Planning for Funeral Costs

Unfortunately, life comes with death. When you find yourself planning a loved one’s funeral, you want to make sure that you honor their last wishes. You may end up paying more than you expect so it is important to understand the costs in order to properly prepare. The first step you should do is understand the different expenses of a typical funeral.

Costs Associated with Funeral Expenses

The National Funeral Directors Association did a report in 2019 that broke down funeral costs. They took into consideration both a traditional funeral as well as cremation. You can expect to spend an average of $7,200 on a funeral.

- Basic Service Fee: $2,195

- Use of Funeral Staff/Services for Burial and Viewing: $925

- Transfer/Removal of Remains to Funeral Home: $350

- Embalming: $750

- Metal Casket: $2,500

- Service Car: $150

- Hearse: $340

- Cremation fee: $350

- Urn: $295

- Cremation Casket: $1,200

Not all expenses will be the same. You can opt for cheaper or more expensive versions of some of these costs like the casket, urn, burial, etc. However, this list is specifically just for funeral associated costs but doesn’t include other expenses like death certificate, flowers, headstone, etc. The best option for you to find the most affordable pricing is to compare between local funeral homes.

Should You Prepare?

Yes. While it may be sad to consider, it is important to have a savings plan for funeral costs if possible. The best way that you an prepare is by getting an emergency fund going. The benefit of this fund is the fact that even if you don’t use it towards a funeral, you will have a nice savings cushion for an emergency. There are a lot of different savings methods that you can choose when prepping your emergency fund, but a good rule of thumb is to just make one based on your budget. You should take the total money you have leftover after paying all of your bills for the month and split half of that leftover cash into your emergency fund and the other half into your normal savings.

Are There Other Ways to Cover Funeral Expenses?

While the best option is to have an emergency fund and pay upfront, there are also other ways that you can cover this expense. You can use options like personal loans, credit cards, veteran benefits, government benefits, help from family and friends, or even get online help by using platforms like GoFundMe.

When you opt to use a personal loan the best way to find one that works is to get one with the lowest APR that you can find. An APR is the annual percentage rate which means an interest rate. If you are going to go with a credit card, make sure it is an option you can look into. If you need a huge line of credit with a below average score, then you may not be able to get approved. You don’t want to run multiple hard inquiries just to not be able to get the credit you need.

You should first see if there are any benefits offered that can help with expenses. People who have served in the military may have the option to be buried in a national cemetery at no cost. If that isn’t an option, you may also be able to have the Veterans Administration help pay towards a different burial plot. If veteran options aren’t available for your family, you can look at other government benefits. Other benefits include assistance from Social Security as well as some state assistance depending on qualifying criteria like disability, victims of crime, and indigenous heritage. Not all states offer assistance so see what is available where you live.

If none of these options work, then you can look at getting help from family or friends. Sometimes multiple people can pitch in money so that you don’t have to deal with the cost burden all on your own. If you don’t have friends or family that can help during this time, then you can seek help from crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe. You can set up a funeral fund that can receive donations!


It can be extremely difficult and stressful trying to plan a funeral while still being in the process of grieving. You want to make sure that you take the time necessary to either prepare for potential upcoming costs or get the funds you need as soon as possible. Overall, while it may be a trying time, you will be able to get through it.