Planning a funeral is a difficult time for families as they lay their loved ones to rest. Not only is the planning process overwhelming, but it is also expensive. A casket can be the most expensive part of the funeral planning process.
The cheapest casket that can help you save money on any US funeral is a cardboard casket. Pine is another cheap material compared to other types of wood and metal caskets.
Let’s talk more about finding a cheap casket and saving money on funeral costs.
What Are the Cheapest Casket Materials That Help Save Money?
While cardboard is the cheapest casket material, pine and plywood are also cheap options for you to consider. Sometimes you can find more expensive caskets for a discount depending on where you shop as well.
Let’s break down different materials and their costs.
Cardboard may not seem like an ideal material for a casket, but manufacturers have made it a reliable, inexpensive option for any funeral. It is common for cardboard caskets to feature handles for carrying and even a waterproof finish to protect them from rain.
Basic cardboard caskets will only cost you around $150 to $200. However, cardboard caskets with all the special features can cost up to $2500. While this is the cheapest material you can find, there are still more expensive options to ensure the casket looks more traditional.
You may want to consider a cardboard casket if you plan to have your loved one cremated. During the cremation process, morticians require a container to place your loved one inside. If cremation occurs, they will also place the casket in the cremation chamber. So, you should purchase a casket with the understanding that it will burn with your loved one.
Some people may be hesitant to purchase a cardboard casket because of the look. Unfortunately, cardboard caskets are difficult to disguise as typical caskets because of the material and simplicity of the design. So, keep this in mind when purchasing a cardboard casket.
Prices for pine caskets start at around $500 for the most basic version. Typically, cheaper pine caskets do not have any type of finish or paint on them. Rather, these caskets are simply constructed and left in their original state for families to use without all the special features.
Just like the cardboard caskets, you can purchase more expensive pine caskets that have special features. If you are just looking for a cheap, simple casket, this is a reliable option that won’t set you back too much at a high cost.
Not only are pine caskets low-cost, but they are also green. If you and your loved one care about the environment, a pine casket is a great option. Since pine trees are more common than other types, pine caskets are a more environmentally friendly alternative to other woods.
Plywood caskets are also pretty cheap compared to other options, starting at around $750. Manufacturers often cover these caskets in cloth or a thin layer of hardwood to make them look more like traditional, expensive caskets.
Plywood can get you the closest out of the above options to look like an expensive casket. So, if you want to save money while getting a casket that looks traditional and won’t stand out at a funeral service, this may be the best option for you.
How To Save Money on a Casket No Matter the Material
The best way to save money on a casket is to shop around for deals rather than shopping in one place. You don’t have to buy a casket from a funeral home. In fact, there are quite a few companies that sell caskets for a reasonable price comparatively.
Let’s break down all the ways that you can save money on a casket for your loved one.
Shop Around for Different Casket Retailers
First, you should compare prices for a casket at different retailers. This will help you avoid any convenience markups that may be put in place by the funeral home. Sure, it is easy to get everything you need in one place. However, if money is tight, then you may want to consider other options.
One very important thing to know before you begin shopping for a casket is that the FTC has rules to protect you. According to your rights under the FTC Funeral Rule, you have the right to purchase a casket from any retailer of your choosing without penalty from the funeral home. This means they can’t refuse or implement fees for a casket purchased elsewhere.
This rule also allows you to use an alternate container to hold your loved one instead of a basic casket. This means that the funeral home can’t deny your container, even if it is made of cheaper material, as we discussed above.
Finally, the FTC rule also states that funeral homes must accept the delivery of your casket without a fee and without requiring you to be there to collect the casket. So, you have rules in place to protect you from fees and other difficulties that we may fear when it comes to purchasing a casket from a different retailer.
Another great way to save money on a casket is to take a look at online retailers. Retailers like Amazon sell caskets online. You can choose from different materials, colors, and details to make the casket exactly what your loved one would like.
Shopping online is a common way to make important purchases without needing to travel to different stores and compare prices. Also, many online retailers that sell caskets are aware of the time constraint that we face when planning a funeral. So, you will often see quick delivery options available to you if you need them.
Cover the Casket for the Funeral
One option for purchasing a cheaper casket is to cover it during the funeral service so that you can’t see the material. This helps keep the cost of the casket minimal as you won’t be able to see it.
Covering the casket with cloth or flowers is a common way to ensure that visitors do not see most of the casket and can’t speculate on the material or the price. More traditional caskets tend to come with a cloth included. Cheaper caskets may not include a cloth. So, you can purchase one of your own to ensure that the casket is covered and looks more traditional.
