How Much Does a Funeral or Cremation Cost?

The cost of even a basic funeral today comes in at around $7,000 – an increase of almost 5% since 2016, however interestingly, the cost of the actually “send off” itself has fallen for the last two years from $2,000 to $1,928.

So, what does the entire cost encompass?

  • A basic funeral
  • The send off which includes venue hire, flowers, cars, memorial, catering etc
  • The cost of professional services for administering the estate

A Closer Look At The Figures

Experts have suggested that the total cost of dying is as much as $9,000. This breaks down as follows:

  • fee for the funeral director’s services: $1,500
  • cost for a casket: $2,300
  • embalming: $500
  • cost for using the funeral home for the actual funeral service: $500
  • cost of a grave site: $1,000
  • cost to dig the grave: $600
  • cost of a grave liner or outer burial container: $1,000
  • cost of a headstone: $1,500

TOTAL = $9,000

It’s clear from these figures that the cost of the funeral itself makes up the largest proportion of the total expense and encompass the fees charged for burial or cremation, the doctor, funeral director and celebrant or minister. Evidence has shown, however, that if you’re looking for a more affordable option cremation is the cheaper choice.

Funeral Costs Around The US

Funeral costs can vary dramatically depending on which area of the US you live in. The prices in Hawaii are the highest of all the states, with the average funeral costing $11,408. California and Alaska are close behind at around $8,000. Mississippi has the lowest prices for basic funerals at $5,166 – well below the overall national average.

The Cost Of Cremation

Cremation average prices are lower than those charged for a burial, which is good news for anyone on a budget. In fact the costs come in at around $3,725 across the country. You’ll also find that the variation in prices is less dramatic between regions.

Even cheaper again is a direct cremation. This is different to a traditional cremation since the body will be cremated straight away after the death with no funeral service being carried out. You can expect to pay around $1,650 on average for a direct cremation which is roughly 50% of the amount charged for a more traditional cremation. It’s unsurprising, then, that there has been an increase in the number of people who are choosing direct cremations over the alternatives as more people are requesting the most affordable option when pre-planning their funeral.

Paying For Your Funeral In Advance

Since 2004, the cost of a funeral across the US has risen by a shocking 112%. This suggests that by 2021, should prices continue to increase, an average funeral could cost more than $11,000. To protect against these rising costs and to relieve the burden on loved ones who remain, many people have decided that a pre-paid funeral plan is the best option. A pre-paid plan allows you to pay for the costs of your funeral in advance, often many years before the event itself, so that loved ones are shielded from the financial burden of covering the expense.

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