Losing someone close can be so very depressing. The fact that you are never going to see the person again is outright sad. However, that is how nature works and you can try every possible way but you won’t be able to stop death from coming.

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What you can do is, plan a proper funeral well in advance so that you can save enough money for that day. Imagine planning your parents’ wife’s funeral while she is doing the same thing for you. Most people would say you have gone bollocks but it is actually a very practical thing to do. Like it or not, funerals are pricey. That is why you have to decide well in advance whether you want to opt for a burial or a cremation service.


Different people have different sentiments when it comes to burying their close ones. But, you also have to understand how much you can afford too. Over the years, cremation has become a favorite for a lot of people. This is because it is slightly on the cheaper side than burial. Before moving on to which one is the better option, let’s take a look at the average cost of both options.

Cost Breakdown of Burials and Cremations

As per the reports presented by the Cremation Association of North America, 48.6% of people got cremated. This rate is expected to rise and reach up to 54.3% by the year 2020.

They also predict that it is because of the cost-effectiveness that cremation is slowly becoming more preferable than burials.

Another report confirmed by the Funeral and Memorial Information Council states that as much as 65% of Americans are choosing to get cremated instead of opting for a burial service. So, why are people choosing cremation over burials? A simple breakdown of the individual costs would help to understand the difference better.

Cost of basic burial services

Military Cemetery Buried

Following is the cost breakdown of a burial service:

  1. The fee for the basic service costs around $2000.
  2. There is an additional transportation fee of $300 to take the body to a funeral home.
  3. Preparing the body and embalming it is another $900. $200 for the body preparation and $700 for embalming.
  4. You will need another car for transporting flowers and belongings. That will cost another $130.
  5. The facilities for the viewing, staff and the funeral and the hearse will cost $900 and $300 respectively.
  6. If you want to opt for memorial directories or acknowledgment cards or registration books, it will cost a further $150.

It doesn’t end here. There are some additional costs too:

  • The grave plot comes at a price of $1000 and the burial vault at $1300.
  • The fee for opening and closing is $1200.
  • If you choose a metal casket, the cost may range from $1000 to $15000.

There will be an addition of $1500 for the headstone.

So, the total cost of a burial service comes to around $5000 without the additional costs. It will easily cross 10 grand if you opt for the additional services. Now, let’s see the cost of a cremation service.

Cost of basic cremation service

How much does it cost for a cremation?

Cremation costs can cost around $700. If you want some premium services or add-ons, it can cost a maximum of $2000 and not more. Yes, the rate varies from state to state, but on average, it is nowhere in comparison to the cost of a burial.

Here is what is done in a basic cremation service:

  • You need not use the services of a funeral home because the body gets cremated right after death. Only a basic crematory service is required and nothing else.
  • A cardboard container is used to cremate the body. There is no need for a metal casket or anything.
  • You may or may not hold a memorial service. Most people prefer to carry the memorial service at home.
  • There is no viewing of the funeral. Also, body preparation is exempted and so is the embalming part.

It is better to familiarize yourself with the state’s requirements well ahead of time. This is because different states have different rules for cremations. Most states will allow you to take the body and get it cremated, get the transit permit and death certificate on your own. Some of the states require the services of a funeral director to get all these things done. If you have burial insurance, don’t forget to claim the benefit in the first place.

If you want to compare the costs of cremation in the top 5 most expensive cities in the US, then here is a list that you should see. Please note that only the minimum costs are listed below:

  1. Chicago – $900
  2. Washington, DC – $700
  3. New York City – $600
  4. Houston – $700
  5. Dallas – $900

What is the average cost of a funeral with cremation?

If you are wondering what the cost of a funeral will be along with cremation, then the following cost breakup will help you understand:

  • Renting a casket will cost around $1000.
  • The cremation cost will be $30 and you can get the urns at a cost of $250.

This is normally opted by those who want to keep the urns in their house.

Why is burial better than cremation?

There are many who believe that burial is still a better option than prepaid cremation. That is not only a sentimental reason but there is some factual evidence too that may tilt burial service slightly in favor:

  • It is compulsory for certain religions to go for burial and not a cremation service.
  • You get a separate gravesite that you can visit.
  • It is easy to exhume the body if required.
  • Gives a better closure for friends and family and all the close people of the deceased.

Final thought

Cremating your loved one can be very painful. But, that is a necessary evil that every person and loved one has to go through. Looking at it practically, you need to weigh your sentiments along with your pocket and decide whether to go for a burial service or a normal cremation service.

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