Low Cost Funerals: Your 2021 Guide

It’s easy for funeral costs to spiral out of control when you’re arranging one for someone dear to you.

Many people feel under pressure to get everything perfect for the day and then end up spending more than what’s necessary.

In fact, according to a 2020 survey, 87% of UK funeral directors said people tend to overspend on certain things - especially flowers[1].

It may seem disrespectful to cut back on your loved one’s final farewell, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you can afford.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep costs down and there’re also various budget funeral options available through most funeral directors.

Continue reading this helpful guide from award-winning broker, Reassured, for more information...

Control your own funeral budget with a prepaid funeral plan

A prepaid funeral plan arranged through Reassured allows you to pay for your own funeral in advance, protecting your loved ones from the substantial expense when the time comes.

With a funeral plan you can:

  • Arrange your own funeral within a sensible budget
  • Avoid rising funeral costs (today’s prices are fixed)
  • Spread the cost with affordable monthly payments

Reassured can compare funeral plan quotes from some of the UK’s most reputable providers, completely free of charge.

We can talk you through prices and the features of each plan to help you make an informed decision on the one that’s best for you.

Get in touch for your FREE, personalised quote and save money today.

Please note: the information provided in this guide hasn’t taken into the account the current Covid-19 restrictions for funerals in the UK. Current guidance is provided on the government website.

Budget funerals

Traditional funerals are expensive as they include all the ceremonial elements such as a procession with hearse and limousines.

They also require more organisation from a funeral director, who charges fees for each of the services they provide.

The cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £4,184 on average, but it’s possible to spend less than half of this if you choose a budget funeral.

Budget funeral options include the following:

Direct cremation^


This is the most budget-friendly option of all, but it won’t be suitable for everyone.

Direct cremation is when there’s no funeral service or ceremony held before a cremation. Instead, your loved one is collected and taken directly to the crematorium for a straight-forward cremation.

The ashes are returned to you to keep or scatter wherever you wish. Only the basic services need to be paid for which makes this option so affordable.

Eco-burial


This is the environmentally friendly alternative to a traditional funeral.

An eco-burial can be arranged on a budget. For example, you can choose a simple shroud or coffin, the service can be held at the graveside and you won’t need to pay for embalming.

A burial plot still needs to be purchased, but the simplicity of an eco-burial means that you can save money on other aspects of the funeral.

Do it Yourself (DIY) funeral


You don’t have to use a funeral director by law. If you really need to keep costs down and you have plenty of support, then funeral arrangements can be made entirely (or partly) by yourself.

Responsibilities may include; obtaining and filling in the necessary legal paperwork, booking the cremation or burial, paying the necessary fees, caring for the deceased at home, buying the coffin, arranging suitable transport, and leading the ceremony.

Simple funeral


Most funeral directors can provide a simple or ‘basic’ funeral option for cremation or burial.

Simple funeral packages include all the essential services required for a funeral but tend to offer less flexibility, for example, times and dates may be restricted and there may not be a procession to the funeral venue.

However, unlike a direct cremation, a simple funeral allows you to say goodbye to your loved one at a traditional funeral service.

^Some funeral directors offer a direct burial option too, although these are less common

Budget funeral directors

Here’s a quick comparison of the current services and prices of budget funeral directors that operate across the UK:

Services Express Cremations Low Cost Funerals (Memoria) Farewill Funerals
Direct cremation
Direct burial
Simple cremation funeral
Simple burial funeral
Eco-burial
Prices from £995 £995 £950 £1,313 £980

This information is taken from the provider’s websites. These prices are correct as of 4th February 2021 and are subject to change by the funeral provider at any time**

  • Simplicity Cremations
    Offer direct cremation and simple cremation only funeral packages (prices from £995)
  • Express Cremations
    Offer direct cremation only (prices from £995)
  • Low Cost Funerals (Memoria)
    Offer direct cremation, eco-burial and simple funeral packages for cremation or burial (prices from £950)
  • Co-op Funeralcare
    Offer direct cremation, direct burial, eco-burial and simple funeral packages for cremation or burial (prices from £1,313)
  • Farewill Funerals
    Offer direct cremation, and simple cremation only funeral packages (prices from £980)

Not forgetting there’re also independent funeral directors across the UK; there may be one local to you that can cater for your unique needs and budget.

Use this handy tool to find independent funeral directors in your area: https://localfuneral.co.uk/.

Reassured are unable to help you arrange a funeral for your loved one today, but we can help you set up a prepaid funeral plan for yourself or on behalf of someone else.

As mentioned, a prepaid funeral plan allows you to pay in advance for a funeral so that the costs are covered when the time comes, protecting loved ones from the expense.

Get in touch with our award-winning broker service for your FREE prepaid funeral plan quotes.

Is a budget funeral acceptable?

Yes, there are many reasons why a family may want or need to arrange a funeral on a budget.

For example, if the deceased didn’t set enough money aside for their funeral, then it’s down to the family to cover the cost somehow.

According to the 2020 survey, 1 in 7 families who’d arranged a funeral said it caused them notable financial difficulty.

On average, they had to find almost £1,800 to cover outstanding costs for the funeral.

Sometimes, it’s the deceased’s wishes for their family to spend as little money as possible on their send-off.

This is mainly because they don’t want a huge fuss and/or they’re aware that the expense could cause financial stress for loved ones.

Make financial provisions for your own funeral today with a prepaid funeral plan arranged through Reassured.

