According to MoneySmart, funerals can range from $4,000 right up to $15,000 for a more elaborate affair, including casket, flowers and burial. In 2018, finder.com.au found the average cost of a funeral in Australia to be just under $7,500, across both burial and cremation options.
Gathered Here, a funeral comparison site, says the cost of a burial funeral has been steadily rising, causing many Australian families to seek out more cost effective ways to cover the cost of a loved one’s funeral.
Lowering the cost
While it can be a tough topic to think about, planning yours or a loved one’s funeral in advance is one way that can help to keep costs down. When someone passes it can be a tight timeframe to consider and plan everything for a funeral, particularly as the family is grieving.
Here are some tips that may help to reduce the cost.
Don’t be afraid to shop around with different funeral homes. Ask for an itemised price list from each vendor you speak to, so you can be clear about where exactly your money is going. Understandably, doing the ring around may not sound appealing after you’ve just lost a loved one, so this is definitely something you can discuss with your family and plan ahead.
Understand the extras
There are lots of extras that can come with funerals, so knowing what they are and whether they’re required is a good way to cut costs. Things like flowers, newspaper notices and cars, while important to some families may not be as important to others. If you still want to use flowers to honour your loved one, choose smaller arrangements. If you want a transport option to and from the service, consider asking good friends to act as drivers for you.
Know your other options
If you really want to cut costs, understand what your other options are, whether you’re planning for yours or a loved one’s farewell. A direct committal - cremation without a burial or service - is usually a much cheaper option. A wake, where you choose the catering (or do it yourself) means you can have more control over the budget. Cremation, even with a service, is generally cheaper than a burial funeral.
There’s also the ‘green funeral’ alternative. Green funerals are growing in popularity not only for their limited environmental impact but also because they are considered the most natural way to honour the deceased without the commercialisation of the funeral industry.
Cutting costs doesn’t just relate to your loved one’s funeral. What about your own? Planning ahead for your own funeral means you get the send-off you want, and helps to cut costs on things you deem unnecessary. You may not want the added extras, you may want something a bit more creative that saves money. By planning ahead and discussing things with your family, you’re able to control your funeral and your budget.
Planning ahead may also mean considering funeral insurance. When you die, covering the cost of your funeral should be the last thing your family needs to think about. Taking out the right kind of insurance can help to avoid your family being out of pocket during their most difficult time.