You can also cover the casket for a funeral service with flowers. While it is common to have many flowers delivered to the funeral home on the day of a funeral, fresh flowers actually aren’t necessary. Fake flowers are cheaper than real flowers and last longer. So, consider surrounding the casket with flowers to hide the material it is made of or any imperfections it may have.
Why Buy a Cheap Casket To Save Money on a Funeral?
Buying a cheap casket will save money on an expensive process and won’t stop the decomposition process. Manufacturers do not make caskets last since we buy them for burial or cremation. So, buying a cheaper casket doesn’t have much effect on the process.
There are many reasons that buying a cheap casket can be beneficial. With many families struggling financially, it is no surprise that some choose to cut costs for funerals. So, let’s talk about these reasons in more detail.
The average funeral costs between $7,000 and $12,000, with caskets averaging between $2,000 and $5,000. As you can see, the casket is one of the most expensive parts of the funeral planning process. Cutting costs here can certainly help cut overall funeral costs and allow you to spend money on other aspects of the funeral instead.
A lot of the superstitions and familiar aspects of funeral planning promote spending beyond our means. This study and others like it address superstitious ideas that may force us into spending more money than we need to on a funeral.
This leads people to believe that the more we spend on a funeral, the more we love the deceased, but this is not an accurate interpretation. It just leads to families spending outside of their means and putting themselves into debt to make themselves look good. Cutting the costs of a funeral is a great way to move past these harmful ideas.
During a time of great loss and grief, it can be comforting to follow traditions. But sometimes, these traditions are beyond our current means. We should consider more options, like cheaper caskets, to better fit our budget, stay within our means, and provide a loving service without going overboard.
Caskets Don’t Prevent Decomposition
One common misconception about expensive caskets is that they can prevent decomposition. Manufacturers often perpetuate this idea by selling sealed caskets meant to protect the body within it. However, this does not stop or impede the decomposition process.
Sealed caskets can help prevent moisture, dirt, bugs, and other things from getting into the casket. However, we can’t prevent decomposition. Refrigeration and embalming allow us to temporarily postpone decomposition so that we can say goodbye to our loved ones. However, nothing allows us to completely prevent decomposition.
So, when you purchase an expensive casket, you are not getting the benefit of preventing decay. Instead, the body of your loved one will still continue to decompose. However, the casket seal will also prevent gasses from escaping, leading to a buildup. This has actually caused caskets to explode before as the gasses build with no way out.
While this is still a rare phenomenon, it does happen. So, purchasing a sealed casket for your loved one may not provide the exact benefits you are looking for.
Buried or Burned
Lastly, it is important to remember why we purchase caskets. When we bury a casket, it is left underground to break down over time. In fact, it is quite common for buried caskets to break when the cemetery staff places the dirt on top of it. So, why are we paying thousands of dollars for something that we bury and forget and often break?
You can bring forward this same concern with the cremation process. Morticians cremate bodies inside of a container, which is usually a casket. If the family decides to have a funeral or a viewing before the cremation, they normally purchase a casket. If a cremation occurs, we purchase a casket for a very short period.
Sometimes, it is important to remember the end result. Ultimately, we don’t see the casket after the burial or cremation. So, why pay thousands of dollars for something we will never see again, and we will often reduce to ash? Thinking about the long-term use of a casket can help you make a more reasonable decision on how much to spend.
Are Cheap Caskets Better for the Environment?
Cheap caskets tend to be better for the environment. This is because they typically consist of cheaper materials that are likely to decompose faster. Also, cheap caskets typically do not contain finishes that may be bad for the environment.
Materials like pine and cardboard provide a biodegradable option for burying a loved one. These caskets will decompose faster than other types because they don’t have metal parts and finishing products that help preserve them.
The chemicals used to make caskets shiny and water-resistant can have harmful effects on the environment once the casket starts to decay. So, when it comes to caring for the environment, cheaper caskets are a much better option for your loved one.
Overall, there are plenty of cheaper casket options for you to consider, depending on your needs. Funerals are very expensive, and caskets are typically the most expensive part of them. So, choosing a cheaper casket can help you drastically cut down the cost of a funeral.
Choosing a cheaper casket means saving money on the funeral process and allocating that money elsewhere. Use that extra money to help family members afford to travel to the service or make a donation in their name.
- Funeral Circle: Cardboard Caskets [9 MUST KNOWS WHEN BUYING]
- 4 Funeral: Do They Burn the Casket During Cremation? The Answer
- In Valhalla: Pine Box Caskets: Complete Guide
- Funeral Circle: Cheapest Caskets – What No One Tells You About
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice: The FTC Funeral Rule
- Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage: How Much Does a Funeral Cost?
- Sage Journals: Death Beyond the Means: Funeral Overspending and Its Government Regulation Around the World.
- The Washington Post: What Should You Know About Exploding Caskets?