A low cost funeral doesn't have to mean a person was loved any less.
FUNERAL PLANNING

5 tips to planning a low cost funeral

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  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
  • June 4, 2021
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The cost of a simple funeral with Bare averages around $2,000. Click below to see the price for your area.

When it comes to farewelling a loved one who has died, people often associate how much that person was loved with how much their funeral costs, but that is often not the case. Low cost funerals can actually allow more personalisation and offer more opportunities to celebrate life the way it was lived.

That is because families often end up paying thousands of dollars for things they don’t want – or even need – simply because they don’t realise they have a choice.

Funeral homes make their money up-selling the extras that traditionally come with a funeral, like expensive coffins, overpriced flowers and catering. The results are cookie-cutter ceremonies that are expensive, filled with unnecessary extras and ultimately do not reflect the unique life they are meant to be celebrating.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

This article explains low cost funeral options and provides some tips on how you can plan a personalised funeral without going into hardship.

What is the cheapest funeral?

It can be difficult to estimate the cost of a funeral in Australia as prices vary significantly between funeral directors and the type of funeral planned. The cost of a funeral depends on whether it is a burial or cremation, the choice of coffin, and the type of ceremony and added expenses like flowers and catering. The location is also a significant factor when determining the price of a funeral, due to varying land and crematoria fees, state government charges and transport costs.

However, burials are generally more expensive than cremations, due to the cost of the land and additional fees like headstones, cemetery maintenance and an additional charge if a final committal ceremony is being held at the gravesite after a church or chapel service.

To provide context, the average cost of a burial in Australia is $19,000 and the average price of a cremation is around $7,400 according to gatheredhere.com.au. However, a cremation can cost thousands more depending on personalisations like the type of ceremony and choice of coffin.

A non-attended cremation, also known as a direct cremation or private cremation, is generally the cheapest funeral option. It is a cremation without a formal funeral service, so it means there are fewer expenses as there is no need to hire a chapel or a celebrant and pay for a funeral notice, order of service printing, flowers and catering. Without a formal ceremony, there is often no need for an expensive coffin or casket either.

How much is a low cost funeral?

The average price of a direct cremation in Australia is $4,000, according to finder.com.au. Prices remain lower than a traditional cremation or burial service because there is often no need for a chapel, celebrant, flowers, or other additions to the funeral service. Families will often hold their own celebration of life after the direct cremation has taken place, to honour their loved one.

In contrast, the average cost of a direct cremation with Bare Cremation is around $2,000 (prices can be lower or slightly higher depending on the location). Bare saves Australian families thousands by only providing the things they actually want in a funeral. To get a free quote for your area, click the below button.

Our 5 tips to planning a low cost funeral

1. Consider what you really want from a farewell

The best way to plan both a personalised and low cost funeral, is to consider what was important to the deceased person and their family and friends. Were they traditional or religious, with a more formal nature? Or did they have a more casual demeanour, partial to a few drinks and a yarn?

If you’re thinking a chapel and stuffy service doesn’t really fit with your deceased loved one’s personality, consider a direct cremation. Separating the burial or cremation from the ceremony allows loved ones to shift their focus away from the funeral and focus on celebrating life the way it was lived. Plus, the money saved on a traditional funeral can be spent towards celebrating – with a wake, personalised memorial, or celebration of life party instead.

Plan a farewell that best celebrates life by making a list of your loved one’s passions and consider including them in some way. You might find that a less traditional gathering at the local pub might be a more befitting way to send them off. Or if they were a keen fisher or boatie, a seaside memorial may be more befitting. The most important thing to remember is there are no rules when it comes to planning a funeral. And oftentimes, a more personalised service is more memorable and can end up being a lower cost funeral option.

2. Shop around

In the same way you would with any other large purchase, shopping around is the best way to ensure you get a low cost funeral.

The Australian funeral industry is placing funeral homes under increased pressure to be transparent in their prices, so you should be able to obtain a quote or price list from their website or by calling them. Ask the funeral director for an itemised price list with a list of what’s included with the funeral arrangement. They are obligated to supply this.

If the funeral home is friendly and helpful in explaining their pricing and fees, rather than dismissive or sales-driven, their level of customer service will give you an indication of whether they are a good fit.

3. Be upfront about wanting a low cost funeral

If you are planning a low budget funeral, it’s important to be upfront about keeping costs to a minimum when you inquire about pricing. Let the funeral director know what you want and don’t want to include in the funeral service. For example, if you want a non-attended funeral or have a certain budget, disclose these details so that the funeral home can offer a service that suits your needs and price range.

Again, if they are unwilling to work with you, it is a sign the funeral home may not be the best choice for you.

4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate

Planning a funeral generally comes at a time when families are emotionally vulnerable and generally don’t have the energy to negotiate on pricing. But just like any other business, you may be able to reduce costs on some aspects of the funeral service by talking to the funeral director about price options.

5. Choose a low cost coffin or casket

Cardboard coffins can contribute significant savings for families looking to plan a low cost funeral. The price of a conventional coffin or casket can cost from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $10,000, according to gatheredhere.com.au.

Cardboard coffins or caskets are a cheaper alternative as they are made from recycled materials and don’t include expensive embellishments like gold handles and silk pillows. This environmentally-friendly option is generally used with direct cremations, but it is becoming more popular in attended funerals due to its affordability, lower carbon footprint and the ability for loved ones to decorate or write messages on it.

funeral hardship
Paying for a loved one’s funeral is placing Australian families in financial hardship.

Low cost funeral providers

As mentioned earlier, arranging a simple cremation with Bare is an excellent low cost funeral option for Australians. Despite the low cost, a Bare arrangement means there is no need to compromise on the level of care. You can generate a quote for your area at the Bare Cremation website here, or speak with a member of the customer care team on 1800 071 176.

Other low cost funeral providers include the not-for-profit funeral service Tender Funerals, which provides personalised and affordable funerals for those experiencing financial hardship. The community-run funeral provider operates in Canberra, Tasmania, Mid-North Coast NSW, Far North Queensland, and Perth metro.

The Salvation Army also offers low cost funerals in Greater Sydney, Central Coast NSW, Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. Salvos Funerals also offer grief and practical support, including legal advice and aged care services.

In instances where the deceased person has died destitute and without anyone to pay for their funeral, a state-funded funeral may be arranged. This is what is known as a pauper’s funeral. You can find out more in our article on pauper’s funerals here.

The Australian federal government provides a number of payments, financial support, and other services to help when a loved one dies, through The Department of Human Services. You can find out more by calling Centrelink on 132 300 or reading our article How to get financial help to pay for a funeral.

To get a quote for a low cost funeral, click the button below, or call us on 1800 071 176.

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