10 Tips for Planning a More Cost-Effective Funeral

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10 Tips for Planning a More Cost-Effective Funeral

Published: 25.11.2022

It's no secret that funerals have become increasingly expensive over the years. With the current cost-of-living crisis, many families are finding it difficult to afford a traditional funeral service. If you're looking for ways to plan a more cost-effective funeral, you've come to the right place.

In this blog post, we share 10 tips that will help reduce the cost of your funeral without compromising on quality or dignity.

10. Make Your Own Flowers, Decorations, Music or Poetry

If you, members of your family or your friends are fairly creative, hands-on, handy types, then a way to save money on a funeral is by making your own flowers and decorations.

For the less creatively able of us - fear not; the sprinkling of real or paper (biodegradable) petals at the grave-side, can be a breathtaking touch. You should always check with your funeral director that the scattering of flower petals this is permitted in the place of interment is due to take place.

Another way to add a personal touch as well as help process your grief is to work with a charitable organisation such as The Swan Song Project. Swan Song will work with terminally ill patients and bereaved people, to create a piece of music or poetry which can be read or played at the funeral.

The beauty of The Swan Song Project is you don’t have to be musically gifted to make something beautiful, this form of creativity really can help with the grieving process, you or your loved one will produce a tangible work that can be treasured for generations and it’s free, although a donation this wonderful charity is always welcome.

Producing your own floristry, craftwork, music or poetry can be a wonderful way to personalise the service and add your very own special touch.

9. Take Advantage of Online Prices

Shop online for funeral day or post funeral items such as sympathy gifts, funeral favours, memorial candles, jewellery, keepsakes and funeral related stationery to save money. There are lots of good online funeral care and sympathy gift providers online – compare prices and find the best deals..

We have partnered with Angel & Dove, to give our friends and families a handy discount on online purchases. Apply the 10% discount code: GFS10 to your basket before you check out.

With a few clicks, you can make sure your loved one has the send-off they deserve.

8. Consider the Funeral or Memorial Service Venue

If a cremation or burial is provided by a council or local authority, then the timed use of a chapel within the crematoria or cemetery grounds may well be included with the cost of interment.

Ask your funeral director about the availability of the appropriate municipal chapel.

Alternatively, your place of worship may have a community hall available. A community space would be ideal for a funeral service and most certainly for a memorial service. A smaller non-religious space, available to hire and belonging to your place of worship, could tick all the right boxes for you and reduce your costs at the same time.

Alternatively - if you're comfortable with it, rather than hiring a place of worship or formal event space, you could have the funeral service or memorial service at home instead .

Hosting a funeral or memorial at home can be a more personal and intimate setting for friends and family, and it can also save on costs.

If you're interested in having a service at home, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, you'll need to make sure you have enough space for all of your guests. You'll also need to think about the logistics of serving food and drinks. And, of course, you'll want to create a memorable and fitting tribute to your loved one.

With a little planning, you can make sure your at-home service is a beautiful and dignified affair. We are happy to give you advice on all these considerations as part of our service.

7. Ask For Help From Family and Friends

It's never easy to lose a loved one. Asking family and friends to help out with funeral arrangements can be daunting. But, it's important to remember that you're not alone.

There are plenty of people who will be willing and able to help you through this tough time. So, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for support – family and friends (even neighbours and work colleagues) often want to help in times of grief.

It's important to have a support system during this tough time, and it'll take some of the burden off of you.

6. Simplify the Service

With a traditional funeral service, there are many added service costs that can increase the price. However, with a more simple service or a direct cremation followed by a memorial service at a later date, these added services are not necessary and will be far less expensive than a traditional funeral service.

A family member or friend is usually well placed to lead a funeral service because the person who has died was personally known and liked by them. Love and friendship will always add a level of intimacy, which would be difficult for a minister of religion or a celebrant to convey.

With that said, by its very nature, a funeral service is an emotional affair, so you’d have to be certain that whoever you choose, can hold their nerve long enough to be clear and capable for the duration of the service.

Remember, a scaled down funeral service can still be a beautiful and meaningful way to say goodbye to a loved one.

5. Avoid Luxury Extras

To save money on a funeral, avoid extras such as flowers, catering, and transportation. Instead, focus on the essentials to keep costs down.

Items such a solid wood or metal coffin or casket, funeral limousines, elaborate floral tributes and a lavish, professionally catered reception after the funeral, can all add up.

Ask your funeral director if they can provide an artificial floral spray for the coffin. Rather than hire limousines, ask friends or family members if they would drive and/or car share on the day of the funeral. Consider a small gathering for the funeral reception and have it at home. Ask friends and family to help with food and refreshments; if you or someone you know has membership, you can often purchase food and sandwich platters from the larger wholesale warehouses; or you could simplify or scale back on the amount you’d originally planned to purchase from your caterer.

By reducing or removing some of the added extras, you are more likely to stay within a modest budget and with the guidance of a good funeral director, you will still give your loved one a dignified send-off.

We are always happy to work with families to plan a service that is both dignified, affordable and stays within their budget.

4. Consider a DIY Funeral

If you are a highly organised and capable individual or have a collaborative and coordinated family group, then a DIY funeral may be the right solution for you.

The arrangement of a traditional funeral can be expensive, but with a DIY funeral you can take care of everything yourself and keep costs to a minimum.

Providing you have permission to use an interior space that is appropriate for storage and allows for proper access, then a DIY funeral could be the answer you’re looking for. Our DIY Support Service will take care of the lifting and transportation of your loved-one, leaving you the space to say goodbye in your own unique way.

