5 Tips To Start Planning a Funeral Without Money in the USA

When someone dies, their loved ones are often left with the daunting task of planning a funeral. This can be especially difficult if you’re on a tight budget. The good news is that there are ways to plan a funeral without spending much money.

There are many ways to plan a funeral without money in the USA. You could start a fundraiser online and on sites like GoFundMe. Other methods include cremation, body donation, direct burial, or government programs.

If you’re looking to plan a funeral on a budget, it’s essential to be creative. This blog post will explore five ways to plan a funeral without money in the USA.

1. Plan a Fundraiser

Creating a fundraiser is the best way to save money and can be done online or by setting up a collection jar in local businesses. By planning a fundraiser, you can reach out to friends, family, and strangers for support. This will help to ease the burden of funeral costs and allow you to focus on grieving.

There are many ways to set up a fundraiser: 

  • Create a GoFundMe page
  • Set up a fundraiser on your social media account
  • Start a collection jar in local businesses 
  • Ask for donations from friends and family members

If you’re planning a fundraiser to save funeral costs, you’ll want to consider a few key elements to ensure it’s successful: 

  • Consider your audience. Who are you trying to reach with your campaign? Knowing your target market will help you choose the right platform and channels to promote your fundraiser.
  • Set realistic goals. How much money do you hope to raise? Break down your goal into smaller, achievable milestones so that you can track your progress along the way.
  • Create a compelling call to action that will inspire people to donate. Remember that every little bit helps; even a small donation can make a big difference. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to planning a successful funeral fundraiser.

No matter how you choose to fundraise, be sure to let people know why you’re doing it. People are more likely to donate if they know their money is going towards a worthy cause.


When creating a fundraiser to raise money for funeral costs, several challenges can arise: 

  • Public fundraisers require a certain amount of humility, and you need to put your pride aside in order to ask for money.
  • You may have resistance from close friends or family members who aren’t comfortable with a public fundraiser or feel too proud to accept money from others. 
  • Ensuring that all donations are properly received and accounted for can be tricky.

However, with proper planning and forethought, you can overcome such challenges. Working with a reputable funeral home and planning expert ensures your loved one’s funeral is carried out according to your wishes – without breaking the bank.

Funeral plan written on the side of piggy bank.

2. Consider Cremation

Most people give little thought about whether or not they want to be cremated or buried but it’s important to consider your options carefully.

Cremation is becoming an increasingly solid option for those looking for an affordable way to say goodbye to a loved one. While the average funeral can cost upwards of $8,000 to $10,000, cremation typically costs one-third in comparison.

Direct cremation is cheaper and can cost as little as $2000. This type of cremation does not include a funeral service; instead, the body is cremated shortly after death.

If you’re considering cremation, here are a few things you should know: 

  • Cremation is a very efficient way to dispose of a body. The average cremation takes less than two hours, and the process uses very little energy.
  • Cremation doesn’t require a casket, headstone, or a burial plot, so it’s much less costly than a traditional funeral.
  • Cremation eliminates the need for embalming and other expensive preparation procedures. Furthermore, many families choose to scatter the ashes of their loved ones rather than opt for a more costly burial.
  • Cremation gives you control over what happens to your body after you die. You can choose to have the ashes scattered in a special place or keep them in an urn or other container.

As a result, cremation can be a convenient and budget-friendly option for those who want to give their loved ones a final and meaningful send-off.


There are a few challenges to consider regarding cremation before deciding to go this route:

  • Obtaining the permission of the deceased before they pass away. Cremation isn’t for everyone, and some people may have strong feelings about what happens to their bodies after they die. 
  • Deciding what to do with the ashes. Once the cremation is complete, you’ll be left with a container of ashes. These can be scattered, buried, or kept in an urn but you and your family might have differing opinions on what to do with them. 
  • Public perception. In some cultures, cremation is seen as offensive or disrespectful.
  • Cremation doesn’t allow for a traditional funeral service, which can be important to some people.
  • The emotional impact of cremation. While it can be a budget-friendly option, some people find the thought of cremation to be too upsetting. The process also releases several pollutants into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide and mercury.

As a result, it is important to consider all of these factors before deciding whether or not cremation is the right choice for your loved one. 

Despite these challenges, cremation is a safe and efficient way to dispose of human remains, and the process can be carried out without problems.

3. Body Donation

Few people like to think about their mortality, but making arrangements for one’s funeral is an important task. For many people, the cost of a traditional funeral is a significant financial burden. One way to ease this burden is to donate one’s body to science.

