WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts 6-17: A frugal funeral

Posted June 17, 2010

As my family approaches the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing, I am looking forward to the upcoming visit from my brothers and their families, who live out of state. We are planning to go out to the cemetery together, as we did a year ago, to pay respects to an amazing mother, grandmother, wife and friend.

At our last gathering all together, my mother’s funeral, it was sort of a blur. Actually, life was sort of a blur for a few weeks during the time just before ovarian cancer took her life and the weeks after she passed. I don’t remember every thoughtful person who sent condolences or everyone who was kind enough to bring food and comfort. Nor do I remember what I said at the service or how I even managed to speak at all. What I do remember about that blurry couple of weeks is that I didn’t have to worry about my mother’s funeral expenses and arrangements. My parents had the foresight to make those arrangement years ago, long before mom was diagnosed. They had already secured their side-by-side plots and knew who would handle the arrangements. Their pre-planning made a world of difference during that fuzzy, sad, overwhelming couple of weeks. Instead of struggling to find a cemetery or figure out how to pay the cost of the funeral, we were able to focus on each other and on remembering my mom.

When I read an article recently about frugal funeral expenses, it reminded me of how fortunate I am to have parents who had the wisdom to plan their arrangements (and save for them) years in advance. The article, from the wonderful Dollar Stretcher newsletter, offers sound advice about making your wishes clear to those responsible for carrying out the arrangements. It also includes a number of different frugal suggestions for flowers, thank you cards and the location of the memorial service. Although none of us wants to think about having to make these decisions, I am thankful that I did not have to make them during a time when I barely had the presence of mind to make cereal.

I recommend you read the article HERE and consider how the author’s suggestions may help you and your family in the future. If you have any thoughts on frugal funeral expenses, please share them. As I always say, it’s your money – spend it wisely.



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  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 17, 2010

    Thanks for your insight and your hugs, twowheelS. Both are very much appreciated. Hugs back to you for your loss.

  • TwoWheels Jun 17, 2010

    Hi Faye, i've been so busy lately w/ my sister that i havent been on SD in ages.. and have only caught a few of your articles. As i went thru my mom's passing about 2.5 yrs ago, it struck home. Mom, too, had everything planned and payed for. I think i wrote a few checks totalling 500 which is peanuts compared to what it would have been. One thing we did which saved some money and energy was we held only a wake and the next day, a graveside service. Most of my mom's family and friends were older, and this was decreased the amount of parking/walking, etc.

    As my husband and I have gone through several sad situations, we have both decided that we want to be cremated. Back in 1995, paying for creamation 2 weeks in advance was only 1100. You could pay for it 6 months in advance at the time and spend only 800. We are looking into paying for it now as a gift to our kids.

    Please know you are still in my prayers for the loss of your mom. **hugs**

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 17, 2010

    I, too, am sorry for the loss of both of your paretns in such a short time, dhilliard. What an interesting idea, your mother had. Frugal, creative, and stress free. I really like the rememberence dinner so friends and family can still pay their respects and celebrate her life. Thank you for sharing your experience and your own plans.

  • dhilliard2 Jun 17, 2010

    Faye, sorry for your lost of your mother.I know you miss her greatly. I lost my father March of last year and my mother 6 months later. BOTH my wonderful parents gave me the gift of not having to plan their funerals. My mother even went one step funeral at all. It was a blessing not having a funeral. Our family and friends had a "Rememberce Dinner" in her honor. Now my husband and I have decided to go the way of my mother....NO FUNERAL AT ALL....NO Family Stress

  • mmhughes Jun 17, 2010

    Thank you for your input.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 17, 2010

    mmhughes, although the site may be legit, I would hesitate to order the coupon book because you have no idea what you will get. Although you can choose brands, you don't know what the value of the coupons will be or what products within a brand the coupon is for. You could end up with a bunch of coupons for .40/3 or $1.00/3 instead of the much more valuable .75/1 coupons. I only order coupons from sites where I can see every detail of the coupon including the face value, expiration date, what product the coupon is for, etc. Hope that helps. :-)

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 17, 2010

    Momoftwo - it really is a gift when our parents plan ahead like this. I am impressed that you have already done the same. I guess it's never too early.

    lb - I am sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story.

    Thank, old rebel.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 17, 2010

    Thanks, ac and tot. Tot, your grandmother seems like a very thoughtful woman.

  • lbnblakesmom Jun 17, 2010

    My grandpa passed away last August, and he and Granny had also pre-planned their funerals, but there were so many things that still had to be taken care of. We had known for several weeks that the end was near, but some of the children were in denial. The day of his death meant a lot of choas. Pre-planning is a great idea, and I can't imagine how bad it would have been if most of the arrangements hadn't already been taken care of.

  • oldrebel Jun 17, 2010

    Good blog.