Funeral Cost Breakdown & Best Tips To Save

When planning for final expenses, many people have a general idea of how much they are expecting to pay. But how much is it really?

It truly depends on what you’re planning on doing, wether that’s a cremation or traditional funeral and burial. It even depends on the area of the country you live in and want to be buried in.

In this article we are going to go over the funeral cost breakdown and some of the biggest tips to save on your funeral.

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Funeral & Burial Costs

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the national median cost of a funeral and burial is $7,640. If a vault is included, which is sometimes required by some cemeteries, the median cost goes up to $9,135.

Here is a breakdown of costs.

Basic services fee$2,195
Transfer of remains to funeral home$350
Other preparation of the body$255
Use of facilities for viewing$425
Use of facilities for funeral ceremony$500
Service car/van$150
Basic memorial printed package$175
Metal casket$2,500
Median Cost of a Funeral With Viewing and Burial$7,640
Total with vault$9,135

These figures do not include a plot and headstone. This is because a lot of families have family plots or have already paid for a plot in some way. If you do not have a plot and headstone, expect to add another $1000-$4000 depending on the cemetery.

Cremation Costs

With rising costs for funerals and burials, an increasing amount of people are choosing cremations as a way to save money.

However, cremations have been increasing in cost in recent years.

The National Funeral Directors Association estimated the national median cremation cost with a viewing service to be $5150.

Here is a breakdown of costs.

Basic services fee$2,195
Transfer of remains to funeral home$350
Other preparation of the body$255
Use of facilities for viewing$425
Use of facilities for funeral ceremony$500
Service car/van$150
Basic memorial printed package$175
Cremation fee$350
Median Cost of a Funeral with Viewing and Cremation$5,150

Not included in these costs is the cost of a cremation casket, if you choose to have one. Costs for those range between $900-$1,500.

Also keep in mind, all of these costs are national median prices. Prices may be higher if you live in a higher cost of living area, and lower in a lower cost of living area.

Funeral Costs By State

Funeral costs vary depending on the state you live in. Here is a breakdown showing the average funeral and burial costs by state alphabetically.

New Hampshire$8,516
New Jersey$9,712
New Mexico$6,793
New York$10,799
North Carolina$7,367
North Dakota$7,670
Rhode Island$9,269
South Carolina$7,445
South Dakota$7,748
West Virginia$7,072

Save On Your Final Expenses

Here are some of the top ways to save on your final expenses.

1. Skip The Viewing

If you or your family doesn’t care so much to see you one last time, you can request to skip the viewing and avoid some of the embalming and preparation fees.

2. Direct Burial/Cremation

A direct burial/cremation is the burial or cremation without any service of any kind. Some families choose to cut thousands of their cost by doing this and having an at-home service afterwards.

3. Buy A Casket Separately

You aren’t required to buy the casket and some other small items from the funeral home. Buy those things separate from other places if you want.

4. Shop Around

Unfortunately funeral homes have not been so transparent with their prices. Ask around to see their prices and ask for a price list. Get some estimates to find which ones offer your the best price and read reviews on what other people have said.


What is the most expensive part of a funeral?

A casket is the most expensive part of a funeral. Costs vary widely depending on the style and type, such as metal or wood.

Why are funerals so expensive?

Most people make hasty decision about a loved ones funeral because they don’t have the time to shop around. It is best to think about this beforehand and find something affordable, even if you are looking for a loved one.

What happens if you can’t afford a funeral?

If you can’t afford a funeral what usually happens is the body goes to a crematorium and the remains are disposed of by the crematorium and the family does not get to keep them.

Can burial life insurance be used for funeral expenses?

Yes. And it’s 100% tax free. It’s important to get some type of life insurance if you can not or will not save up the money on your own to give to someone in the family.

What if I’m paying too much for funeral expenses?

Always ask for a general price list and double check if the bill they give you is any different. This checklist by the Federal Trade Commission can be very helpful to itemizing your funeral.


Hopefully you’ve gained a good understanding of what you or your family is going to pay. The only other consideration to these costs is inflation.

The price of funerals have risen at double the rate of inflation in the last 30 years. It is important to prepare for how much you will be paying later on in life, rather than the rates of today.

For example, based on historical rates, someone in their 50’s or 60’s today can expect funerals to be double the price from what they are now when they reach their 90’s. And as life expectancy is increasing every year, many people will reach this age.

Be sure to protect against inflation when deciding how much you need to have ready to pay for your final expenses.

We hope that this guide has helped you get a better understanding of final expense costs!