Saturday, June 25, 2011



Why? well, were do I start. Your talking about two totally different directions that you take after a death to reach a final disposition. That being the end of the handling of remains and conclusion of all religious services or rights of passage.

Lets look at Burial.

  • Pick up the body
  • meet with the family
  • select a casket
  • family meet with the cemetery
  • do the paperwork
  • call the church
  • order all the stuff
  • make the book and folders
  • prepare the body
  • order the flowers
  • hold the visitation
  • hold the service
  • load the hearse
  • hold the procession
  • unload the hearse
  • burial
Burial is a ritual that is full of tradition and religious value to some. In the beginning it was a simple way of disposing of a set of human remains at a specific location or just about anywhere to prevent the foul odor of the decaying body from being offensive to others. It also afforded friends and family the opportunity to go and reflect and remember the deceased. Now, is this documented as the real reason? probably not. But if you stop and think about it, it is the most logical.

I often find myself helping people who are doing everything they can to save a few dollars. I find myself telling them allot of times, "well, you can do that yourself".  There is so much in this industry you can do yourself. But there is also allot you really should not try to. The typical funeral home does not want you to do anything at all by yourself. They want to do it all, and charge you for all of it.  If you can do it yourself to save a few dollars, I will tell a family if asked.

Burial is one of those areas that has allot involved in it. I don't think in the beginning when the first person ever died and they had the first funeral ever that everyone expected it to be so complex. With complexity comes charges, we all know that.  There was a time when families tried to do services outside of the funeral home by going to the church for visitation. Then the church found it to be a great idea to not only charge for the facility, but also the priest use and the musician, the graveside service and the rosary if you have one. This on top of all that the funeral home charges. The excuse is, "we don't know why the funeral home charges, we do the services". at the same time because of all this the funeral home sees itself losing cash because no one is using their facilities so they charge a "Fee" to take the deceased to the church and have their guys stand around till the church is done. Never mind the fact that this charge is the same amount as the use of the chapel. You cant get around it.

Other things to include, Visitation, church service, Graveside service (that's an interesting one, you get charged as much as a church service so the funeral director can hold a bucket of dirt while everyone files by to toss it on the grave, then thanks you for being there on behalf of the family and bla bla bla...) Don't get me wrong, this is all tastefully done and with great elegance, but do you really want to pay $350 so a guy can hold a bucket while everyone scoops dirt out of it?


And the hearse, lets not forget about the last ride. The hearse is traditionally the traditional way to go, BUT! did you know you can use your own vehicle? You can, no law says you have to use a hearse.

Body preparation is important, cost money to embalm and dress and casket. BUT! Did you know you can dress the deceased if you want to? also do the hair and make up. But then again the funeral home may charge you to use their facility to do this, well, what to do, take the deceased home to dress them their? It's a catch 22. Oh, remember, Embalming is not required by law, nope! not at all.

Now administratively, to be honest, I spend more time sitting and connecting with a family, making the arrangements than I do "arranging" everything. 20 to 35 minutes maximum. That's it! nothing else really. The computer age puts everything, from personalization to obituaries at my fingertips. Death certificate filing, all via computer. No Doctor chasing, as some of my fellow funeral business owners would want you to believe.

Oh, and the casket, no matter what, you will pay for a burial casket if you choose burial. Even if you buy it elsewhere. Oh, and don't be fooled, just about ALL caskets are made up of parts manufactured in another country. That is the God honest truth, they may be assembled in America, but it is of parts manufactured in another country such as Mexico, China or Vietnam.


Grave purchase......... WOW! that can cost as much as the funeral service itself. $4,000 to $8,000 for the ground, opening and closing and a grave box. (Cement box the casket goes in)

So your looking at about all together, the minimum of about $7,000 to $10,000 total. Give or take a thousand.

Lets look at cremation now!

Remember that initial paragraph about burial because of the foul odor and reflection? Well guess what? some see that the cremation a body does the same thing, removes the odor and they are not so compelled to have to go somewhere to reflect. They consider burial as a waste of space and all the service part of it all can either be morbid and ghoulish. These individuals have a different outlook on the afterlife, the processing of grief and the whole death process. This does not make them wrong, nor does it make those that think cremation as being wrong..., wrong.

Cremation is pretty basic if its just direct cremation.
  • pick up the body
  • meet with the family
  • do the paperwork
  • cremate the body
  • return the ashes to the family
Basic cremation is very simple, it is not expensive nor does it have the cost of the cemetery. Some family members prefer to purchase an urn. They can do that. Some choose to take in a container provided.

Oh, one of the newest things by the funeral home is to give you the cremains in a cardboard box, this is to make you feel cheap and guilty. and make you want to buy an urn.