3. Consider a Basic Coffin or Casket

There are a wide variety of coffins and caskets available to fit every funeral budget. For example, a basic foil or veneered coffin will be much cheaper than a solid wood or highly decorated coffin (or casket).

With that said however, it is important to remember that the coffin is one of the most important decisions you will make during the funeral planning process and a coffin must be fit for purpose.

We would always recommend that you purchase a coffin or casket from a funeral director and not from an online retailer. Your funeral director will advise correctly on factors that an online retailer will not.

Your funeral director will have an accurate understanding of factors such as; the correct coffin size, the correct load capacity, regulations concerning the manufacture and materials accepted by a particular crematoria, churchyard or cemetery; the inclusion of a lining and essential fixtures and fitting - that are suited to the type of interment (eg. metal fixtures and fittings are not allowed for cremations); and even delivery. What happens if your internet purchase doesn’t arrive with the funeral director in time for the funeral?

With so much room for error, most funeral directors will only use a supplier who is known to them and trusted by them. So don’t be offended if your funeral director won’t accept your online coffin purchase.

Take your time to research all of your options and choose the one that is right for you and your loved one. Remember, purchasing the most modest coffin your funeral director has to offer, will give you peace of mind - without breaking the bank.

2. Consider Cremation Over Burial

The cost of a burial can be significantly higher than the cost of cremation.

Of the two main interment options - burial and cremation; many people are now opting for cremation.

Cremation is generally less expensive than a burial, booking times and dates are often more numerous for cremation - making it easier to book a convenient time and date for family members.

Cremation offers more flexibility when deciding what to do with the ashes. Purchasing an interment space is optional, as is the purchase of a permanent memorial. Alternatively, you can scatter the ashes, inter them (with permission from the landowner) or keep them in an urn.

Some people choose to divide the ashes and share them amongst loved-ones or even have the ashes made into diamonds, fireworks, vinyl records, oil paintings or tattoos.

In short, cremation brings with it lots of possibility and allows you time to save, so that memorialisation can take place at your own pace - months or even years after the funeral.

So, if you're considering your options after a loved one passes away, don't forget to factor in cremation as a respectful and cost-effective possibility.

1. Compare Prices...but Don't Forget Professional Memberships and Reviews

It's important to shop around and compare prices before making any decisions. Review funeral directors’ online Standardised Price Lists from the comfort of your own home and don't be afraid to ask for quotes from different companies. It's often when making direct comparisons, that people notice the big high-street names are not always as competitive as their local independent.

In 2021, the Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA), made it a legal requirement for all Funeral Directors in the UK to display their prices - on a Standardised Price List and Crematoria Price List displayed on their company website and on the premises.

These price lists must be clearly titled “Standardised Price List” and “Crematoria Price List” at the top and follow a standardised format and layout.

This pricing structure is designed to provide clear, easily comparable price and service information - across all funeral directors and is for the protection of vulnerable, bereaved people.

Click to view our Standardised Price List and Crematoria Price List.

If a funeral director does not display a Standardised Price List, you should ask yourself why that might be…

When considering your budget, price is important but so is your confidence as a consumer. When considering a funeral director - their membership of a reputable industry trade association such as the NAFD and SAIF should also be of paramount importance to you also. Membership confirms that they will have undergone company assessments, inspection of premises, a pledge to uphold professional standards, to follow a code of conduct and to remain accountable a recognised professional body. Professional membership protects you as a bereaved individual and as a consumer.

Reviews and testimonials are important too. Ask friends and family for personal recommendations, and check reputable online sites such as Funeral Guide for reviews of a company's service and price.

Purchasing a funeral is an important decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. If you’ve never used a funeral director before it's important to do your research and compare prices before making a commitment.

A professional funeral director will be happy to guide you through their services, products, prices and help you to find something to suit your needs and your pocket. You should feel comfortable enough to ask questions and never feel pressured by a funeral director.

Don't be afraid to take your time when considering a funeral purchase. Make sure you understand all the options before moving forward.

It can be tough to say goodbye to a loved one, but avoiding unnecessary extras and carefully considering all of your options, you can save money while still providing your loved one with a dignified, fitting and affordable funeral.

A Little, Extra Final Tip

Get to know your local funeral director before you come to need them.

See if they are recommended and appear in The Good Funeral Guide directory, follow them on social media, contact them for more information about their services, visit their stall at local events such as Dying Matters or Death Cafes.

Why? Because you never know what might happen in the future and a little advance preparation could save you a little money and a lot of disappointment.

We hope you would never encounter a sudden or unexpected death, however, in the event of such an event - where both the next-of-kin and the Police are present, the Police should in the first instance, ask the next-of-kin to nominate a funeral director. If the next-of-kin doesn't know in advance who they wish to use, the Police will appoint a funeral director of their choosing on behalf of the family.

This is important to know because if (after the person who has died has been collected by the Police nominated funeral director) the next-of-kin wishes to appoint another funeral director, they will either incur two collection fees (one from each funeral director) or they will be forced to stay with a funeral director they didn't want.

We hope these tips have been helpful. Thank you for reading and please get in touch if you want any help with these issues

Tel: +44 (0) 113 210 7998

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Our professional team at Gooding Funeral Services is always on-hand to help in your time of need.

Hugh Gooding Funeral Services Limited trading as Gooding Funeral Services, is an appointed representative of Golden Charter Limited trading as Golden Charter Funeral Plans, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN:965279).

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