The emotional outlay associated with the loss of a loved one can be a hefty enough price tag on its own, and it’s a sad fact that many of us never even contemplate how much paying our last respects could cost in monetary terms until disaster has struck. Falling into debt to fund the costs of a family member’s funeral is the last thing we need in this darkest of hours.
Regardless of how financially prepared you are, a funeral can still pose a significant burden. Indeed, according to the 2017 National Funeral Cost Index, the average cost of a funeral now stands at £3,748. Back in 2004, that figure stood at just £1,920 – that represents an increase of 95% in just over a decade. And that’s before any additional extras (such as flowers, catering or the cost of hiring a venue for the wake) have been added to the bill.
Britons struggling to foot the bill
With funeral prices rising on average 7% every year over the last 12 years, it’s unsurprising that many families are struggling to give their loved ones the service they deserve without falling into debt themselves. A 2016 report from the Citizens Advice Bureau in Scotland found that the cost had increased by a staggering 40% in one local authority, meaning that residents were simply unable to find the money.
While a government fund does exist to subsidise funerals for those in inclement financial circumstances, it is inundated with requests every year and is forced to turn down more than half of all applications it receives. As a result, more and more people are obliged to use credit cards or pay day loans to finance their loved ones’ funeral, with an estimated one in five people going into debt to pay for it.
What’s the real cost?
Why are funerals now so expensive compared to just 12 years ago? Well, many bereaved people are simply not aware of the options available to them and end up opting for the plan suggested by the first funeral director they contact. Others can feel guilty about not splashing out on luxury arrangements, somehow interpreting the money they spend now as representative of the love they bore for the departed partner, friend or relative.
However, it’s vital – especially at times like these – to keep your feet on the ground and remember what’s really important to you and your family. If you have your heart set on a deluxe funeral with all the frills, you know the deceased would appreciate such a gesture and you have the means to afford it, then by all means go for it. On the other hand, if you can’t afford such a grandiose sending off, that shouldn’t mean it can’t be just as meaningful.
Know your options
There are numerous ways in which you can shave hundreds and even thousands of pounds off your funeral bill: choosing cremation over burial; opting for a no-frills coffin and ceremony; storing and transporting the body yourself; hosting the wake in your own home; providing refreshments yourself or asking friends and family to do so.
Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that not all funeral directors will offer the same package, and that your local director might not be the most cost-effective option available to you. At Your Funeral Choice, we offer a handy online comparison tool and free, friendly and impartial advice for anyone in need at this most tragic of times. Get in touch and see how we can help you, today.