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How to Plan a Cheap Funeral

Funerals can be very expensive--often upwards up $10,000. While most of us don’t have that kind of money laying around, the good news is that it’s possible to plan a cheap funeral without sacrificing meaning or your opportunity to say goodbye. However, most people don’t know much about funerals and when you’re grieving, it can be difficult to do research. Here are a few tricks for a more affordable funeral.

Trick 1: Look beyond a traditional burial

A traditional burial with a casket purchased from a funeral home can add up very quickly. If you opt for a cremation, especially a direct cremation, you’ll be able to spend much less than you would on a burial with a casket. Burial plots or crypts can cost anywhere from $200 to $20,000 depending on the location and the spot you choose.

Opt for Cremation

Choosing cremation will reduce funeral costs by thousands of dollars and, since 2016, it’s been more common than burial While most crematories require some type of container to cremate the body in, you don’t need to select an expensive cremation casket. You can select an “alternative container” instead, which often cost less than $100. Alternative containers are usually made out of cardboard or composite and are drastically cheaper than a traditional cremation casket.

Select a simple urn

If you do go with cremation, you’ll most likely want an urn in order to transfer, bury and/or keep the ashes. Funeral homes often sell their urns at large markups, so look online to find a wider selection of urns at more competitive prices. You can easily save a couple hundred dollars this way. If you're unable to afford an urn, there are some funeral homes and organizations that provide urns that are slightly dented or scratched for free. Do a quick search online for a free urn to see if you qualify.

Select a modest casket

If you do want to bury your loved one, there are still ways to save a lot of money. Caskets are often sold by funeral homes at very high prices, because few people think to look other places. Additionally, funeral homes will only display their most expensive caskets up front and will leave their more affordable caskets in the back, out of sight. You should understand the general average price of the casket you have in mind before purchasing from a funeral home. You can purchase cheap caskets online by browsing our funeral products section and other websites. Often times, caskets found online will be the same or similar to ones you’ll find in a funeral home, just much more affordable. If you’ve decided to purchase a cheap casket online, it’s important to remember that you have rights. The Funeral Home Protection Rule put in place by the FTC gives you legal rights to choose and use whatever products you’d like without having to purchase directly from a funeral home. If you choose to use a casket you purchased online, a funeral home is legally obligated to use the casket you’ve selected.

Donate the body to science

Donating a body to science is a great way to both reduce funeral costs and do a good deed at the same time. Bodies that are donated to science are generally used for scientific research and are critical to preparing the future medical professionals of the US. If you’re looking to bury someone but have no money, a donation to science is a significant cheaper (and socially generous) way to go. Body donation is usually free and many programs will give families the option to have their loved one’s remains cremated and returned to them at the end of the donation process.

Trick 2: Compare prices between funeral homes and cemeteries

Selecting a cheap funeral home often comes down to how much research an individual does before they decide which funeral home they’d like to go with. Traditionally, funeral homes would request that people came in to negotiate and look at their prices. Now that you can browse cheap funeral homes online and it’s easy to compare local averages, finding a cheaper funeral home is easier. It’s good to consider local averages and compare different options in your area. It’s also helpful if you have a general idea for how much funerals cost before contacting different funeral homes.

Trick 3: Hold a less formal event

Memorial Services and Celebrations of Life

Even an inexpensive funeral service is often more costly than a memorial service or celebration of life. By definition, a funeral service has the body present, which can lead to hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in transportation, location and staffing costs. If money is tight, consider a memorial service or celebration of life (without your loved one’s body present) at a venue such as a church, public park, community center, home, or any place that the person who passed away really loved.

Ask family & friends to bring food to the reception

Catering a memorial service can add hundreds of dollars in cost. If you’re planning a cheap memorial service, ask friends and family to contribute to the food that will be at the reception. Use your memorial website on Ever Loved to let people know about the event and what to bring.Many friends and family are looking for ways they can help to lessen the burden on the family when someone passes away and would be more than happy to pitch in.

Trick 4: Do more online


Publishing an obituary in your local paper will often cost several hundred dollars -- and few people still read physical papers. Additionally, newspapers charge by the line and a standard obituary in the newspaper is only a few sentences in length. Instead of paying this fee, you can publish an obituary for free on Ever Loved. It will be easy to share with friends and family and easy for people to find it when searching on Google.

Invites and guest books

There’s no need to pay expensive printing costs to invite people to the service or have them leave notes while they’re there. Just create a memorial website on Ever Loved and add the event information. You can send out beautiful email invites for free and everyone will be able to leave messages on the memorial website. Additionally, those visiting are able to leave memories and condolences, volunteer to help out, contribute to your fundraiser, and view the stories others have posted all in the same place. If they ever need to get in touch, contacting people is just a click away.

If you follow these tips, it’s easy to reach a very cheap funeral cost without sacrificing your chance to grieve and say goodbye.

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Last updated February 15, 2022
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