NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, Can you offer any tips for finding low-cost cremation services? I don’t want to stick my kids with a big funeral bill after I die.
— Still Alive
Cremation is definitely one of the most affordable ways to go, when you go. Costs usually run between $600 and $3,000, which are significantly lower than the average full-service funeral that averages around $10,000 today.
Cost also is one of the big reasons why the popularity of cremation is soaring. Roughly 40 percent of Americans now choose cremation, up from 27 percent just a decade ago. Here are some tips for locating low-cost services.
Compare providers: Because prices can vary sharply, start by calling the funeral homes in your area (most funeral homes provide cremation services) and ask them how much they charge for a “direct cremation,” which is the least expensive option.
With direct cremation, there’s no embalming, formal viewing or funeral. It only includes the essentials: picking up the body, completing the required paperwork, the cremation itself and providing ashes to the family.
If your family wants to have a memorial service, they can have it at home or your place of worship after the cremation, in the presence of your remains.
To locate nearby funeral homes, look in your local yellow pages under “cremation” or “funeral” or visit cremation.com.
You also may be able to get help and referrals through your nearby memorial society or local funeral consumer alliance program (see funerals.org/affiliates-directory or call 802-865-8300 for contact information). These are volunteer groups that offer a wide range of information and prices on local funeral and cremation providers.
If, however, you’re not up to calling around, there also are a number of free websites — like funeraldecisions.com and efuneral.com — that you or your family can use that can do the work for you. With these sites, you just answer a few questions and your nearby funeral homes will provide estimates based on your request.