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Do It Yourself Funerals

Honoring the departed and the budget.

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.)
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