Bargain funerals: Going out in style on a budget

Ashley Heritage at Easton Funeral services.
Ashley Heritage at Easton Funeral services. John Gass

FUNERALS can be an expensive affair, but thanks to insider knowledge we can reveal how to organise a dignified funeral without the financial stress.

Co-owner of Tweed's Heritage Brothers Funeral Services and funeral director Ashley Heritage said working to a family's budget to provide a memorable occasion was a key part of the service.

He recommended a cremation over a burial for families looking to keep to a budget, with huge savings to be made.

"You can save thousands because the Tweed Council charges about $5000 for the grave site alone," he said.

"It's possible to save thousands by going with a cremation instead."

If you are from out in the country, like from Murwillumbah, you may want to be buried, as it's what your family has always done.

Mr Heritage said while cremations were becoming increasingly popular, burials were still a must for some Tweed residents.

"There's still a percentage of people wanting a burial in Tweed," he said.

"If you're from out in the country, like from Murwillumbah, you may want to be buried, as it's what your family has always done."

Another top way to save money on a funeral, without cutting corners, was to change the type of coffin used.

"If someone has a burial they're more likely to buy a hardwood coffin," he said.

"Where as if they're cremated it's likely they'll get a particle board coffin."

Mr Heritage advised that hardwood coffins cost several thousand dollars more than a particle board coffin, which usually cost about $1000.

Pre-paying for funerals was also cited as one of the best ways to prepare financially for the untimely, but eventual, circumstance.

"One great way to keep costs down is a prepaid funeral from a director," he said.

"Remember that funeral insurance is a totally different product...premiums go up over time."

Mr Heritage said not all common aspects of a funeral were completely necessary, depending on the family's expectations.

"There's certain things you have to have and then there's things people want to have," he said.

Melaleuca Memorial Gardens' Philip Willsallen also recommended cremation if budget restraints were an issue.

"Cremation is much cheaper than a burial particularly if you don't own the plot," he said.

"A funeral service is really guided by what people want, but it can be made cheaper if you need.

"I think that you find that in everything really."

Both Mr Heritage and Mr Willsallen agreed a degree of planning and preparation in advance would help keep costs reigned in to a sensible level.

Ways to save on funerals:

  • Choose cremation instead of burial
  • Select a lower cost coffin
  • Plan ahead with family
  • Get estimates from several businesses
  • Pre-pay funeral services
  • Be careful when purchasing non-necessities
  • Discuss your budget with the funeral director

Topics:  bargain hunter burial cremation funeral

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