(1) Funeral directors will quote you a low price and then find ways to increase the bill by telling you that you must do this or that or by making you feel guilty for not having the best funeral for your loved one. They will add thousands to the price they initially quote you if you let them manipulate you. Stay away from the funeral packages that include the flowers, memorial service, etc. They are extremely over-priced. Funeral directors are required to give you a price list per The Funeral Rule guidelines.
(2) Funeral directors always offer you a more expensive casket, one that is much more than needed for a burial, and is marked up about 300 percent. The caskets they sell range from $2500 to $20,000. They will try to make you feel guilty if you order the cheapest casket and might tell you that a cheaper casket “will fall apart in the ground very soon”, but the truth is that it will not. They also don’t tell you that you can buy a casket at Costco (http://www.costco.com/funeral.html) or BestPriceCaskets.com for less than $1000 and have it shipped to the funeral home within one day. Some funeral directors might refuse to accept a casket from somewhere else or tell you that you must pay a handling fee to provide your own casket, but telling you this is a violation of The Funeral Rule. They are required to accept a casket you provide them or have shipped to them.
Ways to Save Money on Funerals
Federal regulations require that the funeral industry follow certain guidelines set forth in The Funeral Rule (www.ftc.gov/bcp/rulemaking/funeral/). The Funeral Rule requires that funeral homes provide every customer with a price list and follow certain ethical guidelines. Unfortunately, investigations have uncovered that the funeral industry often violates the rules to squeeze more money out of its customers, which is why the average funeral costs about $10,000. You can significantly reduce the cost of a funeral if you know the following:
Ways to Save Money
(6) Many cemetery operators will tell you that state law requires that the casket must be placed in a special and expensive vault to keep the ground from sinking, but this is also a lie. A grave liner is all that is needed and costs significantly less than a vault. Having the deceased buried on a weekday rather than a weekend will reduce your cemetery costs a bit since cemeteries charge more for weekend burials. Get a price list from the cemetery as well, since this industry is also writhe with scammers who try to jack up the price of a burial and there are few federal or state regulations that govern the cemetery industry.
(3) Many funeral directors might tell you that you can’t hold the memorial service outside of their facility, such as your home, but actually you can. There is not a law saying you can’t do this.
(4) Many funeral directors will tell you that it is a state law that a body must be embalmed before burial; however, this is not true in most states. Not embalming a body can save about $1000 off the cost of a funeral.
(5) Do not buy a prepaid funeral plan. These funeral plans are extremely overpriced and if the company goes out of business before you need their services, you probably won’t get your money back. Instead, start your own special savings account at a bank if you don’t want your loved ones to be burdened with the cost of your funeral.
(7) Cremations cost significantly less than traditional burials, which is why almost half of all Americans now choose cremation over a traditional burial. This is really eating in to the funeral industry’s profits, so they try to scare you into not cremating, or they significantly inflate the cost of a cremation and get you to buy all sorts of things in association with the cremation, such as an overpriced urn, to recover some of their costs. The funeral industry sells urns for as much as $500, but you can buy them yourself for under $20. They might also tell you that state law requires you to buy a casket to have the remains cremated in, but this is a lie.
(8) If you really want to reduce the cost of your burial, you can save $1000 to $3000 for the cost of a cremation by donating your body to science. The facility that uses your body for medical research for a few months will cremate you for free when they’re done with your body, and return your remains to your family, but they do not pay for an actual funeral or memorial service.
(9) If you’re concerned about the effect your burial has on the environment, you can find out where to get a biodegradable casket at GreenBurialCouncil.org. “Green” burials usually cost up to 50 percent less than traditional burials.