How to Save on funerals, Melbourne 2016
Most Australian funerals now cost between $5,000 and $10,000; with some funeral companies charging as much as $15,000 to $20,000.
Further, as our population of cashed up baby boomers age funeral prices will be driven up even further. It’s not unreasonable to predict that within a few years the average funeral will cost as much as $15,000.
Fortunately, with a little planning you can realistically cut out-of-pocket funeral expenses by as much as 75%. This means you could save between $4,000 and $7,000 when planning a funeral service.
Unfortunately, most people have no idea what funeral goods and services are required, nor do they know what those goods and services should cost. So they end up buying whatever the Funeral Director recommends. Funeral Directors know this, so they simply don’t tell families about less expensive options.
While there isn’t anything wrong with running a profitable business, many funeral homes achieve their above-average profits by misleading weary and grieving consumers, and when it comes to funerals, it is easy to mislead consumers.
Until recently most funeral planning information came directly from funeral directors. This meant the only information available to families was what they were told by the very people trying to sell them something.
But here is some good news, the Internet is making it possible for families to research funeral prices with objective, accurate information that can help them make affordable funeral and cremation arrangements.
There are several things you can do that will help you plan a more affordable funeral or cremation service. Here are some basic strategies:
Research on the internet before picking up the phone. If a business doesn’t have prices and packages on their website, ignore them and find one that does.
Compare and contrast prices and the associated packages. See what’s included and most importantly what’s not included. If something is not included, it’s not an oversight, you will be charged for it. It is not unusual for a business to advertise a very cheap package that turns out to be a very expensive one when the additional costs are included in the final invoice. These additional costs often include:
Picking up the deceased, particularly if it’s after hours. Some companies will add as much as $695.
Flowers, a coffin looks pretty sad without a floral arrangement. Don’t be surprised if this increases your bill by as much as $500.
An oversized coffin, these can add as much as $1000 to your bill. And you would be surprised how may people these days need an oversized one, its not just weight but also height that has to be considered.
Picking up the ashes. Do you really want to enter the bowels of the cemetery, stand out the counter while staff sort through ashes, and sign for your loved ones remains like you would at a checkout counter. Receiving your loved ones ashes is a confronting experience, and if you’ve held a lovely service where you really celebrated your loved ones life don’t taint that memory by picking up the ashes yourself, get the Funeral Director to do it, and they should include it in the price.
Embalm; you don’t need to have your loved one embalmed. You only need to have someone embalmed if they are being repatriated overseas. Some companies embalm every deceased, after all they have to pay for their mortuary staff somehow; so expect your bill to increase by around $1000.
Mortuary fees, ensure these are all inclusive. If you want your loved one dressed and all mortuary fees are not included don’t be surprised if the bill goes up by another $500, if not more.
Service fees, ensure the quote includes all service fees, such as administration costs, photocopying etc etc.
Now the Don’ts
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
Don’t be rushed, you have weeks if need be so take your time, take care of yourself and your friends and family
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with being pragmatic.
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After many years of working in the funeral industry I came to realise that many people prefer to celebrate the loss of a loved one independent of a traditional funeral ceremony and without the exorbitant fees; and thus Fuss Free Funerals was born.