For the same amount of money, they can have the crematory put the ashes in a black plastic container. you know, Like we do at Avenidas, no extra charge.

Basic cremation is a very simple dignified end to ones existence. It is for those that wish to honor ones simple wish and choose not to go through all the fan fair of a very elaborate service. There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with a simple direct cremation. If this is what you choose or what you are doing to honor the wishes of a friend or loved one, do not allow yourself to be talked out of it by someone playing or tugging on your heartstrings wishing you would spend more money at their facility. Keep it basic........

Now, you can do some things that introduce certain parts of the "Burial" traditions into the cremation services requested, a visitation, a church service with the body present and so on. Remember this will increase the price of the services but in the end, you will be concluding with cremation so you are avoiding the price of the casket purchase and the burial plot. (the two biggest price items in a burial service)


Ok, so what about religion? I'm Catholic, what do they allow me to do? Well, that's a whole other topic, but guess what, you can cremate, read the BLOG I wrote to further understand the Catholic faiths guidelines on cremation and the human body.

Click here;  The Roman Catholic Church and Cremation

So there you go, pretty much give you a simple breakdown of cremation versus burial.

Oh, so what is the difference in cost from direct cremation to burial?

about $7,000, give or take a thousand.....

For more information on cremation, follow the blue link and read : "Lets Talk About Cremation.... AGAIN!"
I was asked about how much cremation is in the local area. Well, for the local consumer it can be as high as $2,300 at any corporate funeral provider (Dingity), or as low as $495 at our facility here in Avondale. The range varies within those prices.

Shop around.



  1. I find it puzzling that there are feeding programs that can keep starving Africans alive for only $10 a month... and people would rather spend an amount of money on their death that could be used in keeping another alive for a lifetime... fascinating world we live in...

    1. It is a strange world, full of strange people... and I couldn't agree more with you!

  2. Thank-you for the education. I was doing up my will tonight and you were most helpful.

  3. Your more than welcome, Education can save a great deal of hertache and finances for a family when one dies. I'm glad I can help.


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  5. thanks very much for this in the Uk but im guessing its pretty much the same..cremation all the way i say

  6. Well, you cannot compare funeral with burial, because both are the different forms of performing last rites of a dead person, and you cannot think of budgeting at such occasions.

    1. Your not serious are you? Not think of budgeting? I was not born with a silver spoon.... never mind. I know you are kidding.

  7. Thanks for the very practical article! I, personally, am appalled at the amount of money spent on funerals! I WANT to be cremated, put in whatever's handy, a cardboard box sounds perfect, and scattered somewhere. The idea of a place to go "visit" someone, a place they have never been to in their life, or maybe just briefly when they bought the plot or were there for other family member's plantings!, is just plain creepy to me!
    Your article didn't give any range of price for the basic cremation service - Can you tell a general range of prices, in your opinion?
    Thank you so much!

  8. I'm a life insurance agent and this post is very very accurate. Thank you, this will help with most of my presentations. There are a lot of families who don't plan for the unexpected.... sudden death. Yet death is the only thing certain in this life and we should all plan for it and leave things paid for before it happens. Thanks again :)

  9. it's kind of interesting to me to read the comments here & on similar sites; i see people preparing to die with a plan, figuring how much money will be spent on honoring or simply acknowledging their deaths. they know their death costs money, and they must have that set aside for when it's needed.
    i am but a humble author, legitimately just trying to figure out whether particular characters should be cremated or buried. thank you for the information.

  10. Your spelling and grammar are horrible. Please have someone literate proofread your web page.

  11. Thank you so much for your post. I was talking to a golf buddy,who happens to be an engineer. He had a job in a cemetery to dig up graves and move them for a contruction of a roadway or maybe something to do with water or sewage. Well any way ,they had to use a backhoe to lift out the concrete box. Most often water had entered the porus box over time and the casket was in total distruction. Not a ideal sistuation.

  12. Cremation is getting popular and there are many studies and statistics that in recent years not only in USA but also all over the world cremation has been increasing.

  13. That makes sense that there is a lot less involved in a basic cremation service. A lot of people don't realize how much a burial plot can cost. It may sound a bit morbid, but I like to plan things ahead. Cremation just might be the way I'd prefer to be put to rest. It would put less strain on my family's finances.

  14. Cheers! Many thanks for takeing time to create these well-considered thoughts... just love it!... and I'm looking forward to sharing your very helpful article... All the best!

  15. if we keep burring people we will eventually run out of land and we will start building over a grave yard. bones will be dug up, scattered and mixed .. where is your loved one now? or you can cremate them, keep them with you and save tons of money and space.
    cremation is the most logical thing to do ....

  16. Cremation isn't opposed to burial. The cremated can be buried in cemeteries.

  17. I am planning for a cremation and have anxiety about the cremation