The average funeral now costs $7,323, not including cemetery plot, marker, flowers, or obituary, which can push the total toward $10,000. That's why cremation is the choice of about one-third of families, and projected to hit 60% by 2025. Cheaper alternatives are popping up, including:
- Discount service providers. New, small storefront operations, they handle the body and the paperwork without parlors or limos.
- Costco caskets. At warehouse clubs, they're nicer than a pine box, but without the funeral home mark-up.
- Formaldehyde-free farewells. Embalming is more custom than requirement. But schedule the service soon. And in a cool month.
- Cremation. Takes the pressure off a speedy service. In most states, a casket is no longer required for processing, making it even cheaper.
- Back to church. The old way is in again, using the sanctuary instead of the funeral home for the visitation and service.
- Graveside-only options. Create a meaningful farewell without renting a hall. (But beware the boombox tribute.)