Planning a funeral can be a stressful and emotional experience for surviving family members, but it can be even more challenging when finances are tight. If you are hoping to give a nice funeral for your loved one while still remaining budget conscious, here are some tips to consider.
Consider Alternative Methods of Burial
The simplest way to save money on funeral planning is to opt for a different method than traditional burial. The most popular alternative is cremation, which generally costs much less than full burial in a casket because the body does not need embalmed and you do not have to pay for a burial plot in a local cemetery.
However, if full burial is your loved one's desired method, you can still save a little bit of money by choosing options like natural burial, which requires a simpler casket and does not use a concrete lined plot. For example, a wool or grass casket biodegrades easily, and they are only a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand. This is a great option for families who are concerned about the environment but do not want to choose cremation.
Visit a Few Funeral Homes
Don't simply choose a funeral home because it is the closest to your home. Many funeral homes have varying costs, types of services, and facilities. You might ask for what budget options each place offers and compare them. Even though you have a budget, you want to have nice service. You might get more for your money if you choose a place that is further from the cemetery or has a smaller reception area.
Bring Your Own Decor
Flowers are the traditional decor for a funeral service. You may want to avoid a large floral bill by bringing flowers from home or from a local store instead of ordering an arrangement. In some cases, alternatives to flowers might be appropriate. For example, if the funeral is for a child, a balloon bouquet could be a tasteful choice that nods to the youth and personality of the child. You might bring some personal items to display, especially if the deceased had a large collection of decor or was well known for a specific contribution or hobby. For instance, if your loved one enjoyed quilting, you might bring quilts to display instead of flowers.
Host a Reception or Wake at Home
It's traditional to rent a hall or restaurant for family and friends to gather and enjoy a meal while also enjoying memories of the deceased. However, renting a hall and providing food can be a major expense. Instead, consider holding the reception at your own home and enlist family members to bring food items. You might, for example, serve your loved one's favorite foods and ask close family members or helpful friends to contribute one ingredient. This keeps the costs low and helps others to feel like they can provide some service in a time of grief.
Choose Direct Burial
Traditional funerals include a number of services that can increase the overall price tag. Embalming and viewing, including dressing the body and making it ready for viewing, adds extra costs. Direct burial prepares the body for burial but skips the viewing so that preparations for viewing are not necessary. Instead of holding these traditional funeral events, consider bringing photographs for a different type of "viewing" -- everyone can look at pictures that show the life of the person and reminisce together.
For more information on how you can have a nice service for your loved one without spending too much money, contact a funeral home like Hitzeman Funeral Home, Ltd.