Are you hoping to plan a funeral on a budget? We are constantly being bombarded with the headlines that funeral costs are rising fast! As funeral directors we know this is not the full story and is not necessarily true and it’s just a mechanism to scare people into buying funeral plans. The questions remain however, how do you plan a low-cost funeral without compromising on the quality? How do you put together a funeral on a budget? Some people think that this would then be a simple funeral and not necessarily respectful to the person who has died. Well… at Arka Original Funerals we have been helping people to put together low-cost funerals for years and these are a few of our tips!
It sounds really tricky (and only you know if the person who is ill would cope with this type of discussion). In our experience a lot of people don’t want relatives to spend a lot on the funeral and writing these decisions down can save a lot of time, worry and (sometimes) arguments. At Arka we have a really good questionnaire that we can send out for people to use, it asks a lot of practical questions but also records messages for people and things like a favourite book or a recipe to pass on, it’s an interesting process to go through and much easier when you are well so why not do something like this today?
A lot of people these days are choosing to be buried or cremated with no funeral ceremony, maybe a memorial ceremony or service later on. This is getting more popular and of course this will help you keep you within budget. At Arka we believe in ceremony, we believe in the healing power of everyone coming together to remember the person and say goodbye but it’s not for everyone, if it’s not needed then don’t feel you have to put a ceremony together.
If someone dies in a hospice or care home their relatives can immediately be put under pressure to choose a funeral director (who will then ask lots of questions about burial or cremation etc) knowing some of these answers and not getting swept away with other peoples’ recommendations will help you remain in control of arrangements and importantly… costs.
Have a list of questions that are important for you to have answers to. Remember you are paying a funeral director for their support so ensure it is the right support.
There are many questions that can be asked and should be asked before you make your decision. Shop around, get quotes, find out as much as you can about what people are offering and how much they will charge. Take your time to decide.
So did you know that (…..drum roll….) you don’t have to use a funeral director? If someone is being cared for in a mortuary or is at home then if you want you can make all the arrangements yourself and there are lots of people and organisations out there to help you (Good Funeral Guide and The Natural Death Centre are probably the best). If you don’t feel confident to do everything yourself then you can do some bits like transporting the person yourself, pall bearing (basically anything that the funeral director does, you can do too). The options are endless but from the immediate care of the deceased to catering at the wake afterwards, this will all help you keep costs down.
Did you know that most crematoria offer cheaper funeral slots in the morning? Also some charge a staggering amount whereas one 10 miles down the road will charge a lot less, worth finding out about!
Coffin choices, maybe you could order a coffin on-line and get it delivered to your funeral director, worth checking with them first of course, they may charge additional handling fee.
Also once you have spoken to your funeral director and have reviewed the notes and costs, it’s okay to change your mind about things. Be empowered in the relationship, easier said than done when you are grieving but you can change your mind, it’s fine.
The words you use at the funeral, the music you choose, the way you conjure up the spirit of the person…. That’s what people will remember, that’s what’s comforting later on. Getting the words and music right costs nothing so a bit of time and deep thought about the person will (in the end) cost nothing but will be priceless in terms of saying goodbye. What’s the point of spending a lot of money on something that’s meaningless.
So there we are! A few thoughts to consider on how to plan a funeral on a budget! At Arka we don’t do a hard sell with anyone, you are welcome to get advice on any of the above points by phoning or emailing. We are passionate about getting things right for people and of course budget is a huge part of that.
We just want people to talk about things now with each other so as a society we can become stronger and more honest on our thoughts around death and funerals and what they mean to us in this modern world.
Lets share, get use to the language and not be scared. Talking about death will not bring it nearer, we will feel more empowered and clearer about the choices we can make.