The average cost of a funeral is increasing year on year, with the average burial costing £4,321 and cremations costing £3,250*. Both funding cuts and a shortage of burial plots are having an impact on funeral costs, as the average funeral debt incurred by individuals has grown by 14% since 2018 to an all-time high of £1,990 in 2019*. We have put together a guide with simple things to consider if you are looking to save on funeral costs.
Compare prices in advance
If you are in a position to plan in advance, speaking to multiple local funeral directors can help you to get the most out of your budget. Keep a table of what is included, the cost of extras and the total cost of a funeral that fulfils your requirements.
A funeral plan locks in the cost of the funeral to the current market price. If funeral costs increase, you will not be asked to pay the difference. Before considering pre-payment, we highly recommend researching the pros and cons and deciding whether it is worthwhile for you.
Request a simple funeral
If you want to make sure your family does not feel pressure to spend substantial amounts on your funeral, you can add it to your wishes in your will. Using a phrase such as ‘I would like a simple funeral’ will communicate to your family that you do not want them to spend a lot of money on your funeral.
Consider whether you need embalming
Embalming is a process that preserves the appearance of a loved one. It is typically for families who which to have an open casket. If you are having the funeral service shortly after a loved one has passed, opting out of embalming is a very normal practice.
Should you pay for a shroud or gown?
A shroud or gown will be offered at an additional charge. A common alternative is to have your loved one wearing their own clothes.
Notify the newspaper yourself
Some funeral directors will offer to notify the newspaper of your loved ones passing for the obituaries section. Sometimes this cost can be avoided if you notify the newspaper yourself (if you do want to notify the newspaper). We recommend asking your funeral director about this service and whether it incurs a cost.
Consider a direct cremation
A direct cremation is like a normal cremation but without a ceremony. This involves a simple coffin and there is no need for embalming. A direct cremation can allow you to give a loved one a unique send-off where you are free to make your own arrangements.
Arrange your own flowers
Funeral directors will offer to arrange the flowers for the funeral. By going direct to a florist, you can take control of spend on flowers for the service. You will be able to pick a florist and arrangement that suits your budget.
Arrange your own transport
Funeral directors will offer a limousine transport service. A simple way to save on funeral costs is to arrange your own transport between the funeral service and the crematorium or burial site.
Other quick tips
Ask family and friends to act as bearers – where possible, asking friends and family to act as a bearer will avoid additional costs for hiring a bearer.
Print your own service and hymn sheets – it is possible to print your own funeral service and hymn sheet on your own printer. You can also consider professional online printing services.
Save on catering costs – asking family and friends to provide food and refreshments after the ceremony will remove the cost of hiring caterers.
Avoid extra charges – Picking up ashes promptly can avoid incurring additional fees. Some funeral directors will have additional charges for calling out of hours. Check to see if there is a cost for visiting the chapel of rest.
*Royal London National Funeral Report 2019