DON'T BURY YOUR MONEY !
by Alexandra K.
wants to do business with the funeral director. Unfortunately, arranging a
funeral is a task that virtually all of us will have to deal with at some
point in our lives. And the better prepared we are in advance, the easier it
will be when the time comes. All funeral homes are required by law to furnish
their prices to you over the phone and in person by a printed price list.
Prices vary, as do alternatives to the "traditional" funeral, which
includes embalming, open casket visitation and earth burial. So if a death is
impending, it is to your advantage to call or visit several establishments for
prices and options. There is nothing disrespectful about this. As in all
transactions, you deserve the best value for your money.
experience, the following are twelve sure ways to cut the high cost of a
1) CONSIDER CREMATION
The cost of
cremation is approximately one third less than the
price of a grave opening. And if you don't already own cemetery property, the savings is even more substantial, since burial
plots generally cost upwards of $1,500.
2) OMIT THE OUTER BURIAL VAULT
Vaults which are
available in steel or concrete, are generally not
required by most cemeteries. The casket offers sufficient
protection from the outside elements.
3) PUT A LIMIT ON FLOWERS
Many cemeteries only
accept a limited number of floral pieces.
Instead of each family member sending an individual piece,
pool your resources and send one or two. In lieu of flowers,
suggest visitors send contributions to a favorite charity.
4) DRIVE YOUR OWN CAR
Instead of costly
limousines, take your own car to the religious
service and cemetery, which are often nearby. These days almost
everyone drives and funeral attendee's can carpool.
5) HAVE THE DECEASED DRESSED IN THEIR OWN CLOTHING
Instead of purchasing costly "burial" clothing from the funeral home use favorite outfit which had meaning. If you must buy something new, consider an off-price store such as TJMaxx, Loehmanns or Marshalls.
6) LIMIT THE VISITATION PERIOD OR OPT FOR NO VIEWING
periods (two & three days) are becoming a thing
of the past; one day is common. And often people have moved or
passed away and there are few people available to attend the visitation. In many cases, a religious service and
burial or cremation, without viewing serves the mourners well.
7) DO NOT BE LURED BY EXPENSIVE CASKETS
Choose a casket in a
price range you feel comfortable with. Most people
choose a particular casket for personal reasons, such as
color or decoration. Remember this is a major purchase which
will soon either be buried or cremated. One casket is as dignified as another, regardless of price.
8) DO WITHOUT FRILLS
metal plates with the deceased's' name, and
obituaries are often not necessary.
9) CONSIDER DIRECT BURIAL OR DIRECT CREMATION
The remains are
taken from the place of death to the crematory or cemetery with no preparation and no services. This is the least expensive mode of disposition.
10) USE FAMILY AND FRIENDS AS PALLBEARERS
Not only is
there a monetary savings, this adds a personal touch as well.
11) BE BURIED HERE
immigrants desire to be returned to their former homeland
upon their death. The combined cost of the airfare charges and the foreign consulate requirements make this an expensive undertaking.
12) MAKE A PRE-ARRANGEMENT
a funeral before a death has occurred allows for
well thought out decisions not colored by emotion.
K. Mosca 2001
Alexandra K. Mosca has been a funeral director for twenty years and is the licensed manager of the Hellenic Funeral Home in Queens. She has appeared on talk shows across the country, written a newspaper column on funeral related matters, and lectured to religious, civic and educational groups in an effort to educate the public about the funeral business. Most recently she has completed her autobiography entitled "Grave Undertakings" about her life as a funeral director.