How Much Does the Average Funeral Cost?

This article provides average funeral cost data for American funerals.

The average cost for an American funeral, like other goods and services, has been steadily increasing over the last two decades.  Anyone that has seen a late-night television commercial for funeral insurance knows the typical American funeral costs more than $6,000 – but is this an accurate estimate?  The short answer is “no.”

Unfortunately, this $6,000 estimate is several years old and doesn’t take into consideration the additional expenses associated with burial in a cemetery and the purchase of a headstone.  Once all funeral-related costs are factored in, the typical traditional funeral service will cost the average family closer to $8,000 - $10,000.  But before we discuss specific funeral costs, we need to spend a few minutes discussing how the funeral industry works.  This will help us understand where our money goes when planning a funeral.

Humanist Funeral: A Unique Farewell and Celebration Of Life

For many people, it's hard to consider a funeral as anything resembling a “celebration”, but this is something that humanist funerals perhaps achieve the most. Here are a few ways a humanist funeral can open up your options and create a unique way to remember someone.

Defining Humanist

For those that don't know, a humanist funeral looks to eschew the religious overtones of a ceremony, instead of focusing on the life of the deceased. For these reasons, many may find it offers numerous, unique differences to traditional funerals. There's a stronger focus on the individual and a celebration or acknowledgment of the life they lead. This is ideal for people who find religious sermons to be impersonal and would rather concentrate more on the individual in question.

Find trusted funeral homes near you to compare quality and prices

Save Money on Funeral Costs by Making Arrangements at a Low-Priced Funeral Home and Cemetery

Many people don’t realize that prices can vary greatly between funeral homes.   Over just the last three years many family-run funeral homes (and local cemeteries) have been taken-over by big global corporations.  These big corporate funeral homes often keep the original owner’s family name on the door so they don't scare away their old customers.  Unfortunately, these corporations often raise prices by 30% to 50%.

Don't just the pick the same old funeral home

This is why you should NOT automatically use the same funeral home you have used in the past UNTIL you check to see if they have SINCE become part of one of the big funeral corporations – as so many have!

How to Choose the Right Funeral Music

A funeral or memorial service serves a variety of purposes. It is a way for family and friends to say goodbye to a loved one. It is a ritual that provides structure and comfort during a very difficult time. It is also a way to honor the life and legacy of the person who died.

Music can support all of these purposes as part of a funeral or memorial service. What makes music so powerful is that it can serve multiple roles at once:

  • Music taps into our emotions
    Music arouses our feelings in powerful ways. It has been an important part of all known cultures throughout history, and serves an important role in our humanity. Listening to music releases chemicals and hormones and stimulates our brains. Practically, this means that music evokes emotions and can set the tone for a funeral service. It can convey feelings that words may not be able to express. Music can connect people with their grief, bring a moment of levity, uplift the spirit, or unblock feelings of sadness.

  • Music provides structure and ritual
    Familiar music connects us with the rituals we grew up with. In many religious traditions, particular songs sung at certain times provide a sense of security and comfort. Lyrics or melodies that we’ve heard over and over remind us of something that we know. The familiarity and structure provided by a song can be comforting during a time of grief.

  • Music conveys a message 
    The lyrics, melody, and harmonies of a song communicate a message to the attendees at a funeral. This might be a message of hope, faith, sadness, humor, or grief. Yet, even though every person at the service is hearing the same song, each person will interpret the message a little differently. In this way, music allows for both a communal experience and an individual experience to coexist at the same time.
  • Music brings back memories
    Music has a unique way of accessing memories. Not only do we remember the lyrics to songs we learned long ago, we often remember associated events and feelings. Hearing a song that the deceased loved may bring people back to a specific moment in time. Bringing up and sharing memories is an important part of the funeral service.