How to Save on Funeral Costs

There are those who do not worry about the costs of a funeral.  They want all the optional extras.  This blog is not for them. 

There have been a few stories recently about the increase in council fees for cemetery plots and cremation costs.  This is happening all across New Zealand.  And it’s just another added expense for the public to endure.

I also read the Funeral Association of NZ commenting that the WINZ funeral grant of just over $2400, which they wanted the government to double or triple because of the cost of funerals today.  To be more accurate, they want the higher amount because that is what they charge.

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The first thing to say about saving funeral costs does not mean the funeral is less respectful, meaningful or significant.  Expense does not equate to honouring the person.  Perhaps that was the mindset in past years, but we live in a different world today.

So let’s look at the expenses…

There are set costs that you cannot avoid.  They will vary between councils and crematoriums.

  • Cremation costs need to be paid – no avoiding that.
  • Cemetery plot is a cost you can’t avoid, but it can be shared.
  • Digging the grave isn’t something you can do – so that is a cost.
  • Death Certificate – but this is only $33.

And that’s about it.  Everything else you have a choice on how much you want to pay or save.  So where can you save money?

  • Coffin – build your own or decorate a simple wooden one. Remember it is going to be buried or burnt, so spending extra is not essential.  Some may choose a burial shroud.  But there are health conditions to be aware of.
  • The Paperwork is perhaps the greatest barrier that stops people. It can be confusing and there are different agencies to co-ordinate.  But it is not impossible by any stretch of the imagination.  Keep in mind how you might be feeling at the time and the extra stress of paperwork might not be worth it.
  • Funeral Services – nothing has changed more than how funerals are “done”. In the past it was at the church, then the funeral homes saw that if the built a chapel it would be a great investment.  Today, people celebrate, remember and mourn the life of a person in so many different ways.  There are no official or legal requirements – so do what you like.
    There are many optional extras that quickly increase costs – service sheets, flowers, food, celebrant, online streaming… the list goes on (and on).
  • Embalming – is becoming less common than it was. You don’t need to be embalmed.  But you do need to be aware the body will change over the days.  You won’t notice any changes immediately and there is no need to rush.

No one really thinks about funerals until they need to.  I would be very careful about funeral insurance and even pre-paid.  Do some research online and about saving funeral costs.  Funerals DO NOT need to be more expensive than they already are.

What I love about SDF is that we don’t need to try and get families to spend more.  Costs are increasing and being able to help families at a vulnerable time to save money and at the same time have a funeral they want is very rewarding.  I am more than happy to talk with families about any questions they may have or options they want to explore.  No charge 🙂

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