Low cost funerals: funeral planning on a budget

Cheap, Budget and Low Cost Funerals: Funeral Planning On A Budget


How can we organise and arrange a low cost funeral for our loved one while staying faithful to their wishes?

It’s a hugely difficult emotional and financial situation for many families - many of whom have to find an average of £1,981 to make up the cost of their loved one’s funeral, according to 2019 statistics. 9% of people organising a funeral also said they felt pressured into spending more money than they wanted. But funeral planning on a budget - while celebrating a loved one’s life - can be done with the right support.

While you can receive help with funeral costs, there are also many ways that you can reduce these expenses yourself. Here’s how to organise a low cost funeral - one that is faithful to your loved one’s wishes and faithful to your budget.

Low cost funerals

While the average cost of a funeral is £4,417, there are many ways to organise a low cost funeral if you’re funeral planning on a budget. These can include reducing the costs of the basic funeral (for example, a direct cremation), or opting for a green or woodland funeral.

Low cost funerals: Going green

Green funerals can be a suitable way to organise a low cost funeral. A green funeral - sometimes referred to as a woodland funeral - is an environmentally friendly option. These are low cost funerals as they usually take place in natural burial grounds or designated woodland burial sites, and use biodegradable coffins - usually made from wicker, recycled paper or willow. These can save on costs as they are not usually marked with a headstone, but with flowers or trees. Visit our advice guide on green funerals for more information.

Low cost funerals: direct cremation

Direct cremation is also another way to organise a low cost funeral - and an affordable option not many people are aware of. On average, a direct cremation costs £1,626 - £2,232 cheaper than a standard cremation (which costs £3,858 on average). Essentially, a direct cremation is a cremation with no funeral service - so there is no need for additional expenses like officiant fees or flowers. The body is sent straight to the crematorium and then ashes are given to loved ones to be kept or scattered. But this doesn’t have to mean a less personalised or special celebration: after the body has been cremated, families can choose their own celebration of their loved one’s life.

Children’s funeral costs

If you are organising a funeral for a child, this is a low cost funeral: you will not need to cover the costs of the service. In these circumstances, funeral directors do not charge a professional fee for a coffin, casket or transport - and you will usually be eligible for government assistance. If the child is under 18 at the time of death, or stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy (and the funeral will take place in England), you can receive a Children’s Funeral Fund from the government. This covers burial or cremation fees, the cost of a doctor’s certificate, and the cost of a coffin, shroud or casket up to £300.


Funeral planning on a budget

If you are working to a tight budget, there are a range of ways to reduce costs and still create a personalised and special funeral. Here is our advice on arranging a funeral on a budget.

Reduce send-off expenses

The send-off - the little extras that make a funeral service special, like flowers or service cards - can quickly become one of the most expensive elements of funeral arrangements. If you’re funeral planning on a budget, this can be an effective method of keeping costs low. Perhaps your loved one was a keen gardener, so why not plant a tree in the honour or grab a beautiful bunch from the garden if that is possible.. Or perhaps keeping the wake at home rather than using an outside venue, your loved one may have preferred a smaller celebration with close family at home. By prioritising certain elements according to your loved one’s preferences, and your family’s traditions, you can reduce expenses without compromising on the quality of the day.

Considering crowdfunding

This is a slightly more unconventional option for funeral planning on a budget, but many families who struggle to raise the funds for their loved one’s funeral are turning to crowdfunding campaigns online via sites like Just Giving or Go Fund Me. By inviting friends or family to chip in, the funeral can be a community-led celebration of your loved one’s life - funded by everybody who loved them.

Compare different funeral directors

Did you know that 90% of people get only one funeral director to quote for their wishes? With the average price differentiate being 46% for the same funeral this alone can be the reason many families struggle to find la cost effective funeral - but price comparison is a very effective method for funeral planning on a budget, you can see itemised costs and understand what you need. This, as research shows, doesn’t always happen: grieving families want the best for their loved ones, and researching these costs can be upsetting, time consuming, and confusing. This is where The Farewell Guide can step in. We make price comparison easier and allows for your wishes to be noted, shared and compared from your home annonymously. Start planning your end-of-life wishes and requesting quotes.

Create a saving plan

Noting down your funeral wishes and researching costs, allows you to manage your budget and potentially setup a savings plan in monthly installment, if you don't want to pay ahead and commit to a prepaid funeral plan straight away.

What is the most cost effective way to have a funeral? 

One of the most cost effective funeral would be a direct cremation. A direct cremation is a cremation without any funeral proceedings, for example there would be no service and the wake would be independent of the creamtion. Direct cremations have become more common in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you wish to be present at your loved one’s funeral, there are many other ways to keep costs down. Choosing a natural burial ground is often more affordable than a cemetery, as is having a natural memorial verses a gravestone. A wake is not a necessity, but if you do wish to have one you could cut costs by hosting at home or asking guests to contribute by bringing food. Choosing a cardboard or MDF coffin, instead of a traditional wooden one, is another way to reduce costs. Vehicles can often be a significant funeral cost, asking family members to make their own travel arrangements rather than supplying limousines, will save hundreds of pounds. 


What is the least you can pay for a funeral? 

Funeral prices vary depending on where you are in the UK, and burials tend to be more expensive than cremations. The cheapest funerals in the UK are direct cremations, which involves an unattended service and no wake, the average price of a direct cremation is around £1000. 

What is the cheapest alternative to a funeral? 

An alternative to a traditional funeral is having a direct cremation, it is a much cheaper option than having an attended funeral, and it can always be followed by a celebration of life/memorial at a later date -  some choose to mark the occasion of burying or scattering the ashes with a gathering and celebration of life on that day.  


How do you bury someone with no money? 

If you cannot afford a funeral there is lots of help available, there are charities that can offer financial support and government grants available. A way to raise funeral funds that has become popular in recent years is crowdfunding. If a deceased person has no funds in their estate to pay for their funeral and no next of kin that is willing to pay the local authorities will organise a public health funeral. Take a look at our page help with funeral costs

How can I get help with low cost funerals?

In summary, the best way to plan a low cost funeral is to consider where reducing expenses is a viable option: either in limiting send-off fees, or exploring lower cost options faithful to your loved one’s wishes, like green funerals or direct cremations. The most effective methods, too, involve comparing prices between funeral directors, and creating a manageable payment plan for these costs. 

Another way to cut funeral expenses is to consider funding or grants from the government or charities - you can take a look at our page on help with funeral costs for these tips.