The loss of a loved one is difficult and life-altering, and unfortunately, planning and paying for the funeral can add to that struggle. Between the flowers, casket and plot, many funerals can cost thousands of dollars. When the loss occurs unexpectedly, you may find yourself without the savings needed to cover the bill. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the costs.

By planning ahead of time and considering all of the options available to you, you can ensure the cost of the funeral is more affordable. Follow the tips below to reduce funeral costs and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Consider Cremation vs. Burial Costs

When considering cremation or burial, you should keep your loved one’s last wishes in mind, along with their spiritual or religious affiliation. However, the difference in cost between burial and cremation can be considerable.

Though many Americans opt for a traditional, casket-based burial, this option is typically more expensive. Along with a casket, a traditional burial requires a burial plot where your loved one will be laid to rest. Without a pre-purchased plot, the cost of a burial place in a cemetery could be considerable.

Cremation, on the other hand, is a more affordable option. With cremation, you won’t have to pay for embalming, a casket or other related services. Urns are also far less expensive than a casket, and you may even want to scatter the ashes at a special location rather than purchase an urn.

Review Your Casket Options

If you opt for a traditional burial, review the various casket options. You may be drawn to “protective” or “gasketed” caskets, as this option could seem like the best way to care for your loved one. Protective caskets are equipped with a rubber gasket to protect the body from the elements after burial. It’s important to note that protective caskets are not always necessary, and they do not preserve the body. They might also be several hundred dollars more expensive, so it’s important to know everything about this option before committing.

More affordable casket options include wood veneer, cloth-covered and cardboard printed with a pattern or wood grain. If you choose a cardboard casket, guests can write, draw or paint on the casket to send their goodbye messages to their loved one. Ultimately, you want to choose a respectable casket within your budget, so do your research on the average cost of a casket to know how much you want to allocate to this expense.

Discuss Embalming With Your Funeral Director

Embalming is an important option to consider when planning a traditional casket burial service. During the embalming process, a mortician will use chemicals and other practices to help preserve the body and improve its appearance for an open-casket funeral. Because this process is complex, embalming can add a significant cost to the funeral expenses.

Some state laws require embalming for open-casket viewings, but you can discuss your options and requirements with your funeral director. If you have a one-day funeral, for example, refrigeration may be a suitable replacement for embalming. Refrigeration is far less expensive than embalming, so it can also help reduce your funeral costs. However, if you skip embalming, you should plan the memorial service and burial quickly after your loved one’s death.

On the other hand, if there might be a long period of time before your family gathers for the viewing and burial, embalming may be a necessary option. If your loved one has opted for cremation, you can skip embalming altogether.

Reduce Your Floral Arrangements

Floral arrangements can be another major funeral cost. Flowers can make a funeral memorable and beautiful, but extravagant flower arrangements can also be an exorbitant cost. Whichever flower arrangements you choose, be careful to ensure they fit within your budget. To reduce funeral costs, choose flowers that are locally available and in season. Some types of flowers also tend to be more affordable than others, so you can ask the funeral home about their flower packages or florist partners.

Pre-Plan to Reduce Costs

A big factor in the funeral cost breakdown is how early you start planning. Planning ahead of time, or preplanning, can help you lower your funeral expenses and know what to expect from the total cost. Preplanning involves:

  • Determining the logistics of the funeral: Next, determine the logistics of the funeral service, such as whether it will be private or open to the public, how long the service will be, what the deceased’s wishes were and where the funeral will take place.
  • Creating a budget: Your budget for a funeral can vary widely depending on a number of factors, so you can use your budget limits to guide your choices. When you start planning a funeral, creating a budget should be one of your top priorities. Having a budget in mind can also help your funeral director create a special, meaningful service that you can afford.
  • Researching funeral services: Do your research to determine what funeral services are right for you, along with which funeral home can provide the services you need at the price you can afford.

Avoid Unnecessary Funeral Expenses

While some funeral expenses are unavoidable, there are some costs that aren’t necessary. To lower your bill, you may want to avoid some of these expenses:

  • Flowers: While flowers can make the space prettier, they aren’t a necessary expense. If you’re looking for places to cut costs, you may want to drop flower arrangements from your budget. Instead, you can request that friends and family send flower arrangements to the service in your loved one’s honor.
  • Burial clothing: There is no immediate need to purchase an expensive outfit for your loved one to be buried in. Instead, you can forgo the shopping trip entirely and bury your loved one in an outfit they already own.
  • Printed obituary: A printed obituary can be surprisingly expensive, so you may want to opt for an exclusively online obituary instead.

Planning for Funeral Costs With Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home

Too often, funeral arrangements are necessary at unexpected times, making your choice of a funeral home incredibly important. At Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home, we will promptly walk you through all your options so you know what to expect and can establish appropriate arrangements for your loved one.

We are the source for affordable funeral services in the Bronx. Our professional services include:

Turn to us for affordable funeral services when you experience a difficult loss. Contact us at Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home to learn more about affordable funeral packages and our offerings.