Most of us probably don’t wish to spend much time thinking about what the arrangements will be for after we pass away – or for that matter, the same situation for a loved one – but it is something that must be thought about, nonetheless.
Not everyone would have saved money for their retirement that could help pay for their, or your, funeral, therefore, it is crucial to be well-informed on the financial aspects of funeral planning.
How much does a funeral cost in the UK?
Before we jump into the ways you can save on funeral costs, it pays to understand the average costs of one. A funeral costs approximately £4,000 on average in the UK. This price can vary dependent on the type of funeral you want, including cremation and burial.
What are the best ways to save on funeral costs?
So, what steps might you take to help you budget for a funeral? Here are some of the best ways to save for funeral expenses:
1. Discuss funeral arrangements in advance of the person’s death
One of the most important things to acknowledge about budgeting for a funeral is that there is nothing “wrong” with planning a budget funeral, whether for yourself or a loved one.
Some people fear that a funeral that is “too cheap” might seem disrespectful to the person who has departed. However, with the average cost of a funeral in the UK now hovering at the £4,000 mark, the planning of a funeral is a very serious expense, and it is unlikely that your loved one would have wished you to put yourself into heavy debt in order to pay for their funeral.
Indeed, when it comes to their own funeral, some people actually prefer the notion of having a simple funeral or cremation, or perhaps even no funeral at all. Often, this is due to a wish to “not make a big fuss”, or to not put their loved ones in any undue financial distress.
Indeed, even some celebrities who one might have assumed would have had elaborate funerals – such as John Lennon and David Bowie – didn’t have a traditional send-off at all.
For all of these reasons, if you can, it is a good idea to discuss with the person whose life is to be celebrated – before they pass away – what they would prefer for their funeral. If you no longer have that luxury, please keep in mind that a budget funeral can be just as respectful as a more expensive one.
2. Compare the various available types of funeral
As we touched on above, funerals can be approached in a variety of ways. There is no single “right” type of funeral, so it is a good idea to carefully peruse the options to help your consideration of which type would be right for you or your loved one.
It is possible to organise a funeral for less than £1,000, in fact, if you opt for an unattended funeral, otherwise known as ‘direct cremation’ (incidentally, the kind of send-off that Bowie is speculated to have had). This is an unattended cremation service that maintains the respect and dignity of the person who has passed away, and it might be an attractive option if you would prefer to put much of your available funeral budget towards a later memorial event.
Alternatively, if you do have the funds to spend on a slightly pricier option than this, you might look into the possibility of a simple attended service. This is where your loved one will be driven to the crematorium at a date that is convenient for you, and given a short, personal service.
More expensive funeral plans than this are also naturally available, giving you a broader choice when it comes to such elements as the coffin, and providing your loved one with a full, memorable goodbye.
3. Consider a more affordable location for the funeral
It might surprise you to learn that the cost of a funeral is not uniformly consistent across the country; a funeral held in London, for example, could cost over £1,000 more than the equivalent service elsewhere in the UK.
This, in turn, might present you with an opportunity to consider your deceased loved one’s geographical connections over the course of their lifetime.
Perhaps they were born and raised in a different area to where they were living when they passed away? If so, it may turn out that this area is the more affordable one in which to arrange a funeral, while also being closer to surviving friends or relatives who are likely to wish to attend.
4. Take a ‘DIY’ approach to certain aspects of the funeral
This is naturally an aspect of the funeral planning to which you will need to apply your imagination. However, it can also present a lot of scope for money saving, at the same time as preserving the tastefulness of the funeral, and providing a personal touch to proceedings.
Such ‘DIY’ elements could include preparing your own food for a buffet at a wake, or taking some plants or flowers from your own garden – or that of the departed loved one – and assembling them into your own flower arrangement, instead of going to a florist.
Hopefully, the above pointers will have given you some inspiration and helped show that a budget funeral can most certainly also be an exceeding special one. Make the right choice of funeral directors in Gravesend, Kent, London, or wherever else you might wish to hold the service, and you can be even more confident of giving your much-missed friend or relative the most fitting send-off.
James Banerjee is an Account Director who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. He works in SEO on clients such as HSBC UK and Nestle and he has a keen interest in personal finances and money-saving advice.