Funeral planning on a budget: Top 11 tips

There are ways to keep costs down when arranging a traditional funeral, whether it be religious or non-religious.

You can pick and choose which elements could be scaled back to help you meet your specific budget.

Here are our top 11 tips on funeral planning on a budget:

  1. Shop around and compare quotes
    Shop around and compare quotes from more than one funeral director. You’ll get a much better idea of what services are available and how much these should cost.

    Plus, by comparing prices you’ll be able to find a local funeral director that offers the best deal for the services you want.

    Be open about your budget with your chosen funeral director; check their pricelist before making any final decisions and ensure there aren’t any hidden costs.

    You don’t want to end up paying for additional extras that you didn’t ask for.

  2. Use social media
    Instead of paying for a newspaper notice, you could invite family and friends to the upcoming funeral using social media (e.g. Facebook).

    According to the 2020 study, using social media for funeral invites was one of the biggest changes in funeral trends that year.

  3. Choose an off-peak time
    Funeral directors tend to charge more for funerals they hold outside of usual working hours and/or at weekends.

    You may find the cheaper funeral options will have restricted times and dates for the funeral, but this could be ideal if you’re flexible.

  4. Don’t have limousines
    Funeral packages that include limousines or executive cars are more expensive.

    It’s much more affordable to hire a minibus or multi-seat taxi which could transport multiple guests to the funeral service. Or guests could simply travel to the service using their own method of transport.

  5. Cut back on flowers
    People who’d arranged a funeral in 2020 admitted that they’d spent too much on the flowers, and funeral directors say that this is the main element people overspend on[1].

    When you think about how long the funeral service is (between 30 - 45 minutes) this may be the only time the flowers are seen by loved ones.

    Compare prices from local florists to find a floral tribute perfect for your loved one and that’s within your budget.

  6. Don’t have pallbearers
    Having pallbearers to carry the coffin will add to the cost of the funeral.

    To save money, you could ask a few family members and/or friends to do the honour instead.

  7. Don’t embalm the body
    Embalming allows the body to be preserved for family viewing before the funeral.

    Sometimes, the embalming process isn’t necessary and it’s an additional cost that could be avoided.

    That being said, if you choose to have an eco-burial, you wouldn’t be able to have the body embalmed as the chemicals used are toxic to the environment.

  8. Choose a simple coffin
    You can make significant savings just by choosing a simple coffin for your loved one.

    A cardboard coffin is the cheapest and can either be provided through a funeral director or ordered directly online from as little as £80.

    Most people prefer the traditional coffin type which can cost from £350 upwards.

    A funeral director can help you choose a coffin that’s at the right price point for you.

  9. Hold a wake at home
    Many people spend extra on venue hire and catering for the wake following the cremation or burial.

    However, if you’re on a budget, you could simply hold a wake at someone’s house free of charge.

    You could ask everyone to bring a dish or just provide a simple buffet for guests, there’s no need to go overboard.

  10. Have a cremation
    A basic cremation funeral costs on average £3,885 in the UK, whereas a basic burial funeral costs on average £5,033; a substantial difference!

    A burial is more expensive due to additional burial fees (cost of digging a grave, lease of a burial plot and so on).

    Also, headstone memorials aren’t cheap and they may require special maintenance over the years.

    If your religion permits it and you don’t have any family traditions to abide by, then cremation is a budget-friendly option.

  11. Get help with funeral costs
    Why not check if you’re entitled to help from the government?

    There’s a Funeral Expenses Payment (or Funeral Support Payment in Scotland) available to those on certain benefits.

    This payment can be up to £1,000 and can help cover essential funeral costs, such as burial or cremation fees.

More top tips for a budget funeral:

  • Create an order of service at home using a computer and printer, or ask a family member/friend to create one for you
  • A hearse doesn’t need to be used, a funeral director may be able to provide an alternative vehicle that costs less
  • Have a family-led service instead of having an officiant to do this, as they charge a fee
  • Shop around for a memorial that’s within your budget, there are many different types. Or, select a natural memorial that doesn’t cost anything, such as a particular plant or tree (also check which memorials are permitted at the cemetery you’re using)

Budget funeral plans through Reassured

Reassured can help you arrange a funeral plan from as little as £1,495 or £15.97* a month.

A funeral plan gives you peace of mind that your funeral has been paid for in advance and that your funeral wishes will be met.

Not only that, but you’ll protect your loved ones from rising funeral costs as a prepaid plan locks-in today’s rates for a funeral.

All the providers we work with will guarantee the funeral services included in your plan and will carry these out no matter when they are needed or how much prices have risen.

Funeral plans arranged through Reassured are approved by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) and are highly rated by UK customers.

We’re an award-winning, FCA regulated broker that can compare funeral plan quotes on your behalf and can assist with setting up the plan of your choice.

All our services are FEE-FREE, so why not get in touch?

Sources:

[1] SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021

*£15.97 a month is for the Simplicity Cremations Lily Plan, which is for a direct cremation only, paid by monthly instalments with 10 years payment term (total amount payable £1,981.80). Prices correct as of 20th November 2020

**Out of the providers listed, Reassured can only arrange prepaid funeral plans from Simplicity Cremations and Co-op Funeralcare

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At Reassured, we will provide you with quotes from Co-op Funeral Care, Dignity Funeral Services and Simplicity Cremations.

All of the funeral plans we provide are fully regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) ensuring you and your money are protected.

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