Wait, you bought what? Where? Taking online shopping to the next level...

Death is an awkward topic for many people. Let’s face it, most of us don’t like to discuss the inevitability of our own demise. It seems like talking about it is avoided almost as much as gluten these days. Yet it is something we will all eventually have to face.  

Timing is key
Expressing your wishes ahead of time relieves a great amount of stress from the family. It goes without saying that discussing funeral plans with someone in good health is much easier than with someone knocking on death’s door.

I remember all too well having the painful conversation with my late husband after he was diagnosed with a terminal and aggressive form of brain cancer. 

As luck would have it, we had the talk just a few months prior when discussing his mother’s future desires. However, the desires one has when they believe they have another forty or fifty years may end up changing when that time-frame decreases to forty or fifty days. This is where some of the confusion, and stress, can begin for the family.

Put it in writing
It is important to put your plans in writing. It doesn't have to be anything official. Actually it can be incredibly simple…

This will help eliminate some of the guesswork when the family is making funeral preparations. Because in reality, that’s who the funeral is really for-the chance for the surviving family and friends to say goodbye.

So whether you take a snapshot of a message you wrote on an Etch-a-Sketch, put a Sticky note on your estate documents, or type up a formal letter, make your wishes known in writing.

Plan ahead and save
While not near as pleasurable as planning a family vacation, pre-planning your funeral can save you some big bucks. When I planned for my husband’s funeral many years ago, it wasn't cheap. I paid around $3,200, which was right around the national average for a cremation service. The average for burial services can run upwards of $7,000-$10,000, depending on demographic and the services selected.

A few weeks after his death, I received a call from the funeral home asking if they could schedule a time to bring some grieving material by the house. Having gone through this with both of my grandparents, I knew it would be a sales visit, but agreed anyway. 

As the poor guy spoke, slowly testing the waters and throwing out the “I’m so sorry for your loss” lines, all while gauging just the right time to enter into his pitch, I simply asked, “how much”? A bit shocked by my abruptness to get to the bottom line, he answered “$2,300”. A $900 savings from what I had just paid...sold!

Since the premium is calculated using age, health, and a few other factors, I felt I was locking in a pretty decent deal. Could I invest that $2,300 and make more on the future value? Possibly. But since I’m not exactly sure of the date of my death, nor am I quite sure I want to know, I’ll gladly take this gamble. If the going cremation rate stays the same, I’m up 28% to date, and I’m pretty good with that.  

Save on the big-ticket items
Since I intended to scatter the majority of my late husband’s ashes, I opted for cremation without a decorative urn. However, wanting to keep a small portion, I questioned the best type of container choice for such a request. The answer I was given: Any. Yep, that’s right, for the most part anyway. They will need to be able to seal the container with an epoxy type of substance. So I opted for one of his favorite beer steins.

However, when my aunt recently passed, my uncle decided to purchase an urn. As we flipped through the catalog at the funeral home, I was shocked at the prices. Then I remembered something that was suggested when I was thinking about what to use for my husband’s container: look on Amazon.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can purchase an urn online from Amazon. Heck, some are even eligible for Prime membership shipping. The best part is that you can snag deals for a fraction of the price of the funeral home. Don’t worry, these aren't chintzy looking or made. The one we selected for my aunt was a heavy duty pearl white and nickel finish. It was much nicer than the catalog options, and we paid almost 88% less than what they were wanting.

See one online you can't live without? <pun intended> Purchase it now and store it in your closet or attic. Not only are you ensuring you'll get exactly what you want, but you're also locking in a great deal at today's prices.

Opting for a traditional burial
Costco is another online retailer that offers great savings on your final resting compartment. They have even expanded their online inventory to include caskets. Yes, caskets.

With a casket potentially being one of the largest portions of your funeral expense, some costing upwards of $10,000, it’s definitely worth looking into. The prices range from around $950-$1500 for standard shipping to $1300-$2200 for expedited shipping. There are some additional rules like you’ll probably need to have it delivered to a funeral home and such, so they’ll require a phone call before completing your order. With next day delivery available, and the savings you may be able to achieve, it’s definitely worth looking into.

So whether you want to start small by sharing your type of burial wishes, advance to pre-ordering your urn, or go all out and plan who may cater your funeral reception, take the first step-talk about it. 

It may cause you a little stress now, but will eliminate a good amount for your loved ones later on.

Want to see more ideas about saving money? Check out my other posts on The Money Dietand follow me on Facebook.

Urn photo courtesy of Memorial Gallery http://www.funeral-urn.com/golden-classic-cremation-urn.aspx

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