Let’s break down if cremation could be a good fit for you, exactly how much cremation costs, and how to make it work for your budget.
Why Choose Cremation?
Cost is a big reason many people go with cremation, as it is often the cheapest option. But there are many other reasons you might consider or prefer cremation.
- It is a straightforward and quick process
- It allows you and your loved ones to keep a piece of the deceased
- You have the option to witness the cremation itself
- You can still have a funeral service or a memorial
What is the Cost of a Typical Cremation?
The cost of cremation can vary on many factors, including location, services included, and the funeral home/crematory itself. Cremation prices can range from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. However, most of the hefty expenses would come from services not related to the cremation itself (like a viewing, for example).
A direct cremation is perhaps the most affordable option. This process involves cremating the deceased promptly without a viewing, service, etc. A small additional cost might be the purchase of an urn or a container to store remains in. A family can either buy and provide this container or purchase one through the funeral home/crematory itself.
If you’re wondering, “how much does a cremation cost without services?” the answer may lie in direct cremation. A direct cremation’s average cost rests around $1000-4000 depending on the funeral home prices, state, and other factors.
For comparison, the cost of burial and traditional funeral services typically includes the gravesite/grave plot, tombstone, casket, vault/coffin container, transportation, and service fees associated with preparing the body and paying to bury it properly. This can cost upwards of $10,000-$20,000 depending on what other funeral services you look into.
As we mentioned previously, cremation doesn’t mean that no viewing or other funeral service is an option. Funeral homes still offer these services to individuals looking to pursue cremation. So if direct cremation is not for you, you will have to factor in these expenses. We will discuss in further detail what additional costs might look like later on.
The average cost of a funeral with cremation rather than burial is about $6000. That means it is nearly half the price of a traditional burial. Cremation is an option for a low-cost funeral, and for a good reason.
The majority of the money spent on a funeral with cremation goes toward the funeral itself. You may be able to save even more money by choosing cost-effective options for a casket, flowers, and any other funeral expenses.
What Are Some Other Costs Associated with Cremation?
As we mentioned above, many costs associated with cremation are more to do with funeral and memorial services rather than the cremation itself. Aside from the cost of the cremation itself, you may also consider purchasing any of the following:
- Flowers, wreaths, or other decorations
- A container or casket (though this isn’t typical, you may be able to use a specific casket or pay for one)
- Service fees to the funeral home
- Facilities and staff for a viewing or funeral ceremony
- Transportation of remains, if necessary
This list is not exhaustive, but it does include the most common funeral expenses, even with cremation in mind. If you choose to have a funeral service, you may still save quite a bit compared to the price tag that comes with burial because you don’t have the additional expenses of a nice casket and a plot. You also will likely steer clear of embalming, which can cost more, as cremation usually occurs very promptly. If may be more likely to be an option you consider if you’d like to have a viewing, though.
What is the Cheapest Way to be Cremated? How Can I Save Money?
It can be hard to handle all of the financial nuances surrounding funeral planning, especially if you need to manage these questions immediately after the death of a loved one. If you’re able to think about your options ahead of time, you may feel less stress in the moment. Do your best beforehand to feel prepared and understand what options work for you and your budget.
Sometimes, though, life happens without planning. You might need to make decisions quickly without time to think it over as long as you’d like.
It’s also no secret that funeral costs can be debilitating to those who have to take on the financial burden. The average funeral can be very stressful to handle in a time where emotions and tension are already high. You or loved ones might feel the urge to have the nicest funeral, service, etc. Fortunately, it’s possible to have the service you need for a price that makes sense.
There is no one hundred percent guaranteed way to ensure you’re spending as little as possible. The best way to keep your budget reasonable is to do your research and speak with local funeral homes and service providers. Once you have an idea of the costs in your area, you can better plan what will work for you.
In general, though, it’s pretty safe to say that direct cremation is the cheapest way to go. A direct cremation with no service, no embalming, and family-provided container avoids as many external fees as possible. You can save the cremated remains to scatter if you’d like or decide to store them. Or, you could even have your loved one’s remains made into art or special items to help you remember the deceased.
You may find cremation especially comforting because you get to keep a part of someone you have lost. Also, you could use the money you saved toward something to help you/others get back on your feet.
Cremation is an excellent option for anyone looking for a more cost-effective way to process and care for a loved one’s remains. It’s a cheaper option that doesn’t force you to sacrifice the comfort and appeal of a funeral or memorial service. The remains come home with the family, and you can keep them for as long as you’d like.
You may want to seriously consider cremation as an option for a loved one or even for yourself. It’s essential to communicate your wishes with others or have discussions about these challenging topics. It may be hard to think about, but it can be even harder to deal with the financial strain that post-death care can cause. To make the process easier on yourself in the future, have those tough conversations now. You will be glad you did later.
To learn more about end-of-life care and senior living, click here.
- How Cremation Works, HowStuffWorks, https://science.howstuffworks.com/cremation.htm
- Cremation or Burial? Contemporary Choice in City and Village, SAGE Journals, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-954X.1992.tb03392.x