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3 Guilt-Free Alternatives to a Funeral

Jacqueline Coombe is a freelance writer specialising in business development, marketing, and career development content.

Holding a funeral for the deceased is an ancient tradition people still honor today. With the changing of times, funerals have become more creative, original, and character representative of the life lived.

Funerals are also becoming costly, prompting people to choose more affordable options. Cremation is a popular choice because it’s less expensive and families appreciate the opportunity to scatter their loved one’s ashes in a meaningful and significant manner.

Do you want to plan your own funeral? Here’s everything you need to know about funerals, including the costs and other unique ways your loved ones can bid you farewell.


Funeral costs

According to the Cost of Death Report, seniors over 50 believe funerals are becoming more expensive each year. In the past 12 months, people spent an average of $10,206 on burials and $7,316 on cremations. This represents a 6% yearly increase since 2014, exceeding the 1.6% yearly increase in the cost of living over the same period. Some families have even paid up to $20,000 for a funeral.

Factors driving costs include the cost of a burial plot, staff, and suppliers, as well as regulations and the industry landscape having larger providers controlling the market.

“One of the large increases has been press notices,” said a funeral director. About five to six years ago, a press notice in a local paper was $70 – $80, but now they’re $260. Notices in metropolitan papers are around $600.


Discussing your funeral wishes

Close to nine in 10 seniors stress the importance of discussing your funeral wishes with your loved ones. Jessie Williams, Chief Executive of the GroundSwell Project, agrees. On average, people will organize two funerals in their lifetime, so you should think about arranging a funeral just as you would for another major event.

Have a chat with your family or friends about the kind of funeral you want, where you’d like it to be, and the kind of funeral song you want to be played during the service. By making your wishes clear, your loved ones will have an easier time arranging your funeral once you’ve moved on.


With the rise in funeral costs, the report found more than 90% of people would choose a less expensive or simpler funeral. The growth of modernization, advances in technology, and preference for sustainable products have inspired weird but wonderful funerals and sometimes at much less cost.

1. Modern and good-humored

Two-thirds of seniors prefer funerals to be good-humored and less serious, as well as more modern and less traditional. This means not wearing black, presenting slide shows or tribute videos, filming or live-streaming funerals, and using drones to disperse ashes.

2. Environmentally conscious

One in five people said they’d want a green funeral and one in ten want a biodegradable urn. Funeral directors pointed to people going the more eco-friendly route and defying tradition by choosing cardboard or bamboo coffins, or just using a shroud.

3. Unusual

The report also notes unusual trends, such as those attending a funeral drawing on the coffin about something that represented the deceased person, or celebrity officiants performing the ceremony. Another unusual but emerging trend is water cremation, where the body is placed into a cylinder filled with water boiled to 90 degrees, potassium is added to alkalize the water, and then it’s released into the environment.


The times are changing

Traditional funerals are expensive, costing thousands of dollars more for coffins, burial plots, and cremations. Today’s funerals are migrating away from such traditions, and the options in this article are just a few ways you can add customization and personalization to a funeral service, as well as make it less of a financial burden.


Do you want drones to disperse your ashes or would you like to rest in a cardboard coffin? Whatever you choose, plan your funeral carefully and thoroughly and let everyone know about it. This way, when you depart your funeral will be a celebration of the life you lived and your loved ones will know exactly what to do. Which may allow them to send you off with fewer tears and a smile.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 jacquicoombe

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