How Much Do Funerals Cost?

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In the days following the loss of a loved one, funeral planning can add an extra burden to already fragile grievers. Not to mention the stress that comes from having to make a myriad of important decisions within a short period of time. And then there’s the shock of cost.

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Currently, the average funeral in the United States costs anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000. This range includes the services at the funeral home, burial and installation of a headstone. And keep in mind that prices may vary greatly, depending on different funeral homes and their location in the country. Here is a list of some reasonable average costs that are involved in a basic funeral:

  • Funeral Director’s fee: $1,500
  • Casket: $2,300
  • Embalming: $500
  • Using the funeral home for the actual funeral service: $500
  • Grave site: $1,000
  • Grave digging cost: $600
  • Grave liner or outer burial container: $1,000
  • Headstone: $1,500

This list includes just the main items. Other costs incurred could include the fee for placing an obituary in the newspaper and flowers. Other questions that could arise include what type of service should take place, should the deceased be buried or cremated, and depending on which is chosen, what kind of casket or cremation urn should be picked? What about which funeral home to choose—family-owned or not? What about the possibility of donating the body to science?

Costs can vary, but the average cremation is $2,000 to $4,000. Cremation is generally less expensive than traditional funeral services. If no viewing or visitation is involved, and there is no entombment, the remains can be kept in an urn in the home or scattered, so there are no burial or casket costs. Every funeral home should provide itemized costs if asked.

In considering all these different issues, it’s no wonder that most family members have difficulty planning a seamless ceremony, free from anxiety and conflict.

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How to Talk About What Your Loved One Would Want

Norman Fishman, a family adviser at Hillside Memorial in Culver City, Calif., says that since most people are in denial about their imminent end when a loved one dies, that denial is ever-pervasive at the exact time they are forced to make decisions with long-lasting consequences, often with other family members who have differing opinions.

  • Mike

    WHAT WOULD MAMA WANT?
    When mom was sick I sat down with her and said mom what do you want in a burial. She was fine with a cremation, wanted her ashes sprinkled at her favorite place on earth in Texas, would like a memorial service in her church, and asked we sponsor a picnic in her name at the senior citizens apartments she lived in the last several years. She did not want buried, or anything to do with a casket. no cremation or funeral director necessary.
    I paid $645 in Texas for a cremation, and extra $110 cash for the cremation people to do the necessary paperwork, the memorial service ran me $35 for the faith offering I gave for the memorial service at her church. A few flowers were provided, but in honesty I got those for $25 from a service held there the day before – I used used flowers. My family brought food for the service, including brisket, potato salad. cake etc.
    The whole thing cost less than $1,100 – and her kids who were too busy to help, but did find time to show up for the reading of the will. were happy with it.

  • US Funerals

    “Direct cremation” the term the funeral industry does not really want in the public domain – refers to the most basic cremation offering a funeral home can deliver. In other words ‘just a simple cremation’. No services, no fuss, just a direct cremation and the ashes returned to the family. Who then, as Mike states, can arrange their own services at a fraction of the cost!
    A direct cremation is available from nearly every funeral services provider and prices start at around $500. Certain areas are very competitive (especially large metro areas) but in most major cities now a direct cremation can be conducted for less than $1,000. The DFS Memorials network of low cost cremation providers all disclose their pricing and offer one of the lowest cost simple cremation packages in their own area. All are family-owned funeral homes serving their local community. If you want to save on funeral costs – check out your nearest DFS Memorials provider.