- A Guide to Funerals and Funeral Directors
Find a Funeral Director


Low-budget funerals

We would all like to give our loved ones a fitting send-off. Unfortunately, these can be very expensive nowadays, with funerals often costing £3,500–£5,000, and sometimes the money available just won’t stretch. 

This is especially likely to be a problem if the deceased doesn’t have a valuable estate which the costs can be defrayed against, or if several relatives pass away in a short space of time. In such circumstances, it can be vital to know how to save money on holding a funeral in order to avoid getting into debt.

You need to remember that saving money on the funeral of loved ones doesn’t mean you’re showing disrespect to their memory in any way, or that your feelings for them are not sincere. Unfortunately, sometimes the budget just isn’t big enough to give them a goodbye that contains everything they deserve, but try to remember that they wouldn’t want you getting into trouble financially over paying for their funeral.

Tips for saving money

If you need to hold a funeral on a tight budget, the following tips for how to save money may come in useful:

Check if the deceased made funeral arrangements beforehand – You might be worrying over having to pay for a funeral unnecessarily: the deceased could have made a pre-paid funeral plan with a funeral director, in which case the costs have already been paid for. This will probably be mentioned in the will.

Direct Cremation – One option for saving money is having a “direct cremation service”, which can cost as little as £500 (plus disbursements and official fees). This involves an undertaker collecting a body and taking it directly to a crematorium in a simple wooden coffin, where a cremation is performed with only the family in attendance and just the Lord’s Prayer (if desired) rather than a full service. The ashes are scattered straight afterwards; a memorial service with guests can be held at a later date. This is obviously a very simple option, although the service should still be as dignified and professional as you would expect if you were paying for more.

Apply for government assistance – People who are claiming other kinds of benefits may be eligible to apply for a one-off payment from the government to help with the cost of a funeral. You are unlikely to be given more than £1000 in total, so this will only cover the simplest kind of funeral, such as a direct cremation. For more information, see our page on government assistance.

Ask more than one funeral director – Many people only speak to one funeral director when planning a funeral, removing the possibility of finding cheaper alternatives by shopping around. If you need to save money, try asking three different funeral directors for a quote and making a comparison. You may, for example, be offered a discount that’s conditional on paying within a short space of time after the funeral.

Conduct the funeral yourself – There are actually very few regulations governing who may conduct funerals or where they need to take place. In the vast majority of cases you are perfectly entitled to perform the task yourself, although it requires more than one person and you will need some guidance. This is obviously one of the cheapest options, although it does demand significant effort. The Good Funeral Guide offers an excellent step-by-step plan, which can be found here.

YouTube Facebook App Store