How to plan a funeral on a budget

15 August 2015

There are a number of things you can do to keep funeral costs down, such as choosing a less expensive coffin or urn, and preparing the food yourself instead of hiring a caterer.

How to plan a funeral on a budget

Top tips for keeping funeral costs down

It’s important to remember that funerals are customisable, so you can choose what you want within your budget. That means that there are some really easy ways to cut the costs when planning either your own or a loved one’s funeral. Here are our top 5 tips on how to do so:

1. Location

The cost of funerals certainly varies across the country, so it is worth researching and getting quotes for different options. It is definitely worth considering a service in a different location, especially if a loved one has a connection or affiliation with the place. For example, a funeral in London can be over £1,000 more than in the South East of England.

If your loved one was born and raised in a different area to the place they lived when they passed away, compare the costs in the two areas. If there are more friends and family in the place they originally lived, consider holding the funeral there. As well as keeping funeral costs down, it would make transportation easier for the majority of mourners.

Also, consider the time of the service. For example, if you are arranging a cremation, ask if there is a crematorium in the area that operates reduced rates for early morning services. If you have chosen a burial, consider using an existing family grave instead of purchasing a new one.

2. Get organised

From the outset, the more organised you can be with funeral planning, the more money you can save.

Try to be clear at the outset on your requirements. For example, before going to register the death, be clear as to how many copies of the certificate you really need to avoid paying for copies you do not need.

Managing the cost by having a plan in place before you or a loved one passes means that you can keep the expenditure down.

One way to do this is a pre-paid funeral plan, which means the process and cost won’t be such a burden on your family members. It also ensures you have time to compare options and get the funeral you really want. Although it's often unpleasant to think about what might happen after you die, it can be a huge comfort to have plans in place in advance.

3. Compare everything

Before booking anything, make sure you compare options. Ensure that you are getting the best possible deal to enable you to keep the costs down. This ranges from the service supplier, to florists or caterers. Your funeral director can advise on local options.

4. Do it yourself

One of the best ways to keep costs down is to do anything that you are able to yourselves. If you can make your own food for a buffet at a wake, then you can certainly save money on the catering side of things.

The same thing can be said for flower arrangements, which can often take a chunk of your budget. If you’ve got some flowers or plants in your garden, put them together for your very own DIY flower arrangement.

Displaying items such as photos and other meaningful items can help personalise a funeral without adding additional cost. Also, instead of paid for press notices use social networks to circulate details of funeral arrangements.

There are certain costs, such as the death certificate, that you cannot avoid, but through cutting the unnecessary costs, you can trim the cost of a funeral. Here are some simple tips:

  • Opt for a simple urn and a basic coffin rather than more elaborate or expensive versions. 
  • Consider having one floral tribute from all of the family, with each member writing their own card. 
  • Let the funeral director provide the hearse but provide your own cars for family and friends. 
  • If you would like the coffin carried in and have family members willing, provide your own bearers and ask the funeral director if they will make a reduction on staff costs. 
  • Costs such as limo hire, flowers, death and funeral notices, order of services and catering can easily be cut or scaled back, whilst still ensuring the most respectful day possible for your loved one.