Casket Prices – 5 ways to save on the casket cost

Casket Prices – 5 ways to save on the casket cost

For most people, the act of choosing a funeral casket is the catalyst from which the process of letting go begins. It serves as a reminder that the person they love is now gone forever. But making the final choice is never easy; a casket is probably the single most expensive item you will buy for a traditional burial funeral.

How much do caskets cost?

Casket prices can vary widely from as little as $700 to as much as $60,000. The average casket costs around $2,200.With the casket may come the purchase of the outer burial container. For more information about the burial containers, grave liners or vaults read my article on the average cost of a funeral and discover where savings can be made.

How much do caskets cost?

5 ways to save on casket prices in funeral homes:

1. Ask the funeral home for a complete price list of all the caskets they have to offer before you are shown any in the display room.

Research shows a customer will choose a mid-priced casket from the display shown to them by the funeral home. The customer does not want to appear to do a disservice to their loved one by choosing from the lower priced ones. However, did you know that most funeral homes ONLY display the higher end models of caskets in the funeral home? The genuine lower priced range of caskets does not even make the display.If the cheaper caskets are available,unscrupulous funeral homes can refer to them as “morgue” or “welfare” boxes to discourage people from choosing them. They may be shown in unflattering colors or be presented to the customer in a basement or dark corner of the funeral home.

‘The Funeral Rule’ from the FTC (Federal Trading Commission) gives the consumer the right to see a written list of casket prices in funeral homes so they can ask about lower priced caskets not on display.

2. Don’t listen to any sales talk about which casket offers more “protection” or comes with a “guarantee”.

Casket prices can depend on the type of material used for the casket, as well as any additional features such as gaskets (a protective seal). Caskets can be made from wood (such as mahogany, oak, cherry, walnut, and pine), metal, fiberboard, fiberglass, plastic, or be biodegradable, such as cloth or basket weave. Pinewood caskets are generally the cheapest prices, but are not often displayed for sale by the funeral home. Experts often point out that regardless of the material used for the funeral casket, the body would still degrade over time.

People who sell funeral caskets are strictly forbidden by the FTC to make promises that certain, usually expensive, caskets or outer burial containers have the ability to preserve the body.

How much do caskets cost?

3. Choose a simple design for the casket. If required, embellish the casket with a loved one’s possessions, photos or flowers.

The casket’s aesthetic value can influence casket prices.Many have engravings or embellishments along the sides to make the casket look more appealing and can be more expensive compared to plain ones.

How much do caskets cost

4. If the funeral involves a cremation, consider alternative choices to save on expensive casket prices.

If the deceased would be cremated, then there are two options:
• Rent a funeral casket for the viewing. This is considerably more affordable than buying a casket. During the cremation, the body would normally be placed inside a simple wooden box.
• Opt for a direct cremation, which means that the body would be cremated as soon as it leaves the morgue.

The FTC states the funeral home offering cremation must inform people and make available alternative containers such unfinished wood, pressboard, cardboard or canvas box to be cremated with the body.

5. Look online or to another retailer to purchase the casket – you can make big savings on casket prices.

The sale of funeral caskets has traditionally been within the realm of funeral homes. However, in recent years, there has been a steady rise in the number of retailers and online businesses that specialize in selling funeral caskets. Costco and Walmart have a limited range of very attractive caskets priced at less than $1,000.Casket prices in funeral homes have a significant mark up on the manufacturing cost.

‘The Funeral Rule’ from the FTC protects consumers when buying caskets for delivery to a funeral home: The funeral provider cannot refuse a casket, nor charge a handling fee for a casket or urn purchased elsewhere. A family member does not have to be present for the delivery. The funeral home cannot withdraw a discount offer if the casket is bought somewhere else nor make any derogatory comments about another casket.


Casket prices don’t have to run in to thousands of dollars. Consumers are allowed to purchase caskets from other sources than the funeral home. Casket prices in funeral homes are likely to be a lot higher than caskets purchased elsewhere.

Read ‘The Funeral Rule’ at

Any funeral home not compliant with the funeral rule should be reported to the FTC where they can face significant fines.

Funeral Cost Breakdown Checklist

Funeral Cost Breakdown Checklist

Make copies of this page and check with several funeral homes to compare their funeral cost breakdown. The cost of funeral expenses can vary and by law funeral homes must give you this information over the telephone. If the funeral provider doesn’t know the cost of the cash advance items at the time, he or she is required to give you a written ‘good faith estimate’. There is also room on this checklist to make your personal notes on how to save on the basic cost for a funeral. Don’t forget to first read my article ‘How much does a funeral cost?‘ to learn where you can save money at the funeral home!

funeral cost breakdown

Funeral Cost Breakdown Checklist

Cost of funeral expenses for simple disposition of the remains:


  • Immediate burial:


  • Immediate cremation:


  •  If the cremation process is extra, how much is it?


