A very well known saying suggests there is nothing in life more certain than death and taxes, they forgot to add that a relative picking up the tab on your way out is almost definitely up there and could be declared as both. My Great Grandparents on each side of my Mother’s line had 12 children, fast forward 80 / 90 years and that’s a lot of ‘picking up of the tab’ if you don’t have your finances in check.
Thankfully in some cases, the distribution of such funeral funding is spread across dozens of families. Two brothers ended up marrying two sisters from the other family but the family trees and inheritances will likely pay off any funeral dues. Each year, as with most products and services the cost of a funeral increases and the land available for such interment decreases.
In much the same way as you can buy different varieties of cars, there are many different types of funeral too. Thanks to this you are at least assured that there is a cheaper version of a way to go to the heavens above. By far the cheapest would supposedly be the government funded funeral, used mostly to bury those who don’t have anyone but also to help those on benefits or on low incomes. But beware, not everyone will be entitled to this funding. There are many that also try to get help via the Bereavement payment if you are widowed and under a certain age, but on the face of it seems fraught with complicated terms for eligibility – many reporting they got nowhere near they were expecting.
You Can’t Take It With You When You Go
Most modern day humans don’t believe in being buried with everything they have so they can use it an afterlife and be rich beyond their means. So there’s no need to erect a Pyramid, bury your local territorial army, hoard your watches, jewellery and money or be buried with your sword and a variety of memorabilia.
Society has been set up in such a way that by writing a will & testament you can leave all your worldly goods and last wishes on a bit of paper and those who love you or have been so instructed, will do their best to adhere. However, as we’re more interested in your finances rather than your wishes, let’s see how you can make YOUR money go further and ensure there is more for your chosen charity or beneficiaries.
It’s not easy discussing death. In the same vein it has to be just as hard trying to plan for your own passing. For someone who is seventy or eighty years old it is probably an event that is more of an expectation rather than a bit of bad luck, therefore planning for your own funeral may not be such a strange thing to do. How does making plans for your own funeral save your money?
Hold Your Angels, Saving Money On The Funeral And All Its Parts
Before we look at how to dig your own grave it’s worth noting that at some point in the distant future you will be sat down with a funeral director, being asked a ton of questions about hymns, prayers, readings and costs. It’s not going to be enjoyable but the director or the celebrant will be as nice and accommodating as possible to make the process a lot simpler.
If you have outsourced the funeral to a local funeral service who has all the contacts and which is a pretty normal choice in the UK, then there will be known costs involved. Straight from the off you can compare funeral directors online at sites such as FuneralGuide.co.uk against a raft of different measures such as embalming, the type of coffin or casket, the accessories, flowers, wake arrangements and so forth.
I doubt though that you will be in any mood to ring 20 funeral directors or spend time comparing costs when you have tears streaming down your face and your whole world has gone dark in an instant. Saving money is honestly the last thing on your mind. On top of which you have that guilt feeling of “well shouldn’t I order the horse drawn carriage and get the Queen down for a right Royal send off?”
I can understand the underlying reason for going big or go home but perhaps going home isn’t such a bad idea. Many families for centuries had viewings and or wakes in their own homes, and with the increase in popularity of direct funerals, of which some celebrities such as David Bowie opted for. It is not unheard of, though rare, to have a funeral at home if the location is big enough of course. This would be the largest saving you can make on a funeral, albeit you may feel the need to dress the room in related funeral wares such as flowers, seating, printed hymn sheets and sound system if a large dining hall.
Not all of us live in a Stately Home but if a home funeral starts you thinking out of the box and that costs for a funeral need not be so expensive then it’s a good thing. If opting for a Church or chosen denomination funeral you don’t need to hire a separate celebrant – the speaker and leader of the service, you don’t need to have an open top casket with silk lining, cushioning, platinum handles and diamonds encrusted into the side.
It’s little thing such as getting the coffin made yourself, having relatives and friends send flowers to the Church saving the need for additional flowers. You could even arrange the entire funeral yourself getting Death Certificate and permission to bury and a plot number from the local council, organising headstone, transport but it is quite a task at such an emotional time.
Planning Your Own Funeral Isn’t Digging Your Own Grave
You’re obviously not going to sit there and negotiate on coffin prices with a funeral director. I state obviously as I’m not sure anyone has advocated suggesting “Can’t you do me a good deal, say 25% off?!” Although I’m sure family burial plots are sold on similar principles.
Whatever funeral arrangement you begin to make be assured that fixed prices between funeral directors can be compared. That there are often many different materials used for caskets, coffins and urns, as well as price comparison on cremation. Another aspect of saving money on a funeral is to plan and pay in advance.
This doesn’t involve you digging your own grave, nor do you really have to choose hymns, music, prayers or readings for the service yourself unless you really wish to. Whether you know you’re dying or you wish your relatives, Wife, Husband, children to not have to face the financial concern at such a heartbreaking time, then you can both think of those you’ll be leaving behind as well as save you and your estate some money on the way out.
In five, ten or twenty years funerals will not be any cheaper, inflation sees to that. If the objective is to make your passing less of an hassle on the bereaved, to save on funeral expenses and possibly pay instalments for a year or two then a pre paid funeral is probably going to offer your loved ones the biggest saving over that of a DIY funeral or with a service held at your own home.
Without specifying actual figures as they differ vastly countrywide. If the average funeral costs £2500 today then in 20 years time it could be triple that amount, buying in advance, reserving a plot and services while saving your family turmoil and aggravation seems the best saving to me. You don’t have to be cheap nor exuberant, perhaps just being thoughtful matters.