Can I Save Money by Being Cremated?

Funeral expenses can come as a hefty and unwelcome surprise to your or your loved ones. While some costs are fixed, others are optional. One way to save money is to choose cremation over burial. You will still have to pay the costs associated with the funeral home and viewings, but you can avoid the costs associated with the materials. Read more below to understand the difference between a funeral with a cremation and a funeral with a burial. 

Burial vs. Cremation

The National Funeral Directors Association provides an average cost associated with each service. The table below compares the costs associated with both. As you can see, funerals with cremation are less expensive than funerals with burial.


Funeral with BurialFuneral with Cremation
Nondeclinable basic services fee:$2195$2195
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home:$350$350
Embalming:$750$750
Other preparation of the body:$255$255
Use of facilities for viewing:$425$425
Use of facilities for funeral ceremony:$500$500
Hearse:$340$340
Service car/van:$150$150
Printed materials:$175$175
Metal burial casket:$2500N/A
Grave Plot$2500N/A
Plot Opening/Closing Fee$1000N/A
Upright Monument/Marker$3500N/A
Cremation FeeN/A$350
Cremation Casket (optional)N/A$1,200
Cremation Urn (optional)N/A$295
Total$14,640$6,985

Overall, these costs can vary depending on the materials that you choose and whether the person who has passed away has paid for certain line items in advance. 

For example, monuments can vary on average from $2,000 to $5,000. Stone and bronze are the cheapest materials. Markers that lie flat cost $1,000 on average. Additionally, many people pay for their plots in advance. This means that their loved ones are not expected to pay for the cost of the plot, which can be $1,000 to $4,000 on average.

Likewise, funerals with cremation can also vary. A casket is optional, so a funeral without a casket would be significantly less expensive. Also, the cost of the urn depends on the material and size. 

Despite this variability in cost that is dependent on material and location, on average, you would save $7,655 if you chose cremation over burial.

Other costs of a funeral

There are other costs associated with funerals, both for cremation and burials. While these costs are often optional, they are often an expected part of a funeral. These are outlined below. 

  • Flowers: $800
  • Obituaries: $450
  • Church Service Donation: $150
  • Reception: $500 + cost of venue

Again, each of these costs depends on the amount and quality of services. However, it is important to factor these costs into your financial planning.

Funeral costs are an unfortunate reality of passing away. It is important to plan and anticipate these costs. One way to reduce the expense associated with funerals is to choose cremation over burial. That way, you can avoid the costs of a grave plot, the fee to open and close a grave, a monument marker, and a casket. Overall, avoiding these costs will save you and your family members $7,655. While price alone may not be a reason for everyone to choose cremation, its financial savings may make a difference for some families.