By donating your or your loved one’s body to science, you can save your family the cost of a traditional funeral and help advance medical knowledge. Although it may seem like a daunting decision, body donation is a very straightforward process.

Simply put, if you decide to donate your body, your family will be contacted by a representative from the donation program after you die. The deceased’s body will then be transported to the program’s facilities, where it will be used for research or education.

In most cases, the entire process is free of charge for the donor’s family. So, if you’re looking for an affordable way to take care of your final arrangements, body donation may be the perfect solution.


Body donation is a wonderful act of altruism that can have a tremendous impact on the lives of others. However, it is important to be aware of the challenges of body donation:

  • Feeling uncomfortable with your body being dissected. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your loved one’s body being dissected by medical students or researchers, body donation may not be the right option for you. 
  • Not all programs are created equal and some may have different requirements than others. Some programs may only accept whole-body donations, while others may also accept organs or tissue. Some programs may have age or health requirements that must be met. As such, it’s important to do your research and make sure that you know all the potential challenges before you donate your loved one’s body.

If you are considering body donation, it is important to ensure you understand all of these challenges.

4. Direct Burial

Direct burial is a simple and affordable option for those who wish to keep funeral costs to a minimum. Families can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by forgoing a traditional service and burial.

In addition, direct burial is often more convenient, as it eliminates the need to make arrangements with a funeral home. Instead, family members can transport the body to the cemetery and bury it.

There is also no embalming required with direct burial, which some people find to be a more natural and respectful way to deal with human remains.

While direct burial may not be right for everyone, it is certainly an option worth considering for those who wish to keep their funeral expenses low.


Although direct burial is a simple and affordable option, some challenges come with this type of funeral:

  • You will not have a chance to say goodbye to your loved one in a traditional service. Saying goodbye to a departed loved one during a funeral or memorial service is an important part of the grieving process for many people, and not doing so could harm you emotionally. 
  • There is no embalming involved, so the risk of decomposition is higher. This means that the body must be buried as soon as possible after death, which can be challenging or upsetting for families.
  • The casket used for such a burial is often very simple and may not be suitable for viewing. One of the reasons a direct burial is cost-effective is that the caskets are lightweight and not as durable as traditional ones.
  • Direct burial requires body transportation to the cemetery immediately after death. This can be a difficult task for family members who are grieving and may still be suffering from the shock of their loved one’s death. 
  • Direct burial means that there will be no traditional funeral service or visitation. For some people, this is simply not an option. However, you could always have a memorial service without the body being present. 

Many people find that the ability to save on funeral costs makes the process well worth the effort. With careful planning and creativity, it can be possible to give your loved one a respectful and affordable send-off.

5. Considering Government Programs

Funerals can be expensive, and the costs can add up quickly. However, some government programs can help to offset the cost. For example, the Social Security Administration offers a one-time death benefit of $255. However, this may not be enough to cover the entire cost of a funeral.

There are also state-specific programs that may offer assistance. For example, in New York, the Department of Social Services may give an allowance of up to $1,700.

This benefit can be used to help pay for funeral expenses and can be applied online or by mail. Additionally, some states offer assistance programs for low-income families who are struggling to cover the cost of a funeral.

It is important to note that these benefits are typically only available to low-income families. As such, they may not be an option for everyone. Still, it is worth considering if you are struggling to find the money to pay for a funeral.

Veterans and active duty military members are also eligible for several benefits, including reimbursement for transportation costs to transport the deceased’s remains to a national cemetery.

Contact your local social services office or Veterans Affairs office to learn more about the programs available in your state.

Considering these options can help decide whether or not to use government programs to save funeral costs more easily.


Government programs can offer a lifeline to families struggling to pay for a funeral. However, these programs often have strict rules and regulations that make them difficult to navigate.

There are often strict eligibility requirements for these programs, and the application process can be complicated and time-consuming.

Additionally, government benefits typically only cover a portion of the total costs, leaving families with the burden of coming up with the remainder. As a result, saving funeral costs can be a significant challenge for many people.

Finally, government programs can often be inflexible, making it difficult to tailor your funeral arrangements to meet the unique needs and preferences of the deceased. 

While many people feel that the government should help cover the costs of funerals, others believe this is a personal responsibility.

Both sides have pros and cons, but ultimately the decision comes down to what is best for the individual and their family.

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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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