Cremation allows families different choices for remembering their loved ones. Some select to keep the cremated remains with them in an urn at home, while others prefer to have them scattered over water or land. If you have the responsibility of handling a loved one’s remains and want to find a simple yet affordable cremation option, here are some simple and affordable options to consider.
1. Have a Direct Cremation
This disposition option allows a body to be cremated in the days following a person’s death without having a funeral beforehand. This is the most affordable option because it does not involve having a formal funeral or any pre-funeral events that can really drive up the cost. Here’s a quick look at how direct cremation compares to traditional funeral home planning.
- You contract the services of a crematory instead of going through a funeral home. This is where you will see your biggest monetary savings.
- The body is typically cremated in a simple container instead of a costlier casket which could cost a lot more.
- There is no wake, viewing or visitation before the cremation. This eliminates the need for body preparations or embalming.
- You can hold a memorial service or Celebration of Life ceremony later, which erases the need for a costly casket and funeral arrangements.
To arrange a direct cremation, contact a local crematory for information. The staff should be able to handle all the details including transporting the body to the crematory for a moderate fee and completing the death certificate.
2. Purchasing Budget-Friendly Urns
Another way to save some money on a cremation is to purchase a lower-priced urn that you will use at home, for a burial or to scatter the ashes. However, different styled urns serve different purposes, so it’s important to make sure you choose the type based on functionality and not what is the cheapest option. Picking the right urn for your loved one’s remains could take some time, so you should consider using a temporary container until the permanent one is purchased. Here are some options to consider:
- Biodegradable Urns: Just as its name implies, these urns are biodegradable and made from organic paper. They typically serve as temporary vessels until they are buried or cast into an ocean or lake during a scattering of ashes. Other types of biodegradable urns can be planted, and trees or other plants grow from seeds embedded in the paper covering. Biodegradable urns are not meant to be long-term.
- Scattering Urns: These temporary containers are either biodegradable for water disposition or have easy-opening ends for scattering the cremains into the ocean, a garden, or other places in nature. They come in various sizes and styles.
- Keepsakes Urns: These types of urns are perfect when the ashes will be divided and kept in different locations. They are smaller and therefore less expensive. Look for companies that sell sets of these types of urns.
3. Burial on Family Plot
If you prefer to have your loved one’s ashes buried, you can inter them on a family plot in local cemetery. In California, a cremation urn can be buried on a family plot either at the head or foot of a casket already buried there. Each state may have its own rules, so you may want to check before considering this option. While this will save the family money on purchasing a plot, there may still be a fee for the interment of ashes.
You can choose to have this type of burial of ashes with or without a service. Having one may mean using a funeral home in which case your costs will increase. You can always have a private, informal service with close friends and family members after the ashes has been interred.
4. Burial on Private Plot
Some families may want to bury the ashes of their loved one on their private properties. While each state has its own rules and regulations for this, in California, cremated remains may be buried or scattered on private property with the written consent of the property owner.
For this kind of burial, arrangements can be made without the assistance of a funeral home, thereby reducing the amount you would need to spend. However, it is highly recommended to follow the Health and Human Services regulations. In California, a burial permit is required. If you want, you can also have a graveside ceremony at the time of the burial. You can mark the area headstone or monument.
5. Donate the Body to Science
If it is your loved one’s wish to have his or her body donated to science, you can select a third-party company that will send you the cremated remains once the research is complete, which usually is about 12 weeks. Companies such as MedCure, upon notification of the death and donor acceptance, will be responsible for arranging and providing transportation and care of the body. The entire process, which includes transportation, cremation, a certified copy of death certificate and the return of the cremated remains, is done at absolutely no cost to the family.
Finalizing Your Decision
If you are on a tight budget and are not looking for an elaborate funeral service, these five affordable cremation options are worth considering. If you’re not sure if cremation is the right choice for your loved one, funeral professionals such as Grace can help you decide which option best suits your needs and will take care of your final arrangements.