It may be difficult to contemplate, but if you are on a budget, cheap caskets may be a concern when planning a funeral. Caskets can be one of the most expensive parts of a funeral; luckily, there are options for burial that will save you money.
Planning and Preparing
When a loved one dies, planning and preparing for the funeral can be a confusing and emotional process. If you are on a tight budget, it can be even more distressing. Be assured that a simple funeral, with an inexpensive casket, albeit even a cheap casket, will be understood and appreciated by all who are involved. Remember, that the memories of your loved one's life is the most important aspect of the funeral--not an expensive production. Since caskets are the most expensive part of a funeral, this a good place to start cutting costs. Planning ahead is always a good idea, so if you have definite plans for your own passing, make sure you state this in your last will and testament or make it known to your family that you prefer a very inexpensive funeral, including a cheap casket.
Purpose of Caskets
Just so we can put things into perspective, caskets are not really necessary for burial. Caskets are a tradition that allows us to transport the body easier but they do not protect the body from biodegrading. Some caskets will prolong the biodegradation process, but these caskets will be more expensive and, in the end, the body does go back to the earth. There are very few laws regarding caskets. In many states, you are able to bury a body directly into the ground. To learn more about regulations regarding burial, funerals, and caskets, review the Federal Trade Commissions' 'Funeral Rule' website. The section titled 'Facts for Consumers' explains that you are allowed to bury your loved one in any type of casket you deem proper. In fact, a funeral home cannot charge you extra for getting your casket from a different source than the funeral home.
Benefit of Less Expensive Caskets
Besides the fact that cheap caskets cost less money, they may actually be better for the environment because they may decompose more quickly. Caskets that are made with metal fasteners or chemically treated wood may actually be bad for the environment. A less expensive, biodegradable cardboard or pine casket will be less invasive in the earth. At the funeral, if you feel awkward due to the different and inexpensive look of a cheap casket, you can always tell family and friends that it is an eco friendly casket based on the deceased's wishes.
If finances are a concern, there may be financial assistance available through your state or county to help with burial costs. Funeral homes are a good resource in helping you find financial assistance in your area. In the United States, Social Security Act allows a $225 death benefit to the surviving beneficiary and this amount may go towards a cheap casket if necessary. Other places to check for financial assistance with burying a loved one are:
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Department of Social Security
- American Legion
- Veterans of Foreign War
Cheap Caskets Online
Doing some research online will help you find many companies that offer inexpensive and cheap caskets. An inexpensive casket will most likely cost less than $1,000, but there are cheaper options than that if you do some research. Many of the cheap caskets are also considered 'eco caskets' or 'green' and are good for the environment as well. Materials used for a cheap and biodegradable casket are:
Following are some companies that offer cheap caskets online:
- eEternity Caskets are cardboard caskets that cost between $100 and $400. Some of these caskets are not lined with padding while some are. They also carry pine caskets that run approximately $300
- Walmart Caskets- from approximately $900 and up
- Express Caskets- $695 and up
- Ferrell Caskets-$495 and up
Homemade Cheap Caskets
Making your own casket, or commissioning a friend to do so, is also a very inexpensive option in making a cheap casket. You might even want to make your own before you pass away. The casket does not have to be fancy, just a simple rectangle made of pine is acceptable. Generally the dimensions of an adult casket are 84 inches in length, 28 inches wide, and 23 inches in height.
Make the Right Choice
In the end, be sure to make wise decisions regarding the funeral and the casket. Making financial decisions that are not based on emotion is always a good idea when someone passes away, but this is easier said than done. Doing research before the fact, can make things easier for you and your loved ones.