Memorial for a Loved One
Remembering a Loved One
Planning a Funeral
Avoiding Funeral Scams
A Guide to Affordable Services
Finances are often the last thing that a grieving family wants to consider when planning the celebration of life for a lost loved one. While that is true, for many, they play an important factore in the arrangements - especially when the loss is unexpected, or when the departed has a small or no estate. Discount Funerals can be a reality today, thanks to independent dealers introducing more competition into the memorial industry and keeping prices low.
In previous eras, discount funerals were just a dream. Funeral homes controlled all aspects of the memorial industry, from headstones to caskets to urns to burial services. And that meant they also controlled all of the pricing, of course. But now, thanks to government regulations, known as the Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, memorial consumers have the power to contract different companies for each of their various memorial needs - and discount funerals are the result.
Just as corner grocery stores are sometimes justified in charging more than supermarkets for products simply because of the convenience of being nearby, many funeral homes offer “one-stop shopping” for a family’s memorial needs; And, of course, they charge much more. That means, discount funerals are definitely not a specialty of most funeral homes. In fact, the convenience of allowing a funeral home to supply 100 percent of your memorial needs can conceivably double – or even triple – the cost of what would otherwise be a discount funeral.
While, just as there is room for the convenience store in today’s economy, funeral homes can certainly provide a valuable and worthy service. But, for bargain hunters, the best deals on memorial needs will usually come from independent dealers. That is the best the economic bet, anyway, when it comes to planning funerals on a budget. It’s not uncommon for independent memorial dealers to offer prices that are hundreds, or even thousands, less than what a funeral home has asked for similar – if not identical items. That is not to say, however, that these less-expensive items are in any way skimping on quality. In fact, many find that the very same caskets, cremation urns, or even grave marker or headstones offered by a funeral home or cemetery can be obtained elsewhere for a dramatically lower price.
Discount funerals may not be as easy to plan as those where the items are coming from one source, unfortunately, but independent dealers can offer plenty of help. With that in mind, we have assembled this list of things to consider:
Funeral homes are not always happy that their customers may choose to plan discount funerals, and they may attempt to discourage such plans. If they do, you should know that they have probably broken the law, and we encourage you to contact the Federal Trade Commission with a complaint. Most funeral homes are run by honest business people and will not get in the way of your quest for discount funeral, but they, likewise, may not always tell you about all of your options. They are under no obligation to do so, of course, and it’s understandable, that a business person would not necessarily want to advertise for the competition that offers substantially lower prices. So, that’s why we simply encourage everyone interested in discount funerals to make sure he or she explores all options. The most important thing to remember is that you are under no obligation to use the casket, headstone, or any other memorial product that a funeral home may offer. If you see something you like offered by an independent dealer, and if the price is right, you are well within your rights to buy our product and to insist that it be used by your funeral home as part of your discount funeral.