you’ve likely put this off for yourself, let alone another person. If you’ve been given no choice in the matter, you could find yourself in a bind. A loved one has died and now you’ve had to ask yourself, “How can I afford a funeral?” No matter how many times you’ve analyzed your dreams, you did not see this coming. Perhaps you’re doing okay financially but don’t have a lot saved for a crisis, or you’ve finally just figured out how to get out of debt. And then this happens. Of course, you want your loved one to have a proper funeral but you don’t want this to set your finances back by years either. Fortunately, there are options.


There is an Alternative to Life Insurance

If your loved one didn’t take out a life insurance policy years ago but did have the forethought to get burial insurance, you could be in luck. This is for the person who, despite not having a life insurance policy, doesn’t want to leave the financial burden on a loved one who is still alive. Be sure to check their financial documents and take a look at any insurance policies that might cover the costs of the funeral. This type of insurance is important to keep in mind if you’re caring for an aging parent or other loved one. Check out available policies and prices at an online site like to see if these policies might be the right idea for you.


Consider Crowdsourcing

Asking others for money is never easy, but people understand that death, like life, happens. Go to close friends or family members and ask for a small donation (or simply what they can afford). Even if every person only donated a small sum like £20, chances are the end result could go a long way in helping you to plan a simple yet elegant funeral for your loved one. There are many sites out there for crowdsourcing these days, with GoFundMe likely being the most familiar to most.


Go No Frills

In an ideal world, everyone would have the funeral of his or her dreams. Perhaps this means 200 friends and family member sipping Irish whiskey at a favorite pub just after the service, a church funeral service with a lot of music, or that every person there wears this person’s favorite colour. When it comes down to it, no one would want to financially burden a loved one to make his dream a reality.

A simple service is more than fine, and you certainly don’t have to buy a casket made of the finest mahogany.  According to VP of Marketing for Aurora Casket Company Mary Strohofer via US News, there are two cheaper options for caskets. A 20-gauge steel casket goes for about $1,000 while a cloth-covered casket is right around $500. Also, don’t let funeral homes upsell you on what’s called “gasketed caskets” to protect your loved one against the elements once underground. According to an article on, “While these special gaskets only cost the funeral home $8, Funeral Consumers Alliance, it could raise the price of a casket by $800, since it’s marketed as a ‘protective’ addition.” Not to mention, decomposition is bound to happen to the body once underground anyway.

Cremation is another consideration that helps to cut down on costs as opposed to an open funeral. According to the US News article mentioned above, “The average cost, according to the Cremation Association of North America, is $1,650, which includes a memorial service. Without the memorial service, an average cremation is $725.” Another benefit of having a person cremated is that the memorial service can be held in your home (or another person’s home) to cut down on the cost of having it a funeral home. You can also do “direct cremation”, which means you don’t have to buy a casket at all. There’s no law that requires caskets for cremated bodies, so you can simply use a box or your urn for your loved one’s body to save money.


Go Online to Comparison Shop

When a loved one passes, we are very emotional, which means our defenses are down. We are likely to go for the first option we see. Despite the distress you are under, take the time to go on a site like Much like anything else, you can find inexpensive funeral options if you put the time to comparison shop.

How can you afford a funeral? Follow these tips and an already painful experience could be lessened.


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