Burial Costs


Published: 05/18/2010

by Funeral Home Resource Team


The average burial cost is $6,500, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, and it can easily exceed that amount.

Tips on reducing burial costs:

Plan ahead. Talk about death with your spouse and/or parents. Know what they want and write it down. Make sure your loved ones know where the document is located.

Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission's "Funeral Rule" requires funeral homes to present a price list of services to consumers before showing them products such as caskets.

Shop around. The same funeral package that costs $6,000 at one funeral home can be $2,500 across town. Though prices vary widely, consumer advocates say an $800 funeral is possible in most places. It requires cremation, however, which now occurs in about a third of all deaths.

Choose "direct cremation." Direct cremation simply means that the deceased is promptly cremated, without a funeral service or viewing.

You can have a small (or large) memorial service after the shock has worn off, and you can have it in your home, or your own church, which may be free to use, and in any case, will be less expensive than a funeral home memorial service.

Avoid expensive urns and columbariums. Vessels to store the deceased's ashes can easily cost hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of dollars.