Understanding the various costs associated with planning a funeral can be overwhelming. Whether you are thinking ahead and budgeting for a future expense or managing the current costs of a funeral, the subsequent financial stress can be a heavy burden. However, when taken step by step, planning a funeral and understanding the related costs is a manageable task. Ultimately, becoming educated on all of the available options will help you choose the right kind of service for yourself or your loved one.
There are numerous ways to plan a funeral that is tailored to your budget. The necessary cost allocation varies based on the state that the funeral is held in, the type of equipment used, services requested, and more. For example, Arizona has notably lower funeral costs than most other American states, with the average funeral coming to $6,681, whereas the national average is $7,360 and up. Data shows that funeral costs have gone up 227% in the last 30 years, which is almost twice the national inflation rate. While this exponential rise is due to multiple factors, the prices are generally lower in Arizona because many residents choose to be cremated. The following information provides an in-depth look at the costs of a funeral in Arizona.
Transportation and Preparation Costs
The first expense to consider when budgeting for a funeral is the cost to transport the deceased. This is typically unavoidable, seeing as the body will need to be moved to the funeral home, church, or burial site. While some states do allow individuals to transport the deceased, the state of Arizona requires that a licensed professional fulfill these services. A funeral home can typically arrange for displacement for a fee of around $250 each way, depending on the length of travel. Of course, if the deceased must be transported across state lines or overseas, the costs will rise accordingly.
Once transportation has been taken care of, it is time to consider the expense of preparing for the funeral and/or visitation service. These preparations include but are not limited to the embalming of the body, cosmetology, dressing, casketing, and washing or disinfecting. Embalming alone can cost around $700, while cosmetology, restoration, and preservation may be up to $500, depending on what is required. The services provided by a mortician are extensive and ensure that the body is in the proper condition for the steps that follow.
Choosing the Right Type of Service
A funeral service can be carried out in a variety of locations, depending on the family’s preferences. If you choose to hold a funeral within a church, there is typically no cost if the family belongs to that church. However, this does not necessarily mean that there is no allocation of funds involved — rather, it is standard to give a donation of some sort to the host church. On top of that, keep in mind that there will invariably be transportation costs to move the body to your location of choice.
Of course, another common option is to use a funeral home. While funeral homes eliminate the need for additional transportation, they subsequently add on facility and staff costs which can cost around $500. What is more, those who opt for a funeral home service will likely be offered several add-on packages such as flowers, programs, and video tributes, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
An alternative option for those who prefer not to have a funeral in a church or funeral home is to have it at an outdoor space or within a home. While this private option would require transportation of the deceased, it is otherwise very low-cost or even free.
Caskets and Containers
The next — and often, the most costly — part of planning a funeral is related to the burial. In the case of a traditional burial, it is necessary to purchase a casket. Most funeral homes will offer a wide range of casket options that range from a standard metal casket (usually around $2,500) to more luxurious options that can cost up to $10,000. This choice can be based purely on the family’s preference, what they believe will look best at the service, or perhaps what they think the deceased would have liked. There is no hard-and-fast rule for which casket is best for your loved one.
Finally, families should account for the expense of a grave liner or burial vault — the outer container that houses the casket and keeps the grave from sinking. Grave liners, which only cover the top and sides of the casket, are a more economic option, ranging from $700-$1,000. Burial vaults encase the casket entirely, like a second casket. These can be costly, ranging from $900-$10,000.
Compared to traditional burials, cremations are a cost-effective option. Cremation forgoes embalming costs, though families will need to pay for the cremation itself as well as a container for their loved one’s remains. The average cost of a direct cremation is $600 — this means that the deceased is cremated soon after death, without opportunity for viewing.
Burial Plot and Marker Costs
Once the casket and burial vault or grave liner is accounted for, families will need to purchase a burial plot in the cemetery or graveyard of their choice. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, graveyards are associated with a church while cemeteries are public burial grounds. Purchasing a burial plot typically costs around $1,000, but fees vary based on location and the population of an area.
A grave marker is a touching way to commemorate the deceased. Families may choose a standard headstone engraved with their loved one’s name, birth, and death dates, and even a touching quote, but they also come in a variety of other forms and styles. The possibilities are endless when it comes to grave markers — any style, size, shape, and material is available based on your taste. The average cost of a headstone in the United States is around $2,000, but this figure can be significantly reduced or inflated based on what the family is looking for.
In the case of cremation, families often purchase a special urn or container, which can cost as little as $50 or up to hundreds of dollars.
Following a visitation or funeral service, it is standard for the family to offer a reception for extended family and/or guests. This is an opportunity for friends and family to commune — typically in a lighter atmosphere — and tell stories or share pictures of the recently deceased.
The reception should be factored into funeral costs, given that they often feature a shared meal. Consider the number of people that might attend the reception and budget the cost of food and drink accordingly.
This general summary highlights the main expenses of a funeral in Arizona, but if you are seeking more information and guidance, the experienced professionals at San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home are ready to assist you. Our compassionate team can help ease your burden through a time of loss as well as help you plan for the future. We are available 24 hours a day on the phone — simply call San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home at 480-888-2682 or fill out our quick contact form today.