As the economy has slowed, more families have been forced, for financial reasons, to choose cremation instead of body burial when someone they care about dies.  A typical traditional funeral followed by body burial in a cemetery costs between $7,000 and $10,000. A typical funeral service that results in the body being cremated runs approximately $3000. While the trend towards cremation will likely continue in the near future, there are things you can do to make body burial more affordable.

One of the simplest things a family can do is choose a service level known as an "immediate burial".  With an immediate burial the body is taken directly from the place of death (or morgue) to the cemetery. Normally, the body stops at the funeral home just long enough to secure the death certificate and burial permit (and for the family to buy a cemetery plot if they don't already own one). No funeral ceremony is held at the funeral home.

The family can still choose to hold a memorial service elsewhere (e.g. at their church - often for free).  This would reduce funeral expenses enough to allow the family to bury the deceased in a cemetery for about what it would cost to hold a typical cremation service at a funeral home.

Forgoing services at the funeral home will usually allow you to reduce or eliminate these costs:

    • Funeral ceremony
    • Viewing or visitation ceremony
    • A nicer, more elaborate casket
    • Embalming
    • Other body preparation (e.g. makeup and hairdressing)

By choosing an immediate burial followed by a memorial service at your church you can realistically reduce the funeral home's bill from about $7,500 to about $3,000.   There are actually quite a few things you can do to reduce the costs associated with both body burial and cremation. It pays to learn a little bit about the prices and options available in your area.

If you would like to save money the next time you need to make funeral arrangements, you can search and compare local funeral home pricing at

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