Save Funeral Costs Helps grieving families to afford the funeral that their loved ones deserve
Sadly, fairly recent research has shown that one in five UK families have trouble financing a funeral and funeral costs are generally on the rise, far past inflation levels. Mourning families that cannot afford these costs, often have no choice but to take out loans to cover expenses, leaving them with a sizable amount of debt. Others have no choice but to eat heavily into their retirement savings. This can add to the trauma following the death of a loved one.
I was inspired to write ‘Save Funeral Costs’ guide book from personal experience. After using the same reliable family undertaker for over thirty years, I realised that funeral fees had risen dramatically over this time and that it was no longer affordable to use the same undertaker. Upon comparing other high street undertakers, I found that many others were in the same cost range, with some being almost 20% more expensive. Fortunately, after a little while, I discovered a low-cost undertaker (sometimes referred to as an online undertaker). This undertaker is in the guide, and I have since recommended to others.
Most people faced with having to organise a funeral are often not in a strong enough frame of mind to shop around. Often upset they normally go to one of the nearby high street undertakers. I wrote this deliberately short guide-book to offer a simple comprehensive step-by-step process to funding a funeral at a lower cost, covering everything that readers may need to know in their time of hardship. Likewise, the guide can also be used by people who still wish to use a favoured undertaker but wish to save on some costs or personalise a funeral. I wanted to explain a wide range of funeral options, from organising a simple direct cremation service to arranging a home funeral with a garden burial. The book covers each funeral option and lists details of low-cost undertakers, suppliers and organisations.
The death of a loved one can be an emotionally challenging time. I knew in my own mind how it is easy to lose focus. People stressed with having to organise a funeral do not actually want or have time to read a thick book, most just want simple direct answers, with open pricing as I did at the time.
After some thorough research into the subject, I discovered why many undertakers were now so expensive. One of the reasons is that the few large national companies now own a significant number of undertakers. As many people are aware, when larger companies take over smaller independents, then the costs can sometimes increase. Customers are quite often unaware that one of the large national companies has taken over a smaller undertaking business until they receive funeral correspondence.
Some of the larger companies have said that many of their customers are returning ones or recommendations. Whilst this is no doubt very true, and they give good service, it is also true to say that many people I have spoken to are unaware of a low-cost undertaker, and that they can receive the same ‘like for like’ service for often far less cost. One of the reasons for many people being unaware of a low-cost option is that the smaller undertakers cannot afford to advertise as largely as the big national companies.
In all fairness to the large national companies, and similar that they do have the up-keep of a shop front and generally operate a fleet of hearse and limousines, which are only a maximum of a few years old. Most low-cost undertakers would not offer this, however having spoken to many people about this, none of them has said they were that bothered about being in a virtually new limousine given the short distance they are often travelling. As long as it was clean, and well maintained that would be fine.
I discovered that it was very possible to make big savings by simply understanding the inner workings of the funeral industry, in other words, to make enquiries. This at the time was not easy to focus on as well as having to organise my brother’s funeral and battling with a hospital consultant who listed my brother’s death as pneumonia, when in fact as the coroner confirmed it was nothing to do with pneumonia.
My main criteria for the book is;
“How to save a large amount of money but importantly without spending a large amount of time and not reduce the dignity of a loved one’s funeral”
For most people a funeral is something that cannot be completely skimped on – families still want to give their loved ones a respectful send-off. At the same time, many grieving families do not have ample amounts of time at their disposal.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) were looking into the funeral industry pricing, including that of the large national companies. Leading national newspapers, as well as MP Lord Frank Field who chairs the Work and Pension Committee, have both spoken out on the CMA investigation.
The various links below from a cross-section of sources can inform any interested readers.
With MP Frank Field comments
Personally speaking, I hope that one day that the funeral industry will be regulated in part, due to public pressure, this will hopefully result in more open pricing/lower costs and offering more direct cremations.
It is true to say that while there are many blogs and books available for offering funeral-saving tips, many offer only general advice. I wanted to provide more information on where to look and who to contact all in one place, condensed into an easy-to-read guide. Its main aim is to show that a low-cost funeral is achievable, without compromising quality and saving costs needn’t be complicated.
Article by Steve Barrett
Save Funeral Costs