As the UK emerges from the pandemic, the cost of living crisis is hitting us hard. With soaring energy bills, fuel and house prices, finding the money to pay for an expensive funeral is an additional strain

Distinct Cremations explains that funerals remain one of the largest one-off costs for families, especially traditional funerals which include a service, funeral procession followed by a burial or cremation and quite often a wake.

In 2021, the average cost of a funeral was just over £4,000, this has pushed people to look for a lower cost alternative. Reportedly internet searches have reflected this with searches for ‘affordable funerals’ rising by 850% in the past 12 months alone. According to Leicestershire Live, nearly a fifth of all funerals were unattended in the last year, with more people than ever choosing not to hold ceremonies at all.

Recently an advert for ‘low cost cremation’ for £1,195 from Beyond Life was spotted on the tube, the advert went viral with the caption ‘reminds us we can’t even afford to die’ in an attempt to make light of the high cost of dying. One person commented ‘yep, forget I’m too young to die, I’m too poor. Let me save up first’. Others took a more serious approach and were genuinely shocked by the cost of a funeral.

A study by The University of Bath shows the number of people turning to cremations without a formal service rose from 14% to 18% in 2021 in an effort to save costs.

A Distinct Cremation spokesman said “With no formal service and with no (or very few) mourners in attendance, the family is given more time, money, and space to prepare a separate memorial or celebration of life that better reflects the deceased’s values and beliefs.

According to the Metro, some funeral directors are offering coffins for rent as a method of reducing costs for grieving families. Coffins are a major cost contributor of a funeral, with the cheapest coffin on the market priced at £450 from the Co-op for a traditional oak casket, even a cardboard coffin is priced at £450.

An Association of Funeral Directors spokesperson said “There are many ways to keep the cost of a funeral within a budget, while making it special. Provided it is clear what is being provided, this is one of several choices available that may assist families.”

To rent a casket, at a more affordable £250, the exterior is used in the service and burial, it is then removed leaving the body to decompose or be cremated in cardboard. As the body never touches the casket, the wooden box is easily removed and can then be buried. The rental casket can then be re-used.

In cases where there is no one to arrange a funeral, it is the obligation of the local authority to pay for a ‘public health funeral’. Fraser and Fraser can support the public sector by tracing next-of-kin with no extra cost to the local authority. There is almost always someone and we understand the sensitivity that needs to be applied to people-tracing services, which is why we are committed to carrying these out with tact, empathy and discretion.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing info@fraserandfraser.co.uk or call us on 020 7382 1400.