A trend that has sprung up on the Internet and across social networking sites is the use of crowd-sourcing sites like GoFundMe as a means of galvanizing friends, family, and even complete strangers to submit donations to cover funeral costs for loved ones.

Photo: GuloLife.com

While crowdfunding was never designed as an alternative to life insurance, given the rising cost of funerals, this crowd-funding may be entirely necessary for some families.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), over the past decade the median cost for an adult funeral in the United States has increased 28.6% from $5,582 to $7,181. That average can easily swing upward with add-ons, up-sales, and sentimental purchases made by loved ones making big dollar decisions while in a vulnerable state of mourning.

Photo: Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance

Death is a part of life that cannot be avoided and funerals can be expensive, but with a little thoughtfulness and preparation, it is entirely possible to get around unreasonably high funeral cost.

Here Are 8 Ways To Save On Funeral Expenses:

Photo: PBS

1.Comparison Shop – Licensed funeral homes are required by law to give you a general price list which breaks out funeral expenses so that you can make an apples to apples price comparison.

There are several websites dedicated to helping customers find low cost funeral services in there area. Funeral Decisions is one website that offers free instant quotes online. The Funeral Consumer Alliance also provides tips to organizations that help consumers save money on funeral arrangements in their area.

2. Skip Embalming – The median cost of embalming is $700 but there is no state law that requires it for most funerals. So, if you’re having a one day funeral, ask the funeral home if refrigeration is an option.

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

3. Decline A Gasketed Casket – In their grief, some people are drawn to products based on how comforting they sound. These caskets are equipped with a rubber gasket that’s marketed to protect the body from elements once in the ground.

While these special gaskets only cost a funeral home $8, it could raise the price of the casket by more than $800 dollars.

4. Consider Cremation – Cremation rates in the U.S. are approaching 50% and by 2019, the majority of Americans are projected to opt for cremation over burial.

Photo: Angie’s List

5. Buy a Casket or Urn Elsewhere – The median price for a metal casket sold by a funeral home is around $2,400 but you aren’t required to buy a casket from a funeral home and the funeral home must accept a casket purchased elsewhere, including online. Casket’s at Costco start at $999 and they ship to most states.

6. Consider a Home Funeral – In most states it’s actually legal to say goodbye at home from start to finish. You can complete the death certificate, file it, and care for the body at home and take it to its final resting place yourself.

Photo: Carmine Galasso

7. Figure Out What You Don’t Need – Which funeral services and goods are required and which are optional? The more you buy, the more the funeral directors make. So, most funeral homes are not inclined to offer the lower priced option and won’t point out items that you don’t really need.

8. Donate Your Body To ScienceScience Care is one company that acts as a go-between between the whole body donor and labs doing medical research. For donors accepted by science care, cost are covered for cremation, transportation, and filing of the death certificate.

Photo: AP/Rodrigo Abd

Joe’s Money Trap of The Day: Pre-paid funerals might seem ideal, but a growing number of consumers are finding that the pre-need funeral arrangements can come with unexpected costs. A slew of recent state and federal investigations have uncovered everything from access fees levied on pre-paid funds to misappropriation of money. Here is Joe’s money grab of the day.


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