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Avoid Funeral Home Purchases

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Don't purchase anything from the funeral home that you can buy elsewhere because they mark up the prices.

When my Mom passed away in 2001, I bought the flowers that topped her casket from a floral shop that delivered to the funeral home. I was shown pictures and the staff were very helpful in helping me choose the arrangement. I bought her casket at a manufacturer that delivered to the funeral home. By law they have to accept it and can't charge for accepting it. Expensive caskets don't preserve the body any longer than the less expensive ones.

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There were several makers of headstones in my area; I chose her headstone there and they installed it. Some people don't use their rides to the grave site, they go in their own automobiles. Plan the funeral as early after death as possible to avoid embalming. It's not required by law and doesn't preserve the body all that long.

Popular funeral homes in some cities have a smaller funeral home that's owned by them but caters to a different class of people. They even go by a different name. You'll have to do your research. The funeral home I used for my Mother was one of those and it was very nice but not over the board extravagant. The staff there were not as "pushy" to get me to buy.

My Mother's death was expected so I had enough time to do my research thereby saving me a lot of money. The grief due to the lose of a loved one can be overwhelming but add in all the difficult financial decisions to be made makes it all the more difficult. I don't want my kids to spend a big hunk of their life savings OR mine on my funeral; it's not necessary and doesn't mean that they love me any less. I have instructed them as to what kind of a funeral I want, which is modest but nice.

By Betty from Lubbock, TX

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February 1, 20120 found this helpful

I would just as much be cremated as having a funeral. If fact, my wishes are no services and cremation, or I will donate my body to science. I am in very good health so they would be able to use the skin tissue plus organ donation etc and, that way donating the body doesn't cost a cent. To some people that doesn't sound good, but I think it sounds as good as trying to save on a funeral. Either way the body is gone and your loved one is where you want him/her to be.

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February 2, 20120 found this helpful

Good advice, Betty. Funeral homes can really wipe out a family's finances by taking advantage of people when they are the most vulnerable.

My dad knew he was dying and had prearranged his funeral, he planned everything and I will always be grateful that he did that. I've done the same thing so my son doesn't go through any of the horrors friends of mine have gone through when a sudden death has caused them to have to deal with the tragedy of burying a loved one.

Every single one of us, no matter what age and health condition we are in, should do all possible to prearrange, it is the last loving gift we can give our families and friends.

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February 2, 20120 found this helpful

As one reader posted, cremation is a much less expensive way to go. When my father-in-law died he was cremated. Instead of having a service in a church or funeral home, we held a gathering in an auction house he regularly attended and invited all his auction friends, family members...and anyone who knew and loved him, to attend.

The large building was packed. A table was set aside for food from people who chose to attend. Everyone was invited to stand and tell some story that meant something about the deceased...a memory that they always remembered when the thought of him came up. My father-in-law was a friendly person and loved to laugh and hear and tell jokes. Most of the stories centered on that subject. But he was also a generous person and there were very poignant stories, as well.

A minister from my mother-in-law's church said a prayer. Few tears were shed and everyone left feeling happy in all the memories shared. The whole affair cost almost nothing. Cremation in most places is between $1,000 to $2,000 here in Eastern Oklahoma. What's more, you can have someone cremated in a smaller town where the prices are cheaper than big cities. Then you can carry the ashes to the ceremony.

Since that time, there have been several other family members who have died here, and this same general celebration of death has been used instead of going through a funeral home. My husband and I have always said that's the way we wish to be taken care of when our end comes. My husband has said he would consider his body being donated to science, and I think that is free.

Oh...one more thing. At the time my father-in-law died, he had a very old poodle which we took to live with us. When she died several years later, we buried her in our woods, as we do all our animals, and scattered my father-in-laws ashes in her grave before we covered it over. They were inseparable in life and now they are together in afterlife.

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February 2, 20120 found this helpful

If you or your spouse are veterans you may be buried in a veteran's cemetary. The plot costs nothing neither does the headstone. These cemetaries are beautifully kept. If the spouse of the veteran dies first they may still be buried there and the surviving spouse is buried in the same plot. If the survivor remarries they cannot be buried next to the first spouse. There have been a few exceptions. Jackie Kennedy was buried next to Jack in Arlington although she remarried after his death.

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February 3, 20120 found this helpful

Great tips! When I lost family I was dismayed at the costly urns that were offered by the funeral home. I also wanted memory necklaces that were extremely pricey. To top it off the selections offered were not appealing.

I went on line and purchased beautiful urns and also memory necklaces for family at a 3rd of the price. The items were shipped quickly. I also noticed urns, jewelry and head stones for pets as well. Hope this helps someone.

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Saving Money on Funeral Expenses, A headstone at a cemetery.
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