18 Dec 2023

How to save on funeral costs during the cost of living crisis

Across the UK, households have experienced a cost of living crisis affecting the price of everyday essentials, from food and fuel to consumer goods. And for some families mourning the passing of a loved one, it’s been an especially hard time as the rising cost of funerals have provided yet another financial worry to add to the list. But are funeral costs really going up? In this article, we’ll examine average funeral costs in the UK, and how to save money on funeral costs while still creating the perfect send-off.

Four people at a funeral holding red roses and wearing black suits

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In 2023, the average cost of a UK funeral stands at £4,450, based on research carried out by Legal & General. Navigating cost when in mourning can make an already difficult time, more stressful.

This article will explore how much you might pay for a UK funeral, dependent on the scale and type of funeral that you choose, as well as the location.

Based on the research, here are just some of the ways that UK funeral prices differ:

Burial funeral costs

  • The average cost of a burial in the UK was £5,493
  • This reached as high as £9,249 in West London’s W4 postcode.

Cremation costs

  • The survey found that average cremation funeral costs in the UK were £4,176, including the crematorium fee, doctors’ fee and minister’s fee.
  • However, the average weighted cost for a direct cremation was £1,396.

Funeral directors’ charges

  • For using a funeral director alone, the average UK funeral director charges (including the coffin, limousine and embalming) were £2,953.
  • However, these costs varied by region – from as high as £4,195 in Guildford in Surrey, to £1,749 in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear.

Funeral costs are increasing, according to the research. But how fast are funeral costs rising? The average weighted funeral cost of £4,450 (for 2023) compares to £3,395 in 2013 – an increase of over 30%. While prices can fluctuate from year to year, it’s clear that UK funeral prices are proving to cause a significant financial strain for many households.

How to save money on funeral costs

Whether you’re thinking about the cost of your own funeral, or planning a fitting farewell to your dearly departed, there are lots of ways to save on funeral costs. The emotions of the day are of course important to consider, but funerals are also about sound financial planning.

Ordinarily, the cost of a funeral is covered by the deceased’s estate, and the will or letter of wishes often contains information about the type of funeral requested. But as a general rule of thumb, here are some ideas for saving on funeral costs during the UK cost of living crisis:

1. Consider a direct cremation

As the research indicates, a direct cremation can be a cheaper alternative to a burial funeral service. This is a simple, no-frills funeral without a formal ceremony, and often, there are no mourners in attendance.

2. Scatter your ashes

It may be cheaper to scatter your ashes, rather than intern them in a grave plot. You could choose an area of natural beauty or personal significance, while making sure you obtain permission from the relevant landowners in advance.

3. Do your homework on the price of coffins

You could also decide to buy your own coffin rather than use a funeral director’s recommendation (which may come at a marked-up price). Moreover, the price of coffins is generally cheaper for materials like cardboard compared to solid wood or metal caskets.

4. Consider a prepaid funeral plan

If you want to control the amount your loved ones spend on your funeral, and avoid unexpectedly high last-minute costs, a prepaid funeral plan may give you the certainty you require. This is where you pay for the cost of a funeral in advance, either through a monthly plan or a lump sum payment, and can help meet a range of funeral costs – from funeral director fees to the coffin and care of the body.

5. Arrange your own transport

While some mourners opt to arrive in a fleet of limousines, or even a horse-drawn funeral carriage, there is no rule that states that you need to spend big on funeral transportation. If guests arrive in their own vehicles or public transport, that could reduce the cost of the funeral significantly.

6. Provide your own catering

Not everyone is a culinary genius, but if friends and family can chip in and batch-cook some meals – and serve guests on the day – then organising your own catering can be a smart way to lessen the impact of the rising cost of funerals.

7. Avoid the optional extras

There are no shortage of ways that a funeral service can be personalised, from floral tributes and headstones to urns for the internment. Cutting back on some of these commemorations, and perhaps doing your own homemade tributes like cards or special readings and performances, could help you save on funeral costs.

8. Consider Over 50s Life Insurance

If you’re not interested in a funeral plan but you’d like to leave your loved ones with some modest financial assistance, you could consider Over 50s Fixed Life Insurance. It can soften the impact of last-minute funeral costs by entitling your family to a fixed cash sum when you die, that can be put towards some of your funeral expenses. Moreover, acceptance is guaranteed for UK residents aged 50 to 80, with no medical required, plus you’ll get full cover after 1 year.

Help with funeral costs

If you or a partner are in receipt of certain benefits (like Universal Credit or Income Support) you could be eligible for state assistance. Please visit GOV.UK for more information.

Find out more about our Over 50s Fixed Life Insurance

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