Since 2014, the cost of funerals has significantly risen at a rate far higher than inflation. A study by Royal London has reported the average funeral within the UK is now £3,757.
12% of grieving families struggle to pay for funerals and, of that 12%, the average debt taken on is £1,744. This is contributing to the rise in funeral poverty throughout the UK.
The infographic created by A Loving Tribute below depicts the staggering price variations between English counties and to highlight the ‘postcode lottery’ consumers are facing.
Of those who have taken on funeral debt, 18% agree to spread the cost over a period with their director. 28% borrowed money from family and friends, 9% sold possessions and 21% took on debt from credit cards, loans or overdrafts.
15% are now choosing to not have the body embalmed and 12% hosted the wake in their own homes to cut costs on venue hire.
51% of those planning a funeral stated they were not aware of their directors’ most affordable package. Only 25% of planners were aware of this package because the director made them aware.
Many are looking for creative ways to reduce funeral costs, below are a few creative suggestions for clients.
Funeral stationery can quickly become costly. A traditional order of service tends to not befitting to children, having these designed can be expensive.
Using a template can give you the personalization you want for your funeral order of service while saving money. These templates offer anything from pink butterflies to football themes and you can find some examples here.
For younger attendees, you could also have memory books printed. Less wording and more photos of your loved one will keep their memory alive for children and be a lifelong memento.
2. Funeral Director
You are not required by law to use a funeral director. Directors do equate to a large portion of funeral costs.
However, they do alleviate a large proportion of planning and many would struggle without the use of one.
If using a director, make sure you ask what their most affordable package is and ask them if there are any costs that are not necessary, such as embalming.
3. The Coffin
Coffins can vary in price, but you can be looking at a few thousand pounds for some models. Consider a cardboard coffin to reduce costs.
Cardboard coffins have a wealth of benefits, they are cheaper in price, environmentally friendly in both their manufacture and how easily they can decompose.
They can also be personalized; siblings and friends of your loved-one can decorate the coffin for a truly personal touch. You can lay your child to rest surrounded by final goodbyes and words of love.
You are not required to hire a venue for a wake if you have the space you can host this in your own home. Not only does this save funds, but it can also be a way for attendees to gain some closure.
You can also host awake in a public space, weather permitted, of course. Did they have a favorite park or beach? Why not have a wake somewhere they loved.
Don’t feel the need to go ‘all-out’ with a spread for the wake. A funeral is never remembered for its catering.
You can cater to awake yourself or ask family and friends to help. Contemplate asking for this instead of flowers or cards, those who are supporting you through this time will be glad to help to know they are reducing the strain on yourself.
Perhaps serve your child’s favorite foods, children typically don’t have the most refined palette and could inject a bit of much-needed humor to have adults sharing plates of chicken nuggets and chocolate ice cream.
If you are having an outdoor wake, create a great atmosphere with a picnic. If everyone were to bring their own hampers of sandwiches it will create a fun and memorable day out with no cost to the host.
There is no better way to celebrate someone’s life than with music and the deceased’s favorite songs.
It is unlikely your child’s favorite music was classic church hymns. Instead of spending on musicians or choirs for the service, you can play their favorite music through steaming services on speakers.
This is a great way to really personalize services and not have to spend anything.
Memorials, such as headstones, can be one of the largest costs. An affordable alternative is memorial trees. Many find these more pleasing to visit and look at, they can give a tranquil feeling of reflection rather than a melancholy headstone.
Memorial stones can also be engraved or written on, this can be laid at a resting place, where the ashes are scattered or placed in a favorite location.
8. Use social media
Announcing funeral details in newspapers or sending invitations not only eat into your budget, they are also outdated.
Social media is a brilliant way to let others know of details and does not restrict you with a word limit. It is also a good opportunity for those who are unable to attend to share messages and memories which you could incorporate into the service.
You do not have to hire limousines for transport, you can use your own car if you wish. A hearse is also not a requirement, you can use any vehicle you wish if it has the right space.
One example could be your child’s love of construction vehicles, you can speak to local businesses and see what they may charge, if anything, to transport the coffin.
10. Be Transparent
Ensure all your costs, including any disbursements, are given upfront. Families can struggle with unexpected costs when the final invoice arrives. At an already emotional time, this can cause a lot of stress and anguish. If they are aware of all costs, to begin with, they are able to account for other elements easily and budget the day.
It is important to remember that there is no ‘right way’ to grieve. Every person who has passed is unique and so are their families. Some requests are certainly not considered the norm but if they are practical and within the law then they should be adhered to.