How to Save Money on Your Funeral

Shop Smart as You Do With Other Major Purchases

Making funeral arrangements is never easy, and often, funeral planners feel like they have no control over the process. But a little research can go a long way to ensure your loved one gets the care they deserve. A funeral is a large purchase, and like other large purchases - like buying a new house or car - the more you know, the better you can feel about your decision. When making funeral arrangements, gather as much information about your area funeral homes as possible. You may start by finding out the services offered by each funeral home, along with the prices they charge. But don't stop there. Ask around for feedback on your local funeral homes so you can learn more about their service quality and understand how the funeral homes vary from one another.

Funeral Homes Provide Itemized Pricing Information To make an informed funeral planning decision, it helps to know what services and products a funeral home provides, along with the prices of those offerings. Funeral planners should request a GPL (general price list) - that is an itemized list of prices - from the funeral homes they are considering. The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, requires funeral directors to give you their GPL if you ask for it in-person or over the phone. If the GPL does not include specific prices for the caskets and outer burial containers they carry, ask for them. With the prices in-hand, funeral planners can make apples-to-apples comparisons among funeral homes. If calling to request general price lists seems overwhelming, simply use eFuneral's funeral home search tool to look through the eFuneral funeral homes and their price lists.

You Can Purchase Individual Services and Merchandise Many funeral homes offer a variety of funeral "packages" of commonly selected goods and services for a burial or cremation. But, according to the Funeral Rule, funeral planners do not have to buy a package - they have the right to purchase individual goods and services. Using the GPL as a guide, funeral planners can determine whether they are better off choosing a funeral service package versus individual items.

Cash Advance Items Can Impact Your Funeral Bill Even if you do request a general price list and use that pricing information to plan a funeral service, it's important to understand that the fees associated with "cash advance items" - third party offerings like limousine services, death certificates, and floral arrangements - may not be included on the price lists. Some funeral homes don't mark up those cash advance items, but others add a service fee to their cost. So, it's important to discuss those items with the funeral director with whom you plan to work.

Required and Non-Required Preparation Services Funeral homes charge funeral planners a basic services fee that covers the costs associated with making funeral arrangements, sheltering the remains, and coordinating plans with the cemetery, crematory, and other third parties. While basic services fees vary from funeral home to funeral home, the services covered by the basic services fee are common to all funerals and thus this is not an optional fee. Funeral planners do, however, have the option of purchasing other goods and services, like embalming, cosmetology and dressing/casketing.