Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 04.16.2024

Why Do Funerals Cost So Much Money?

Why are funerals so expensive

Reviewed By: Scott Ginsberg

Cross Checked By: Joshua Siegel

Why Are Funerals So Expensive?

Think about all that goes into a funeral: the casket with silk pillows, velvet lining, gold handles, wreaths, candles, and catering. For a private viewing to say goodbye, embalming a body costs $725, cosmetics come up to $250, and booking the space and catering staff usually costs about $425. This comes up to over $1000 before the funeral has begun. There are also Funeral Home ‘requirements’ to deal with, such as putting a concrete block over the casket. A funeral home is a labor intensive business that involves a lot of people working in multiple ways to help the deceased and family and that adds up to the cost and this is why funeral homes and funerals are so expensive.

Although this is not an official law, it does not stop funeral homes from calling the family of the deceased and demanding they add concrete slabs to their list of funeral expenses, raking up their costs astronomically. In addition, most funeral homes require that the bodies be embalmed before their viewing in the casket. Morticians are also taught at mortuary school that embalming bodies are a necessity. 

But this is far from true. Embalming fluid, by no State law across the country, is required to preserve the condition of a body, and refrigeration works just as well. There's a common mistaken belief that embalming fluid is a necessary means of making the body safe to be around, but this is being called into question. The toxic effects of formaldehyde in embalming fluid have suggested an increased risk of cancer. 

Once a body pumped with this fluid decomposes, it sinks into the ground and can contaminate the soil. So why are funerals this expensive? It is all of these seemingly necessary prerequisites, pedaled by businesses looking to profit. When concrete vaults, cement slabs, and embalming fluid are upsold frequently enough that they are perceived as legal mandates, few are likely to question these rituals.

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Are Funerals In The United States Costly?

Currently, in the U.S, cemeteries are by and large privatized which means they can make their own rules. In most cases, funeral homes and cemeteries will choose what may be most profitable to them, like mandating expensive slabs of cement atop a luxurious casket. This is why end-of-life care in the U.S is not just emotionally taxing, but financially too. In fact, providing their loved ones with the death they desire can be near impossible for many U.S families. The median cost of arranging a funeral with a burial and viewing comes up to $7,360 according to the National Funeral Directors Association. 

If one desires burial with a cement wall, a requirement for most U.S cemeteries, the cost bumps up to $8,700. According to a study conducted by the Federal Reserve in 2018, about 60% of American adults could afford to incur an unexpected expenditure of $400, while the large remainder of 40% would struggle to afford it without having to go without basic necessities like food or selling their possessions. For the average American, it is reasonable to assume that an unexpected bill of $8000 would be financially and emotionally devastating. 

But what's the actual reason and why are funerals so expensive?

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How To Cut Funeral Costs?

Funerals do not have to cost so much. The simple solution to cutting your funeral costs is only paying for what you need or want, and not additions that you do not require. The loss of a loved one is a vulnerable time for the family of the deceased, and it can seem like making decisions needs to be quick and efficient. In the haste of making the process less taxing, those organizing the funeral may agree to the first price they are given. Remind yourself that loss is not an emergency. 

Instead, take a moment to catch your breath, calibrate your senses, and consider all of your options. Consider all your alternatives to traditional funeral homes, ask your funeral provider for an itemized price list, and assess what you need and what you don't. While some costs will be compulsory like registration of death fees, other costs will not be. Learning your rights and what is mandated by law for funerals in your State can help you avoid paying for more than you need.

In A Nutshell

Funeral planning is both emotionally and finally taxing, but if you do your homework, you can budget your expenses well. One viable alternative is online caskets, which, through retailers like Titan Casket can be 70% cheaper than the caskets you find in funeral homes. Don’t fret about the quality. Titan Casket caskets are handcrafted to perfection, with trusted quality materials that meet your needs without adding a financial strain during a difficult time. Join thousands of Americans that have been serviced with our high-quality caskets and cost-effective prices with no additional freight charges and offer free, timely delivery.