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Sharon Hunter - September 2021

Myth: A funeral will be expensive

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It doesn’t have to be. But even if you don’t care about spending less, you may wish to save costs in some areas so you can spend more in others.

There are a number of ways to alter spending priorities. For example, it’s not imperative to have a body embalmed ($300-$800). You can cremate, which costs considerably less than burial, especially if you choose not to inter the ashes in a cemetery. Instead, you can bury the ashes at home or scatter them somewhere meaningful.

You don’t need to spend large on an expensive casket. In fact, there’s no legal requirement to use a casket at all; you could follow the example of some eastern cultures and wrap the body in an elegant cloth shroud. If you do want a casket, our Great Goodbyes marketplace offers a beautiful selection that won’t break the bank. Some of the most unique and personal funerals used cardboard caskets, beautifully decorated by loved ones. You will also find earth-friendly bamboo and wicker caskets, as well as simple pine options.

Aside from big-ticket items, the small things also add up. Flowers, order of service, hearse hire, engaging a celebrant, food and drinks.

If you’re looking to cut costs, decide what you can do without, or what you can do yourselves. Let friends and family step in to help; catering, transport, flowers, even leading the funeral, are perfectly suited to some DIY. The more you’re prepared to take on, the more affordable the funeral will be.

"Remember, the most important thing is bringing people together."

A big upside to a hands-on approach is that it opens opportunities to personalize your Great Goodbye. The funeral becomes the creation of the people who know the deceased best.

When you have made key decisions you can ask several funeral homes for their fixed service fee. If family are leaning into a lot of the details themselves, you might be better suited to a funeral home with more modest facilities that charges a lower fee. Alternatively, you might prefer a funeral home with full facilities.

Remember, the most important thing is bringing people together. If you’re not up for self-catering but want to gather people after the service, you could ask everyone to bring a plate to a picnic or barbecue. Or perhaps take a user-pays approach at the local pub. Sort out a great music playlist, shoulder-tap people to share stories, and you’ll have a heartfelt and memorable gathering.

For more ideas, read through our blogs on how people gave their Great Goodbye a special twist.

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