In the United States, the average cost of a funeral is roughly $7,000.  If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to save.  Here are ten ways you can save money when you die:

One.  Don’t die. 

But that won’t happen.  Unless you become a vampire.

Two.  Find a green cemetery.

Most cemeteries require a vault.  Vaults hold both a practical value (they keep the ground from sinking when the body/coffin decompose) and a psychological value (they keep things away from the body).  Vaults generally cost anywhere from $700 on up.  Most cemeteries charge for opening of the grave and closing of the grave.  That too generally costs $500 on up.

But if you’re okay with the ground sinking over a grave and don’t mind the elements touching the deceased, then you can consider doing away with the vault.

Green cemeteries usually forbid vaults and many allow you to open and close the grave yourself, saving you anywhere from $1,200 or more.  Unfortunately, there’s only 93 green cemeteries in the United States.

Although they are rare, there are traditional cemeteries that DON’T require a vault.  There’s two in a thirty mile radius of our funeral home.  But, they’ll still charge you for opening and closing of the grave.

But remember, vaults act as prisons to would be zombies.  So, if you’re a firm believer in the zombie apocalypse, it may be worth spending the extra cash in order to save humanity.

Three.  Get cremated.

You should be able find a funeral home that will perform what we call a “direct cremation” for around or under $2,000.  A “direct cremation” is usually defined as just a cremation with no funeral service.

You can have the funeral service on your own without the help of a funeral home and it will save you some cash.

Four.  Have a viewing THEN get cremated

If you want embalming, and you want a public viewing and you want to save money, try having a viewing and then get cremated.  Usually, cremation costs less than having to buy a vault and paying for the opening and closing of the grave.  And most funeral homes have some sort of inexpensive options for caskets.  If you choose this option, can might be able to save upwards of $2,000.

Five.  Cut the extras

Flowers.  Belly dancers.  Elton John personally performing, “The Circle of Life”.  All extras.  Don’t need ‘em.

Six.  Buy an inexpensive casket

Why do we buy such beautiful pieces of casket work and then promptly bury them?  Confusing.  Spend that money on something worthwhile like Netflix or pizza.

Seven.  Direct Burial

For the most part, you don’t need embalming if you chose a direct burial.  If you want a service, you can have a graveside service.  You could possibly save a couple hundred to nearly a $1000 if you choose a direct burial.

Eight.  Have a home funeral

Home funerals are still on the fringe of public consciousness regarding death care; but, they need to be on the forefront.

In most states, YOUR FAMILY CAN PERFORM THE ENTIRE FUNERAL ON THEIR OWN.  No embalming needed.  No funeral director needed.  If you have a home funeral and a green burial, you’re talking about saving a whole lot of money.  I’m a huge supporter of home funerals not only for financial reasons, but mainly because I think it’s healthier for families to practice death care on their own.

If you want to choose the home funeral option, you need to start thinking about it now.  It’s probably not something you can pull off last minute (I’ll be writing more about this in the future).

Nine.  Do Like the Amish

The Amish hire a funeral director to embalm the body and perform the legal paperwork, and then the Amish do the rest.  They dress the body, casket the body, have a home viewing and perform the logistical work of the funeral.  This option will probably save you a couple grand, but – like the home funeral option – it’s something that you’d have to prepare for before the actual dying happens.

Ten.  Donate Your Body to Science

This isn’t something you can just do.  You have to pay some time in research.  First, NOT ALL BODIES ARE ACCEPTED BY SCIENCE.  Yes, unlike Jesus, Science doesn’t love everyone.  Secondly, find a program in your area.  Start off by searching, “willed body program” and your city or state.  And then go from there.  You may still have to pay some money for transportation, etc., but it should be very minimal.

If you are accepted by Science, you should make yourself a t-shirt that says, “Science loves me for my body.”  Because you deserve that t-shirt.

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