Weird Budget Question: Is pre-Planning your own Funeral Necessary?

Posted on Jan 29 2015 - 9:17pm by Ronnie

Weird Budget Question: Is pre-Planning your Funeral Necessary?

I apologize beforehand if this topic is more ‘morbid’ than my usual post, but being that the blog is a place for me to lay my thoughts, it seemed appropriate.

Recently, I was watching an episode of “Extreme Cheapskates”, my newest embarrassing guilty pleasure. Since I’m also a frequent blogger at All the Frugal Ladies, it should be no surprise to anyone that I’m extremely frugal in my  spending – just not to the obscene (but most likely fake) nature of the people displayed in the show.

I DON’T believe the show is representative of the lives of true cheapskates (I mean, really, how come all these ‘cheapskates’ have massive, expense-hungry houses with pools and gardens, but they ‘save’ pennies on cotton balls?). However, the show does actually get me thinking about my own expenses and lifestyle and how I could be more mindful about my spending.

There was one scene in particular that opened my eyes in season 2, when two parents were looking to handle all their funeral costs long before their death, to ensure that their children or partner wouldn’t be left in a situation of taking on a huge financial burden upon their death. If there’s one thing I don’t think about, it’s what happens to my family financially if – God forbid – something happens to me.

And so this ridiculous reality show had me thinking about the costs of a funeral, whether mine or any other direct relative (tu-tu-tu knocking on wood). For starters, to purchase granite headstones (or any other type of headstone), the investment is not nearly as expensive as the show had me think. Heck, I’m frugal but I can invest a few hundred pounds for a headstone out of respect and love for my family.

Second, there’s the issue of the casket. Thankfully, that’s not an expense I need to consider as in Judaic tradition, burials are done without a casket. Rather, the body is covered with cloth and placed within the plot. So financially speaking, I’m covered as far as the casket, which tends to be one of the most expensive parts of a burial. There is also no need for concern over expenses regarding embalming or funeral make-up; it’s not a part of our tradition.

Next, there’s the plot. The couple in the video managed to get an awesome deal by making odd requests. Unfortunately, land for burial is pricey, so this is something that I’m not sure how to approach. Land prices are consistently going up – maybe it would be wise to consider already where our burial will be and purchase the plots now, long before the price increases another 70%.

My grandma and grandpa did this as a younger couple, buying two plots of land side by side for a fraction of the going price today. Thanks to their thoughtfulness, when they passed away, my parents (who were in a bad financial situation at the time) did not go further in debt.

A part of me thinks – it’s 2015. Prices will go up. Whatever I get now will be a fraction of the price of what it will be worth in the future. The other part of me thinks: it’s money I’m giving away for the future, money that I may need in the present for bills, rent, studies… it’s not an easy thing to give up.

Given that I have been living in Israel for the past few years, if the burials were to take place in the country, they would be fully covered by National Insurance (almost everything would be free of charge – the plot, transportation, service, etc.). However, this would imply that all my family and I would have to live and stay in the country permanently. Frugality aside, I don’t know if I’m willing to do that.

To sum it up, one ridiculous reality show episode has my mind spinning about something no one wants to ponder. But the idea that I could leave my family in a bad situation makes me feel far worse.

I know it’s a tough subject, but I invite you to guide me if you have any experience. Have you prepared for these costs? Have other family members? Have you ever organized a funeral? If so, how much did it set you back and what would you have done differently from a financial standpoint?

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A Bolivian living in Israel. Lover of giveaways, contests and reviews. Spends much of her time organizing, budgeting and learning.

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  • I never even thought about this at all! I just assumed that the life insurance we have would take care of my funeral…

    • homelifeabroad

      That’s a good point.. I hadn’t thought of looking into that.

  • Donna L Ward

    I feel guilty because we haven’t done this yet – I know the hassles this can cause from seeing it both ways. Great reminder!

  • Terry My Journey With Candida

    My Hubs parents preplanned their funeral. The Dad died a few months ago and it made it so much easier on everyone.

  • Ourfamilyworld

    I find it is important to pre plan the funeral. Everyone will die some day and if it is upsetting, we don’t need to upset further the families with the funeral prepartion

  • I know a lot of people that have pre planned their funeral. It makes total sense. It would make it so much easier for the family.. kids.. left behind.

  • I have prepaid my funeral which consist of only cremation and nice party. Nothing traditional. I did this so my daughter wouldn’t be left with footing the bill if I was broke, which I’m not. But I still felt it was my responsibility to ensure this cost was handled and so she would not have to concern herself with that during a difficult time. If you money is tight this might be harder for some but you can start putting aside money each month into a funeral account and once you have enough pay it in full. Funerals are a huge waste of money. By planning you can ensure you keep costs down.

    • homelifeabroad

      I think it’s such an honorable thing that you are taking care of it so your daughter won’t have to handle such a difficult burden. I’m going to speak to my parents so we can all be more informed about what we should do.

  • Lois Alter Mark

    There’s a lot to think about here, and I do think the easier you can make it on your family, the better.

  • mail4rosey

    I’ve been thinking about it too, how much I should do. We had a family member pass not too long ago who had everything picked out including music. And no one knew until she passed.

    • homelifeabroad

      I’m sorry to hear… It’s nice to know that she had everything pre-planned to make a tough situation a bit easier to handle.

  • kayadeola

    I have not really thought about this before but maybe I should it makes sense.

  • Maria

    Possibly not but you do want to make sure you don’t want to burden your family financially. I say plan if its getting close!

    • homelifeabroad

      It’s not, thank God… but you never know. Two years ago, a friend of mine passed at age 25 from a plane crash. You just can never know…..

  • Jeanine @

    I’ve had plenty of family members have to do this. I even watched my own mom plan her own when I was 16. Wish I had some insight to offer.

  • I don’t think it’s that important. There is no need to spend a ton on a funeral, what’s the point?

  • Amber Nelson

    I do not even like thinking of this. Death scares me.

  • Mama to 5 Blessings

    I try not to think about this, but honestly I know that one day it will done so for now I try to ignore it.

  • This is definitely not an easy topic to broach. Unfortunately, it is important to have a plan in place for these types of events.

  • Melissa Vera

    My dad just passed away and it made it so much easier on mom to know that all his arrangements were taken care. Although it is not an easy topic, I believe it is necessary especially when it comes to helping loved ones grieve.

  • I guess it is necessary but I’d rather not plan nor think about it – too scary.

  • I haven’t done any preparations other than to make clear that I want cremation. I don’t see the point in spending money on all those funeral expenses.

  • Lisa Rios

    I don’t think you really need to plan anything upfront as Life is full of surprises & you never know how & when you are going to die. Also I always feel, you don’t have to spend much on a funeral.

  • Chrystal M.

    We have been together for 7 years and have been discussing wills. I am going to be 40 this year and since he has a daughter, I just feel its best we start to get things in order to make sure everyone is taken care of. You just never know when something is going to happen. I have pets, so I have to make sure their needs are taken care of too. Life insurance is a must at this stage in the came. It is so inexpensive now, so its best to start now. The older I get, the more it costs. Our burial is another story. I want to be in my family cemetery where my grandparents, other relatives and family friends. This cemetery is pretty much across the street from my grandmothers house, which is were my mom lives now. My husband wants to be buried with his aunt and grandparents. So, we are going to have to figure things out. If we get life insurance, that would cover funeral expenses.

  • Babita

    To be frank we have never though about planning for Funerals. Anyway in our religion we cremate and I am hoping it will not be that expensive.