Skip to content
Golden Charter > News & Advice > How to plan a low-cost funeral

How to plan a low-cost funeral

28 Nov 2023 | 2 min read time

The cost of living crisis has brought day-to-day money worries for many, and growing financial pressures are leading families to choose low-cost funeral arrangements. While the average price of a typical funeral fell by 2.5%1 between 2021 and 2022, costs are still close to £4,0001 according to insurance company SunLife. Continuing inflation may push these prices higher.

Unexpected funeral costs can put an additional financial burden on families when they are already challenged by everyday expenses. Against that background, families are thinking harder about how much they could afford to spend if they or a loved one were to die. Here are some suggestions for how you can plan a low-cost funeral.

Paying in advance

A pre-paid funeral plan can help to alleviate the pressure on your family to pay for the entire funeral. By paying in advance for the funeral director services included in your plan2, financial pressures on your loved ones could be eased.

According to SunLife, 41% of survey respondents said they wanted their family to spend as little as possible on their send-off. However, it is common for family members to feel that they should do the ‘right thing’, leading to them spending more than they would have wanted. A pre-paid funeral plan puts you in control of how much you spend.

Golden Charter funeral plans also protect against any increases in the cost of funeral director services included in your plan. They also include a built-in allowance towards third-party costs like fees for burial or interment, and officiants.

Spending less

For families keen to keep funeral costs down, there are a number of things you can actively cut back on. These include choosing a cheaper coffin, spending less on extras like flowers and cars, and organising a home wake.

Overall, cremation is the most cost-effective funeral option1. The average price for a cremation was £3,673 in 2022, compared with £4,794 for a burial. For both cremation and burial, Golden Charter offers a range of funeral plans that are priced to suit all budgets.

Direct cremation

The most stripped back end of life option, and one offered right here at Golden Charter, is direct cremation. Savings of up to £2,000 when compared to other funeral types help explain the rising popularity of no-frills cremations. In 2022, almost 20% of all cremations were direct cremations1.

Costs are lower for direct cremations because the deceased is taken directly to be cremated at a time determined by the funeral director. A simple coffin is used, and the additional expense associated with a funeral ceremony - cars, flowers, an order of service and a funeral celebrant - are all avoided.

Shopping around

Getting in touch with several funeral directors to compare costs immediately after a bereavement can be overwhelming. But asking for quotes before committing to a funeral director can help keep costs down.

Recent regulation has made it easier to make comparisons. It is now mandatory for funeral directors to display a standardised price list at their premises, and online. This list should include:

  • The headline price of a funeral
  • The price of the individual items comprising the funeral
  • The price of certain additional products and services

With this regulation in place, it should now be easier than ever for people to plan a low-cost funeral.

1 Based on the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2023.

2 While the cost of the funeral director’s services are included in your plan, this does not cover third party costs. All our plans include an allowance towards third party costs.

Golden Charter

Smart Planning for Later Life

We are one of the largest funeral plan providers in the UK* and we work with over 2,900 independent funeral directors across the UK*. Many are long-standing, family-run businesses and all provide a compassionate and professional service.

Find out more about how you can plan for the future with one of the funeral directors in our network.