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Cremation Cost: Is Cremation Cheaper Than Burial?

Dying is expensive. Traditional funerals have an average cost of about $7,000, and that might be just the beginning. Compared to 5 decades ago, Americans are now 10 times as likely to choose cremation for their burial services. The Natural Funeral Directors Association estimates this trend will continue until 4 out of 5 Americans are choosing cremation by 2035.

Part of the reason for this shift in burial practices is due to changing religious attitudes, but for millions of Americans, it’s simply a matter of cost. An increasing number of seniors are concerned about burdening their families with burgeoning funeral costs. And savings aside, an increasing number of families are seeing the appeal of conducting their own memorial service. But exactly how much does cremation cost?

Widely Varied Cost

The cost of cremation varies from one region to the next and from one provider to the next. Costs tend to be lower in urban areas where people have several options for funeral homes and crematories. And a la carte services are common within funeral homes, which allows families to pick-and-choose the services most appropriate to memorialize their loved one.

The average casket costs in excess of $2,000. Paired with a funeral plot and a headstone, that number can quickly double. And the costs of holding funeral services in a funeral home typically exceeds $2,000. Clearly, every service you eliminate can drastically reduce the cost of a funeral. People who intend to hold their own service may save nearly a thousand dollars by simply using the services of a crematory instead of a funeral home.

Cost of Direct Cremation

Cremation without ceremonial services is called direct cremation. It allows you to avoid the costs of storing the deceased and preparing the body for viewing with embalmment. Instead, cremation is performed, and remains are promptly returned to be with their family. Like with all funeral services, the costs of direct cremation vary widely, from $500 to $5,000. But the average cost of cremation is scarcely over $1,000.

Saving on Funeral Costs

People who are concerned about leaving behind a funeral expense for their loved ones can prepare. A person looking after their own funeral arrangements can pre-sign a cremation authorization form and submit it to a provider in advance. Costs can be arranged for with a Payable on Death (POD) account that names a funeral provider as the beneficiary.

But no matter who you are, the best way to cut funeral costs is planning. A good place to begin is selecting a local provider. By starting the search early for a provider in advance, you’ll be able to find the best prices and make informed decisions. Waiting until you’re dealing with the grief of loss to make those decisions can often be a bad idea. It only takes a few minutes to investigate the prices of cremation around your city.

Cremation won’t be right for everyone. But for an increasing number of Americans, it provides the opportunity to honor the deceased on their terms and save thousands of dollars in the process.