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3 Cremation Options for Families With Varying Budgets

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Losing a loved one is one of life’s most difficult challenges. In the midst of intense grief, family members are expected to make final arrangements, which generally includes deciding between burial and cremation.

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) projects that more than 55% of the U.S. population will choose cremation over burial in 2019. That number is expected to rise to 64% in 2025 and 79% in 2035.

While cremation is generally less expensive than traditional burial, it can still bring about sudden financial burdens and stressful decisions for surviving family members if no arrangements were made in advance.

Fortunately, select funeral homes and crematories offer flexible and affordable cremation for families with varying budgets. Below, we explore three different cremation packages, plus tips to stay within your defined budget.

1. Simple Cremation

For surviving family members who do not plan on having a service for a loved one, simple cremation may be right for you.

Simple cremation is a disposition method in which a body is cremated without a formal service conducted before or after the process. It’s often cheaper than other disposition options because common costs are avoided, such as embalming of the body.

Family members are able to do much of the process online—from securing a death certificate to completing a cremation authorization form, identifying your loved one and paying for services.

A simple cremation package can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $2,500. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Transportation of the deceased to the crematory.
  • Care of the deceased with refrigeration.
  • Crematory fee.
  • Basic cremation container and urn.

This option is designed to be a simple process, offering flexible and affordable cremation for families with limited budgets.

2. Cremation With a Memorial

For families who wish to have a memorial service in honor of their loved one, a cremation with a memorial may be right for you.

A memorial service is similar to a funeral, but the body is not present. The cremation takes place within a few days following the death, with a service to follow. The cremated remains are typically displayed in an urn with friends and family present.

This option is often cheaper than full service cremation, as there are no casket or embalming charges. Costs for cremation with a memorial typically run between $2,500 and $5,000.

3. Full Service Cremation 

For families who wish to have a formal funeral, full cremation may be right for you. A full service cremation involves a funeral where the body is present to honor the deceased, with a cremation to follow.

A funeral director will work with you and your family to arrange end-of-life services. After establishing a mutually agreed upon time and place for the service, a Certified Celebrant will help you plan a meaningful and memorable funeral that honors your family’s beliefs.

Because the body is present at this time, a funeral home or crematory may require embalming. Additionally, families must rent or purchase a cremation casket for the service.

Other costs a family may incur for a full service cremation include personalization items and stationary products, such as flower arrangements, memorial folders and video tributes. These service offerings generally cost families anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000.

Importance of Choosing a Reputable Funeral Home or Crematory

No matter what package you choose, a reputable cremation provider should have a clear chain of custody throughout the cremation process. This refers to the “chronological documentation of the custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of remains and personal property.” Some funeral homes and crematories use a third-party crematory, where the body temporarily leaves their care. This often leads to mixed up cremated remains.

When selecting a provider, ensure the body remains under the care of one facility throughout the entire process.

Learn Everything You Need to Know About Cremation

If you or a loved one is considering cremation, it’s imperative to understand your options and the associated costs. When choosing a cremation provider, refer to our guide, Cremation Costs Explained: How to Get the Best Value Without Sacrificing Service, to help you select the right options for your needs.

Download our cremation costs explained guide


Jim Busch
Jim Busch
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.

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