Since funerals are a huge expense in a family budget, almost as much as a wedding, one of the things I hope to help you with in funeral planning is reducing costs. There are many ways to cut costs without looking cheap.
Costco and other wholesalers
“I got it at Costco” is one of my favorite phrases, as the wholesale giant is a great source for quality products at low prices. They’ve been in the business of selling caskets, urns, and other funeral goods through their website, Costco.com, since 2004. Retail giant Wal-Mart got into the act when it added caskets and urns to its web site, WalMart.com, in October 2009.
Not only can you get discounted funeral merchandise, but consider the goods needed for a reception: the platters of food, the paper or plastic plates, cups, and utensils, coffee, tea, cases of sodas, etc. Costco is good for wedding supplies as well!
Pre-need shopping around
As I’ve said before in this space, shop around for the best prices on funeral services and products before someone dies. Once you’ve got a dead body on your hands (assuming you didn’t kill them) you are not in a position, emotionally or time-wise, to shop around. Meet with various local funeral homes and get their prices – you will find an amazing variation in costs.
Assuming cremation does not interfere with your religious beliefs, it is among the least expensive options for disposition. If you skip embalming, viewing, interment of cremains, memorial services through the funeral home and other services, a cremation can cost under $1,000.
Donating the body
Giving your body to science for research costs nothing, but it does require some advance arrangements. If you want to have your body dissected by medical students in training, you can contact a local medical school, sign consent forms, place copies with your advance directives and wills, and arrange for the medical school to be notified when you die. Remember that not all schools need cadavers at any given time, so check around early to find where your body would be most appreciated. Most will cremate the remains and return the ashes to the family, if you so desire.
More money saving tips tomorrow!