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Understanding the Costs of Cremation: What You Need to Know

cremation cost

Cremation has overtaken traditional burials as the funeral service of choice among Americans. In 2016, cremations accounted for half of the number of funerals conducted in the country. Its numbers have climbed since. In 2019, 54 percent of funerals were cremations, and it’s estimated to rise to 78 percent by 2040.

According to the Smithsonian institute, cremation rates in the US reached an all-time high in 2017. Why do more people prefer cremation services nowadays? Here are some of the reasons:

The cremation cost is usually lower compared to traditional burials

Funeral costs are one of the major factors why more people prefer cremation over burials. According to research by NBC News, the average cost of a simple funeral today is $6,500. However, the figures can quickly go beyond $12,000. For instance, note that $2,000 of that expense goes to the funeral casket alone. On the other hand, the usual cremation cost is only around $2,000 or less.

It’s a simpler way to conduct a funeral service and easier to plan

Planning cremation services is relatively simple. There are no rites and other ceremonies involved in the cremation process. You won’t have to make plenty of arrangements such as travel for surviving relatives and friends. Consumers don’t need to spend on flowers, music, and other details that raise the cost of traditional funerals.

Expansive memorial options

The cremation process opens other avenues and options for memorial services. The ashes of your deceased loved one can still be interred. The ashes can be buried, cast into the sea, kept in an urn, or even planted with a tree. In addition, you can hold different family and religious traditions. 

Cost of Cremation

Comparing cremation cost and the cost of traditional burials, you can say that the former is only a fraction of the latter. The reason behind it is that there are fewer ceremonial and other requirements for cremation. For example, the cremation process doesn’t require embalming or casketing.

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) estimates the median cost of embalming at $775 and $2,500 for caskets. These additional costs are the culprits for rising funeral prices today. However, here’s a slight caveat. If you don’t pay attention to the details of a cremation services package, you may end up paying for as much as a traditional burial service.

Cost of a Memorial

It’s advisable to set a budget for funeral costs and do what you can to stick to it. If you’re planning to have a memorial, expect the prices to increase. The number of attendees to the memorial service will also come into play. Applying creativity with the funeral arrangements and knowing the options you want will help reduce costs.

The NFDA estimates the median costs for memorial services as follows:

  1. Car or van rental: $150

2. Embalming service: $775

3. Facility rental for viewing and funeral rites: $450

4. Basic memorial package including printed materials: $183

5. Essential services (cosmetology, flowers, music, decorations, etc.): $2,300

Other factors can also affect the overall cost of a memorial service. For instance, the number of people that will attend the service will come into play. The more guests you invite, the higher the cost.

The distance needed between the funeral parlor and the church or other memorial service rites locations can increase the costs. You also have to incur local regulatory requirements, additional facilities, containers used for the visitation service, and the rental casket. Note that rental caskets can cost you $500 to $1,500.

Where You Can Save on Cremation

One way to save money is to choose the least expensive type of cremation called direct cremation. This type of cremation is performed immediately after the passing of an individual. As a result, you won’t have a chance to convene a viewing or other traditional funeral rites.

The average cost of direct cremation varies from city to city and usually goes anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. The NFDA estimates the most affordable direct cremation rates to be around $1,300, where the deceased’s family provides the container of the remains. Therefore, if you opt for direct cremation, you will save money on funeral services that can cost anywhere from $1,700 to $5,000.

Another area where you can save money is in the type of urns. The NFDA estimates urn prices to range from $50 to $2,000, where the average cost is around $295. 

Here’s a big tip – the fancier your cremation urn, the more expensive it becomes. So, consider the materials, size, design, and other accessories when choosing an urn. You can also save money by purchasing your urn. Online retailers usually sell them for less.

The type of cremation casket is also another area where you can save money. The material used for construction will affect the price. Some types of wood are more expensive than others. Alternative materials like pressed cardboard, rattan, and bamboo are less expensive. Remember that cremation caskets will be burned anyway, so choosing one with a simple design helps your budget.

Choosing the Right Form of Cremation for You

The type of cremation can also significantly impact your funeral budget. For example, you can choose between a water-based and a fire-based cremation. The traditional cremation process uses fire and is the legal process in every world. However, the downside is that it produces a smaller amount of ash and is harmful to the environment.

Liquid-based cremation is not accepted in all states in the US, so check with your local authorities. The cremation process uses water and alkali, and it usually returns more resultant ashes. The downside is that it’s more expensive.

Which one should you choose? If local regulations don’t permit water-based cremation, choose a traditional one. If you want an environmentally friendly option, choose a water-based option, especially if local authorities allow it.

How Price-Helton Funeral Home Can Help You?

Price-Helton Funeral Home has served grieving families through personalized, seamless, efficient, and reliable funeral services since 1911. Our fully trained staff hold the highest standards in our industry. We provide you with options that can fit any budget when facing the passing of a loved one.

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