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Homestead Funerals- How to Save On Funeral Cost

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This is one of those taboo subjects that no one likes to talk about but sooner or later everyone will have to deal with it.
Deaths, Funerals, and Burials.
Whether you are planning for the future or have lost a loved one, you should read this article.
I will share how to save on funeral cost with a Homestead Funeral. 

Homestead Funerals- How to Save On Funeral Cost

Oddly enough, I became interested with this idea while we were searching for land to homestead on.
Many of the rural properties that we were looking at came with family graveyards.

At first I was completely turned off by the thought of home funerals and a tad spooked.
But then the concept grew on my like moss on a stone.

If I could save my loved ones thousands of dollars of funeral cost by having one at home, why not?

Homestead Funerals- How To Save On Funeral Cost

Interview With A Funeral Director

I was fortunate enough to meet and interview a former funeral director who gave me the inside scoop of the behind the scenes.

She shares her knowledge and experience with us so we can further understand the cost of funerals.

How Much Does A Funeral Cost?

Funeral Director: Funeral costs can vary wildly in different parts of the country, or even in a city.
I worked for a very expensive funeral home…the average funeral (not including cemetery plots) was probably around $25,000.

Our clientele was generally VERY well-off…their funerals were a social event.
I don’t say that belittling…it’s just the way things were.

As far as burials went, we also catered to a large Jewish clientele…they had special funeral packages, since embalming would not be appropriate.

They also had certain caskets they used…all wood construction, no metal of any type, using pegs and wood glue to hold the casket together. Certified by a rabbi. Not made on the sabbath. Literally, a kosher casket. Absolutely no flowers.

Their funeral packages started at around $7,500 (at the time I left) on up to around $15,000.
Keep in mind, these were generally orthodox or conservative Jews…reformed Jews would embalm, used metal caskets, use flowers, whatever they wanted.

They would pick from either the Jewish funeral plans, or the traditional funeral plans…we would just play it by ear with them.

We knew what to expect from which temple or congregation they attended…they knew to tell us during the first call. Especially the orthodox Jews, since they required a tahara, or ritual washing.

What is The Least Expensive Funeral Option?

Funeral Director: The Jewish burials tended to be the least expensive we handled at-need (in other words, no prearrangement). So, short answer in costs at our funeral home…probably around $7,500 to upwards of $100,000…it was expensive as the family wanted. Average cost, probably around $30,000.

What About Cremation?

Funeral Director: Even our cremations were expensive…a direct cremation (that is ONLY a cremation…no memorial service.

We still filed death certificates, and did the necessary paperwork, but there was really no planning on the part of the funeral director beyond scheduling the cremation) was around $5,000 at the time I left.

You can get a direct cremation for waaaaaay less…I think I’ve seen them go as low as $250?
But I’ve heard that the family must do a lot of the paperwork…getting the death certificate signed, that sort of thing.

That simply wasn’t the way we did business…our families paid too much to have to worry about things that we knew how to do in the most streamlined way possible.

High-End Cremations

Funeral Director: Our most expensive cremations could easily be in the $50,000 range, if not more…that’s a huge obituary in multiple papers, tons of flowers, hundreds of service folders, hundreds of custom thank you cards on expensive Crane stationery.

A wooden casket for the cremation.

Visitation, embalming…essentially a traditional funeral in every way…just no traditional burial. And an expensive urn. Perhaps an inurnment at a cemetery. An outer burial container for the urn.

I can think of one cremation we did for someone you’ve definitely heard of…she was cremated, with an expensive memorial service (the body was not at the service) and she was entombed in our mausoleum.

That was easily a $75,000 funeral. And they paid it, because it was exactly what they wanted. People flew in from all over the WORLD to attend.   

What is a Homestead Funeral

Simply put, a homestead funeral or home funeral, is hosting the funeral at ones home versus a funeral home.

Home funerals are completely legal in the United States.
Some states have specific requirements, so check with your state before planning a home funeral.

How to Save Money With A Homestead Funeral

Funeral cost can be a huge financial burden for the family, thus compounding the grieving process and adding undue stress.

Hosting a homestead funeral can not only save you and your family thousands of dollars, but it’s more personal and intimate.

As mentioned above, an average funeral home funeral costs anywhere from $7,000 – up to $100,000.00 +.
A homestead funeral can cost as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

From USA Today when talking to a woman about her mothers home funeral

Cost was a secondary factor. Barbeau said her mother’s home funeral cost less than $1,000. Most of that was for cremation. She spent $60 on dry ice.

In contrast, the median cost for a funeral in 2012 — with embalming, a metal casket and burial with a vault — was $8,343, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

Advantages of A Homestead Funeral

Not long before our time, people were born and buried at home.
Home funerals are more meaningful, dignified and personable.

Cost of A Homestead Funeral

Home funerals can cost less than $1,000.00, a small fraction of what it would cost to hire a funeral home.


In addition to inflated cost, funeral homes limit the amount of time you can use the building.
When you have a homestead funeral, you can set your own time.
Take as long or as little as you want for family, friends and grieving.


Do you want your pets at the funeral? Certain plants? How about music?

When you host your own funeral, you can add personal touches to honor the memory of your loved one.

Homestead Funeral Cost

The cost of a homestead or home funeral will vary from state to state and from person to person.

However, these are some of the costs you can expect to endure.

  • Death Certificate
  • Obituary (this fee may be free in your paper)
  • Casket: bought or homemade
  • Dry Ice for the deceased
  • Transportation Cost for the deceased-to and from the morgue and grave yard.
  • Head Stone or Grave Marker

Of course you may want to include flowers, music, food or other special elements.

Family and friends may want to provide additional features to help during your time of grieving.

Learn More About Home Funerals

The NHFA empowers families to care for their own dead by providing educational opportunities and connections to resources that promote environmentally sound and culturally nurturing death practices.

You can find more information about Home Funerals at National Home Funeral Alliance 

Homestead Funerals- How to Save On Funeral Cost. Save thousands by having a home funeral and make it more meaningful.

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Susan Koch

Saturday 25th of January 2020

Great information. Our family started creamating our loved ones due to the cost. We even serve champagne and played Guns n Rose's at the last one, cuz that was a favorite band!! The funeral home loved it, we all laughed and danced. It was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful friend! Thanks Amber!

Amber Bradshaw

Saturday 25th of January 2020

Thanks sweet friend. Yes, we opted for cremation with Timmy's father because that was his wish. I love the thought of a happy gathering instead of a sad one. It's what I would want.


Thursday 23rd of January 2020

A maternal aunt of mine bought acreage in a rural county back in the 1960s. When family deaths occurred she generously offered plots in her home cemetery to all family members. Only a few immediate family members ever took advantage of her offer, so the cemetery is very small. My maternal grandparents, my aunt & one cousin are buried there. I don't think that any more than perhaps 10 people will ever be buried there. But still, it's there.

One cost you forgot to mention is the cost to 'open' a grave. If you don't own a backhoe, that cost can be very expensive. At my aunt's cemetery, the ground is almost solid limestone rock & very difficult to excavate. They had to hire someone who specialized in excavating solid rock, usually for aerobic septic systems, in that part of the country. So that is a hidden or little known cost that may or may not apply in all situations.

Amber Bradshaw

Friday 24th of January 2020

Thank you so much for sharing this, I never thought about this cost and it makes total sense. Much appreciated!


Tuesday 17th of December 2019

I just ordered my casket from the trappist monks. Simple, affordable, and I plan to store blankets in it and use it as a coffee table until it's needed.