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Reducing funeral costs when the cost of living is rising

The average funeral cost in 2021 was £4,056*. With inflation on the rise and the cost of living at the highest levels in years, we look at ways you can reduce the cost of a funeral.

According to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2021, the average cost of a funeral was £4,056. With wallets and purses squeezed even tighter in the current climate, we are mindful that paying for a funeral, usually an unexpected cost so not always budgeted for, can be a worry. Funeral costs are made up of third party fees (also known as disbursements), the funeral director fees and other optional extras. There are a few ways in which you can still have a beautifully unique funeral, that doesn't have to be expensive.

Is burial or cremation cheaper in Conwy?

One of the largest costs to consider in relation to a funeral is the burial or cremation fee. Generally, a cremation in Colwyn Bay will be cheaper than a burial depending on the options you choose.

Reducing the cost of a cremation

There are a couple of ways to reduce the cost of a cremation within the Conwy area, you can do the following:

  • Firstly you could opt for an unattended funeral (also known as a direct cremation) where no one attends the funeral service. These are usually undertaken at 8.30am at a local crematorium followed by a memorial service afterwards;
  • There is a reduced rate if you opt for a 9.00am or 9.30am slot at the crematorium;
  • The choice of crematorium will have an impact on costs. Your Funeral Director will be able to guide you on the price options for all local crematoria in the Conwy area. Some crematoria charge an out of area fee if you didn't live locally, so again you should consider if it would be cheaper to opt for a crematorium closer to the home of the person that has died;
  • You can hold a service in a church or alternative venue then look to hold the committal the following day as a direct cremation;
  • Finally, the date of the cremation will also affect the price. If you opt for a weekend service the cost will be higher.

Reducing the cost of a burial

When looking to reduce the cost of a burial within the Conwy area, you can do the following:

  • If the person that has died was not a resident in the county of the cemetery, there are likely to be additional costs associated with a burial;
  • Reopening an existing plot, where there is space available, is usually a cheaper option than requesting a new grave space;
  • A natural burial can be another alternative to keeping the costs lower as there is no headstone to consider. A natural burial takes place in a protected area of natural beauty or woodland, where the person that has died is returned to the earth as naturally as possible. It is also considered to be better for the environment. You can read more about the woodland burials we offer here.

How will I get to the funeral?

Do you need a limousine to take you to the funeral service? At Tom Owen and Son, we will never upsell or pressure you in to having a limousine, instead we will encourage you to get a lift with a friend or follow on in your own cars if you prefer.

In addition to our hearse, we also offer our private ambulance if you don't require the tradition of being taken to the crematorium in our hearse. This alternative allows you to save on costs.

Should we have a funeral service at a separate venue beforehand?

Unless you have a specific link to a church or chapel, it can be a cheaper alternative to have a service directly at the crematorium or the graveside. This option reduces the costs for hiring the church, the verger (the person who oversees the venue logistics on the day) and the use of an organist. However, as noted above, if you wish to make use of the direct cremation option, having a funeral service at a venue beforehand may be cost effective.

Should I organise a funeral tea?

A great way to reduce the cost of a funeral tea is to cater at home yourself if possible. Or if you don't have the space to do this, it can work to under cater at a public venue. Perhaps try to get a list of attendees beforehand so your number will be more accurate. Sandwiches and a few cakes is all that is necessary, you don't need to provide lunch or a full meal for attendees.

Alternatively, encourage those attending to bring something with them and make a banquet of it!

My Funeral Director has given me an invoice with hidden extras?

Did your funeral director charge you for a 'hygienic treatment' or embalming? This is not a necessary procedure and a good way to cut costs when organising a funeral. You can read more about embalming here and why we don't think it is necessary.

Have you been asked if you would like to use family bearers instead of those provided by the funeral director? One way to keep costs low is for family or friends to carry in the coffin and also lowering the coffin at the graveside if a burial.

What coffin is the cheapest?

We offer a variety of coffins at Tom Owen and Son, that cater to all budgets. From our cheapest option, the cardboard manila coffin to solid wood coffins there really is something for everyone. Perhaps you could opt for a cardboard coffin and choose to decorate it yourself?

How much should I spend on funeral flowers?

Flowers look great on top of the coffin, however if you have opted to use our private ambulance or are having a non-attended funeral then you won't need to purchase flowers.

If you do wish to have flowers, perhaps you could opt for a smaller size spray or choose flowers that are in season rather than a specific flower?

Another great option is to choose foliage or flowers from your garden to make a small arrangement yourself. Or perhaps think outside of the box and use vegetables instead like we created mid 2022!

Do I need to include a Funeral Notice?

At Tom Owen and Son, we offer all families an online tribute page on our website, you can see them here. This can be shared via whatsapp, email or facebook and is a great free way to share details of the funeral rather than spending money on a newspaper obituary.

*Source: SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report,