Cremation and Funeral Cost Breakdown

A woman holding a cremation urn. Cremation is an affordable option considering the average funeral cost breakdown.

Most people are unfamiliar with the world of funeral planning and burial choices until they suddenly need to decide. It can overwhelm and confuse, especially while you’re also grieving. Everything that goes into planning a funeral and the related funeral cost breakdown can be a surprise.

Funeral costs differ across the country because of regional markets. Based on a 2017 survey by the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral is $8,500.

This price can go up or down depending on many factors.

One decision that everyone has to make is whether he or she wants a burial or a cremation. All subsequent plans can be personalized following this decision. Often, cremation is significantly cheaper than a traditional burial.

After choosing between cremation and burial, you’ll choose what kind of memorial or funeral service you want. These services can be an important way for close ones to grieve, celebrate, and come together. Funeral services can be as unique as each individual. And each individual choice will affect prices one way or another.

Basic Funeral Costs

The main categories and costs of funeral planning include:

Treatment of remains (transportation, embalming, cremation, plot, casket or urn)

Professional services (building, clergy, permits, running the service)

Extras (food, flowers, music, printing, headstone)

In 2017, the median funeral cost breakdown of an adult funeral with viewing and cremation was $6,260. And the median cost of an adult funeral with viewing and burial was $8,755.

Some basic funeral services are necessary and cannot be waived or negotiated. These fees range from $2,000-2,500. This includes professional services like obtaining permits and a death certificate.

Other elements of a funeral (such as flowers, caskets, urns, music, and photo displays) can be personalized and add varying costs. Prices for a plot of land can vary depending on location. These arrangements are personal choices.

Pre-planning and Pre-paying

One reason that pre-planning is very helpful is the opportunity to make so many personal funeral decisions. You can take the time to imagine what you would like, shop around, and get an understanding of expected costs.

Pre-planning is also a huge service to your family and those you leave behind who will carry out your final wishes. Often, it’s possible to plan and pre-pay for your funeral with a local business that will take care of everything once the time comes. Pre-paying is helpful to lock in current prices. Most estimates show that funeral and burial costs will continue to rise every year.

Don’t be afraid to shop around and make a plan that you’re comfortable paying for. While costs can be quite high, funeral professionals also understand that everyone has a different budget. If money is an extreme concern, you can ask about direct burial or direct cremation to bypass associated costs with funeral services.

Burial vs. Cremation Cost Breakdown

Knowing more can empower you to make these personal decisions. We think it’s important to be transparent about basic costs of cremation and funeral planning, as well as possible ways you can personalize services.

Here is a final breakdown of median costs from the National Funeral Directors Association for everything a basic funeral includes:

Burial Cremation
Non-declinable basic service fees $2,100 $2,100
Removal/transfer of remains $325 $325
Embalming $725 $725
Other preparation of the body $250 $250
Facilities/staff for viewing $425 $425
Facilities/staff for funeral ceremony $500 $500
Hearse $325
Service car $150 $150
Basic memorial printed package $160 $160
Metal Casket $2,400
Vault $1,395
Cremation fee $350
Cremation Casket $1,000
Urn $275


Contact Simply Cremation & Funeral Care for more pricing information.