This week marks 10 years since I lost my father. He battled cancer for a year before saying goodbye. A year may seem like a lot to some people, but it really isn’t. Despite knowing what has happening, it never felt real. And, in the end, we were still not prepared. But, this blog is about money and, so, the focus of this post is on funeral costs.
The logistics for my father’s funeral were nuts. There would be 2 viewings – 1 in the town where we live and another out of state, in his hometown where much of our family is. This is where he would be buried.
Before this experience, it never occurred to me that funeral prices would vary much from funeral home to funeral home to where price checking was something that needed to be done. Was I wrong!
Here’s what I learned (and wish I’d known) about funeral costs
Funerals are Expensive
A lot of skill and care goes into making sure that everything is perfect and respectable.
And funeral directors often have formal education with degrees in either funeral services or mortuary sciences. This is in addition to other exams required for their licenses.
Not to mention maintaining the facility, staff, etc.
All of this comes at a cost. In the thousands. The average funeral costs just over $7,000!
Contact Multiple Funeral Homes About their Services and Prices
After he passed, we did what (I think) most people do. We called the funeral house closest to us. The facility was nice and located less than a mile from my parents’ house.
The main services we wanted were a casket and a viewing that would hold about 100 guests. We would also need assistance with transporting him to his next viewing.
They quoted us just over $10,000!!! My family just did not have this kind of money, especially with my father having been very ill the year leading up to his death.
And we still faced the costs of a second viewing – the burial would be at a family plot and was already taken care of by the time we arrived.
Thankfully, our florist was also a family friend. I told her my story and she recommended a different funeral house, which we ended up using.
It had not occurred to me to call other funeral homes.
I really thought funeral expenses were about the same everywhere. Sighs.
The one she recommended was a lovely, family-owned funeral home. The service they provided felt very personal and they did a great job. For about $4,000 less.
In the end we paid less for 2 viewings than what we almost paid for just 1 viewing.
You Don’t Have to Buy the Casket or Urn From the Funeral Home
This is something I wish I’d known, but learned afterwards.
You’re not required to purchase the casket or the urn from the funeral home.
It’s possible to order elsewhere and have it shipped to the funeral home, potentially saving money on the price of the casket or urn.
I was surprised to find that Costco.com sells caskets and urns at very reasonable prices and some of their products offer expedited shipping. Many of their caskets are priced hundreds less than I paid for my father’s casket – 10 years ago!
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely had a recent loss…and I’m sorry. But I hope my experience can help make yours a bit easier.