Dealing with the loss of a loved one is something that is already hard to handle.Unfortunately, along with the process of grief, dealing with the costs of end of life services is also a part of that process.

The tragic complication to this is that funeral plans often need to be made very quickly, and while it is true that most funeral homes have the interests of their clients in mind, there are some that take advantage of people in their moment of weakness.

Bring a friend

Because grieving can be an emotional process and emotions can lead to irrational decisions, it is a good idea to bring along a friend when you need to make tough choices.  The ideal companion is one that is emotionally disconnected or distant from the loss.  It may sound a bit cold, but a calm head can help you avoid rash decisions.

Take the time to compare

Whether it is due to time constraints or because dealing with death, loss, and funeral arrangements can be uncomfortable, many people do not compare prices or look at alternative options.  Chances are there is more than one funeral home near you and they may be in competition with each other, or one may offer something more tailored to your needs.

Funerals are a high cost expense but they are not often afforded the level of treatment that similar high cost purchases receive, such as buying a new car.  That isn’t meant to compare a funeral and the process of grieving over loss to buying a car, except in the regard that both can be very high cost services.  The difference is that people often spend more time invested into researching a new car purchase but rush themselves through funeral expenses, when it deserves just as much scrutiny.

Purchase your own casket

Coffins are a huge part of funeral expenses.  With costs on the low end around a couple of thousand dollars and rising well above the $10,000 dollar mark, they constitute a significant part of the cost of funeral services.  However, by doing some online shopping you can save a tremendous amount of cash.

Simple metal or wooden caskets sell for as low as $800 dollars and many online retailers even offer free shipping options.  Federal law requires funeral homes to accept any casket ordered by their clients, meaning you have the freedom to make this purchase.

Decide what is absolutely necessary

Decorations, “thank you” notes, memorial cards, catering, and other services can quickly add up to an unexpected surprise on your bill.  You can reduce costs by limiting yourself to certain services necessities.

A viewing, for example, holds many additional costs.  Reserving the viewing room, preparing the body (with embalming, makeup, and clothing), and renting a special “viewing” casket can easily run another $1000 dollars on a funeral bill.  An alternative could be to have a smaller private moment for those closest to the deceased to say their “goodbyes”, you can put the money you save towards memorial pictures for the extended relations.

Apply for aid

Many people are living in a low income situation and require assistance.  There are many county, state, and federal programs available to help people in their time of need.  Local county programs may offer assistance for funeral costs and social security may assist if the deceased meets certain qualifications.

If you take the time to plan ahead, consider the options you have available, and approach the situation with a clear head, then you can make better decisions.  You don’t have to be alone during your time, reach out and you will find others willing to help.

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