How Much Does a Funeral Cost?
woman with a rose standing over a casket

Money at 30: How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

Did you know that dying is expensive? More specifically, the costs associated with funerals can really add up. That’s something my wife and I have unfortunately learned recently as her dad passed away a couple of weeks ago after a brief battle with cancer. Luckily, he and my mother-in-law had made some preparations, such as purchasing plots ahead of time. Still, there are plenty of other expenses and options to be decided as part of a person’s “final arrangements.”

So how much does a funeral cost? To give you an idea, let’s go through the actual numbers from my father-in-law’s.

Funeral Costs and Considerations

Casket

One of the largest expenses was also the first one explored after my father-in-law’s passing: the casket. Obviously, casket prices can vary greatly, but the one my wife and her mother choose came out to $3,100 — not the cheapest option but far from the most expensive. In fact, while looking through the options, they came across some that were upwards of $50,000 (with the funeral director noting that Prince and Whitney Houston had such products).

In their case, the funeral home worked directly with a trusted provider, allowing them to order exactly the option they wanted. This also allowed for the casket expense to be added to the total funeral home invoice and paid for along with all the other items and services we’ll discuss.

Professional services

If discussing the casket wasn’t morbid enough, fair warning, this is probably the section that will make you squirm the most. First, there was the cost of embalming the body, which came to $775. Then, there was dressing, cosmetology, and hairdressing to consider. These totaled $250.

Lastly, another $2,000 covered “basic services of funeral director and staff.” These are listed in the same section but I suspect they relate more to the administrative tasks that need to be completed rather than items related to the preservation and presentation of the body. Either way, the total for this section came to $3,025.

Transportation

Immediately after the doctor pronounced my father-in-law dead, she mentioned that they could coordinate with a funeral home to make arrangements. This is not something I really expected as it’s definitely not a conversation featured in films or television shows featuring such scenes. Nevertheless, it is something to consider and, of course, corresponds to more expenses.

The transfer of the body from the hospital to the funeral home came at a cost of $300. Presumably, this is based on distance and time. Then, there was a charge for $325, which covered the use of the hearse.

Of note, while I’ll discuss other potential expenses later, something we declined was the use of a limo or sprinter van as part of the funeral procession. These of course would have resulted in an additional cost. As it stands, this section came to $625 before tax.

Visitation facilities

For my father-in-law, we had a four-hour visitation session the day before the formal funeral. This was held at the funeral home, which not only provided the room but was also more than willing to accommodate requests, such as including places to display photos, playing specified music during the event, and much more. At a cost of $175 per hour, the rental of the space totaled $700 while an additional $350 for the use of equipment and staff brought the total to $1,050.

Certificates

Did you know that it may not only cost money to get a death certificate but you may also need to order multiple copies? That was news to me too. As it turns out, in Ohio, these cost $25 each. So, with my mother-in-law electing to order 10, this was another $250 expense.

Flowers

While those mourning a person’s loss may send flowers to the funeral home for display, my wife’s family also decided to order some flower arrangements that would adorn the casket during the viewing and were then moved to the church for the funeral. This was actually a surprisingly large expense, nearing $600.

Cemetary services

Lastly, another major cost came from the cemetery (but was included on the funeral home’s bill). While, as I mentioned, the plots had been purchased, the “opening and closing” fees came to $2,040. This included the digging of the grave and the process of placing the casket in its final resting place — which helps explain why this is one of the largest expenses of the weekend.

Other potential costs

Although this article highlights the expenses that my wife’s family experienced for my father-in-law’s funeral, they don’t necessarily represent all of the expenses that others may face. For example, since they were active members of a local church and friends of the pastor, the funeral service was hosted in the church at no cost. Furthermore, the luncheon (also held at the church) was catered for free thanks to the church’s funeral fund it maintains for members. Meanwhile, as mentioned, we also avoided additional transportation costs by utilizing our own vehicles to get from the church to the cemetery rather than renting a limousine.


After taxes, fees, and discounts were considered, the total for my father-in-law’s funeral (and related events) came to around $11,000. Incidentally, this seems to be right around the average price. Of course, there are a nearly unlimited number of factors that could change this number and so every person’s experience is likely to be different.

Ultimately, even though these figures might not perfectly correspond to what experiences you may incur for a loved one’s funeral, hopefully they’ve given you a better idea of what to expect. In turn, you may want to consider how you’d look to cover these expenses if necessary — potentially including life insurance policies, trusts, or other savings. Although funerals are not something anyone really wants to think about, the realities of life mean that these costs are something for you, your partner, and your family to consider.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

American Express to Acquire Tock from Squarespace

American Express is expanding its dining platform with not one but two acquisitions. About the acquisitions: Today, Amex announced that it will be acquiring the restaurant reservation service Tock from Squarespace (who purchased the company in 2021). The purchase is expected to be for $400 million in cash but is subject to closing conditions, customary adjustments, and regulatory approval. Amex also notes that, as part of the deal with Squarespace,...
Gynger financing options

Technology Financing Company Gynger Raises $20 Million

A FinTech that helps tech-buying businesses finance their purchases has closed a new round of funding. About the round: This week, Gynger announced that it had raised $20 million. The Series A was led by PayPal Ventures, while Gradient Ventures, Velvet Sea Ventures, BAG Ventures, and Deciens Capital also participated. In addition to the equity round, the company secured a debt facility of $100 million from Community Investment Management. Previously,...
carry on travel bag and a Starbucks coffee

Starbucks and Marriott Bonvoy Announce Rewards Partnership

Two popular loyalty programs are joining forces to reward travelers (and keep them caffeinated). About the partnership: Starting this week, Starbucks Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to link their accounts and earn bonus rewards. First, those with linked accounts will earn Double Stars during stays at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties. If a regular Starbucks Double Stars Day falls during one of these stays, members can earn Triple...

Leave a Reply

The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories: Amazon.com, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...
Rent Day

Bilt Announces Home Collection Deal for May 2024 Rent Day

For May's Rent Day, Bilt is offering a deal that will allow members to decrease their rent bill while also adding to their home decor. About the Home Collection offer: Bilt has crafted a unique Rent Day offer for May 2024. Through the 1st, when Bilt members redeem their points toward rent payments, they'll receive the same number of points to be used toward Bilt Home Collection items. To take...