Whilst death remains the one inevitable guarantee of life, it rarely occurs precisely as expected. In fact, even for those given exact information and advance notice, death will be sure to take some a little by surprise. This is often because a death does not solely include the act of dying. Instead, a death encapsulates numerous events that must take place after the death itself: for example notifying the loved ones, a funeral, the division of estate and so on. Even with the best will in the world (excuse the pun), most people are unable to plan for every eventuality and ensure that every detail of their transition from life to death runs completely smoothly, for both themselves and their loved ones. During what is already a turbulent time, the price of funerals today tends to be an added stress. In this blog we explore ten of our top tips for minimising this stress and arranging a more affordable funeral.
1. Plan ahead
This is an efficient tip that doesn’t require a lot of effort. Simply put, try to be prepared by planning ahead. You are almost always guaranteed to feel more emotional and volatile in the immediate aftermath of a loved one’s death, and making difficult decisions during this time might lead to hasty or ill-calculated choices: ones that could be considerably more expensive than necessary. If you plan ahead, you are likely to be able to take your time making these important choices, and in taking your time, find economic options that best suit your requirements.
2. Do your research
Just like revising for an exam, your best results will require a little pre-planning and effort. The funeral industry is flooded with options and it will probably feel overwhelming when faced with such a range of competitors. If you are feeling daunted by the prospect of researching different offers, try instead to feel excited that you have so much potential to find a funeral perfectly suited to your needs and budget. All funeral providers are required to showcase an itemized list of services included in their offers, so you can thoroughly review what you will be paying for and compare similar services and costs like for like.
3. Don’t be hasty
Whilst this sounds obvious, you would be surprised by how frequently people hasten to finalise the arrangements for a funeral. Whether it is because of grief, time constraints or stress, many rush in their decision making, falling for ‘upsells’ and turning to funeral providers who are not an entirely natural or comfortable fit. If you allow yourself time to ‘shop around’, do your research and truly get to know the funeral providers and people who you will be dealing with, you are likely to have a far less stressful experience as well create a more meaningful send off for your loved one.
4. Learn the difference
As expected, different funeral services will be offered at a different price. Burials for example are substantially more expensive than cremations. In turn, direct cremations are even more affordable than attended cremations. Take the time to look into the different tiers of funeral service available: what is included in the service itself and how much does it cost? With Neo for example, our direct cremation includes the collection of the deceased, transportation in a private ambulance, an unattended cremation, and the return of ashes in a biodegradable urn. The service is respectful yet simple, and so avoids the additional costs incurred with burials (such as the price of a burial plot, coffin or casket and other potential extras like a minister or clergy’s fees). Keeping it simple does not mean compromising on quality, but instead allows for a far more economical service.
5. Keep things simple
Whilst we are on the theme of simplicity, let us explore it a little further. There are many means by which you might decrease the price of a funeral service and these can usually be found with a little common sense. In many areas, the question ‘can I do this myself?’ will help identify ways where you could save your money. Be it flowers, food, decoration, music, or even caskets and urns, asking yourself if you or someone you know might be able to assist may well lead to considerable savings. Even if you can’t do it yourself, do think about whether a different provider or company might be able to help. Often if you rely solely on your funeral provider for assistance with these areas, it will come at a higher cost.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It is increasingly common for funeral planners to request financial assistance from their loved ones when arranging a funeral. There are many ways one might be able to ask for donations to help fund a funeral service, be it via crowdfunding, facebook groups or simply by sending an sms link to friends and relatives containing a direct donation link. According to SunLife’s 2020 Cost of Dying Report, the average funeral alone costs £4,417 with the total costs associated with dying calculated at an average of £9,493. For many this is a substantial sum, and one which most friends and loved ones would be happy to contribute to, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
7. Purchase a funeral plan
The costs associated with dying are on the rise. Infact, according to SunLife’s same report, the Cost of Dying has increased by a phenomenal 42% since when the report first began in 2007. Due to their growing popularity, the cost of direct cremations is also increasing. Buying a funeral plan today ensures that you purchase a funeral or direct cremation at today’s price, locking in the required services before their costs increase. With Neo cremations, in addition to the financial security gained by purchasing a direct cremation today, you are also able to pay in monthly instalments. Head to our funeral plan FAQs to learn more about our transparently priced funeral plan.
8. Try to be money-smart
In addition to purchasing a funeral plan, you might also want to look into whether or not you can or want to contribute a deposit. Obviously, the more you pay in advance means the less you have to pay at the time of death. Other aspects worth considering are whether or not the deceased’s estate might help cover funeral costs or if there are any other monetary contributions you can expect such as from pensions or benefits. Knowing how much you will have to contribute to the funeral will be a sure way of helping you choose and plan a service efficiently.
9. Stick to a set budget
If you are looking to be money efficient, set a budget and stick to it. This will help you clarify which services are truly important to you, and so encourage you to eliminate any additional extras which might lead to unnecessary costs. Setting a budget will also prove helpful when beginning discussions with funeral providers. You will make them aware of what you are willing to spend and so also what they will be unable to upsell you on.
10. Remember your loved one
Finally, don’t forget who you are arranging the funeral for and what you would like to achieve with the service. To honor and celebrate your loved one, you do not need to purchase numerous additional ‘bells and whistles’. Everything from the anecdotes you share to the photographs you focus on and the location you pick to scatter their ashes or bury their casket will be more than sufficient in helping you build a meaningful send off – and after all, that is what a funeral should really be about.