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 Express Sympathy and Offer Condolences to a Grieving Friend

You just found out that your best friend’s spouse died. Or a coworker lost her mother. When you hear that a friend is grieving, you may experience a range of emotions; concern for your friend, memories of your own losses resurfacing, or anxiety about what to say or how to help.

Many people don’t know what to say to a grieving friend. Some might not reach out for fear of saying the wrong thing. Others offer platitudes that can do more harm than good.

If you are not sure what to say, don’t let that stop you from being there for your friend. In reality, there is nothing you can say that will take the pain away. Instead of worrying about what to say, focus on how to communicate your support.

grieving friends

How to Help Someone Who is Grieving

  • Be There. Let your friend know that you are there for him or her. More important than what you say is the fact that you called, wrote, or showed up.
  • Be specific. It’s okay to ask, “Is there anything I can do?” but it is even better to offer something specific. “I’ll drop off dinner next Wednesday. Is lasagna okay?” Practical help is often appreciated, as people who are grieving can be overwhelmed with daily tasks. Offer to go food shopping, bring the kids to sports practice, help with funeral arrangements, or write thank you cards. If your friend needs help planning a funeral, check out our information about planning a funeral.
  • Be honest. It is okay to tell your friend, “I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know that I love you.” It is also okay to refer to the loss as a “death” and to the person as “dead.” This helps your friend know that you are willing to talk openly and honestly about what happened.
  • Be a good listener. Avoid offering advice. Instead, listen to what your friend needs. “What is this like for you?”, “How are you doing today?”, “What do you want me to know about what you are going through?” are some ways to start listening.
  • Be accepting. Many complicated feelings arise when someone dies. Not all of them are sadness. Anger, relief, levity, frustration, and fear are also common reactions. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Accept the full range of emotions that your friend expresses.
  • Be okay with silence. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. It is okay to sit quietly. To hold hands while they cry. Just being present while your friend grieves is incredibly powerful. Our culture teaches us to “fix” things, but grief isn’t something that needs to be fixed. Grief needs to be experienced, and being a quiet witness to that process is often the most supportive thing you can do.
  • Be there for the long haul. Newly bereaved people are sometimes overwhelmed with support and visiting family immediately following the death. But a few weeks or months later, isolation can become a reality. This may be when your most important role begins. Be the friend who is still calling and checking in three months after the death. An extra call or visit on holidays or anniversaries is also an important sign that you care.