  •  Donation of the body to a medical school or hospital:


Funeral cost breakdown of a traditional, full-service burial or cremation funeral:


  • Basic services fee for the funeral director and staff:


  • Pickup of body:


  • Embalming:


  • Other preparation of body:


  •  Least expensive casket:


  •  Description of casket, including model number:


  •  Outer burial container (vault) – if required:


  •  Description of outer burial container:


  • Visitation/viewing — staff and facilities:


  • Funeral or memorial service — staff and facilities:


  • Graveside service, including staff and equipment:


  • Hearse:



  • Other vehicles:


Funeral cost breakdown of cemetery/mausoleum service:


  • Cost of lot or crypt (if you don’t already own one):


  • Perpetual care (care and maintenance of the cemetery):


  • Opening and closing the grave or crypt:


  • Grave liner (if required):


  • Marker/monument (including setup):


Funeral cost breakdown of other funeral home services:


Forwarding the deceased to another funeral home:


Receiving the deceased from another funeral home:


Obtain a list of funeral costs and compare the services to ensure you receive the best value. By comparing the funeral cost breakdown of different funeral homes you can make informed choices when you are planning a funeral for your loved one or yourself.

Funeral cost breakdown

Cremation Vs Burial

Cremation Vs Burial

The intention of this article is to discuss the choice of cremation vs burial and to make the decision a little easier. Burial with a coffin/ casket, or a cremation of the body are the two most frequently chosen choices. Which one is best for you depends upon cost, convenience, religious beliefs and personal choice.

Cremation vs burial rates vary according to country and location

The death of a loved one is a very emotional and stressful time. Even when the passing is expected it  is not the best time to be making decisions about the disposition of your loved ones physical body. Such decisions are not easy so it is important for you to consider options beforehand.

The percentage of cremations vs burials in the United States has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 4% in 1960 to presently around 40%. The cremation rate in Canada and the UK show similar figures. Their national average rate rose from around 5% in 1970 to presently nearly 70%. Japan has one of the highest cremation rates in the world, reporting a cremation rate of 99.85% in 2010.

Cremation vs burial how do you choose

Many countries or cities today do not have land space available for burial of human remains. The cremation process for humans solves this problem. Burial is more common in rural areas. Local regulations must also be taken in to account when considering cremation vs burial.


Cremation vs burial

Cremation vs burial costs must be taken in to account

For many the cost of a traditional burial is a tremendous burden. If you have not previously purchased burial insurance you can easily find yourself faced with a bill from the funeral home in excess of $7000. Aside from the costs for funeral services and possibly expensive casket prices (which can easily run in the hundreds to thousands of dollars) there is the added expense of “purchasing” a plot of land. This generally is an expensive venture. You are not actually purchasing the land, merely paying for “internment rights”. The cost of having the grave dug is yet another additional expense, often starting from $500. The costs for a traditional burial vs cremation can quickly add up, although there are ways to save money at the funeral home.
The option of cremation of the body after death is for many a cost effective alternative. Additional benefits include the ability to transport your loved ones ashes easily after the cremation process, for burial at a later date. A burial urn will be required but these can run for as little as $300; comparatively cheaper than a casket. You don’t even need to purchase an urn if you so wish; a funeral home will return the ashes to you in a plastic container specifically designed for cremated human remains. Ashes do not need to be buried. After seeking the necessary permissions you are free to scatter your loved ones remains any place you, or they, desire to be released. Cremation costs are significantly less than a burial.

You must consider both your own and the deceased religious beliefs and preferences for cremation vs burial

If your religious practice does not allow for cremation there may be financial assistance available. Talk with a representative from your church or religious group.

Religions that permit the cremation process for humans for humans
Ásatrú, Buddhism, Christianity (containing Baptist Church, Calvinism, Church of
England, Church of Ireland, Church of Scotland, Church in Wales, Lutheranism,
Methodism, Moravian Church, Roman Catholicism, Salvation Army, Scottish
Episcopal Church), Christian Science, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (Mormons), Hare Krishna, Hinduism, Jainism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Liberal Judaism, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Sikhs, Society of Friends (Quakers), Unitarian Universalism.

Religions that forbid the cremation process for humans for humans
Bahá’í faith, Presbyterianism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, Islam, Orthodox Jews.

 Cremation vs burial costsThere are many reasons both practical and personal that will influence your decision. Stay true to your beliefs and you will make the right decision when choosing cremation vs burial.