The Shed has learned enough about funerals to want to keep a summary of Rupert Jones’s report on saving a few quid here and there, published at
“The average cost of a funeral was this week put at £3,700. Basic charges range from £2,976 for a cremation in Greenock in western Scotland, to £7,216 for a burial in Beckenham, Kent.
“But if you choose to do it all yourself, with an eco-coffin, a basic cremation and an estate car or van instead of a hearse, it’s possible to get the cost down to a fraction of that – perhaps as little as £400.
“Funeral directors’ costs typically account for the lion’s share of the bill. However, you are not required to use a funeral director, and even if you do you are entitled to use a coffin bought elsewhere, says Steven Mitchell, who created CompareTheCoffin.com after being involved with a “terrible” funeral a few years ago. His website sells direct to the public, as well as offering a comparison service. His cardboard coffins start at £245 but you can find one for £80.
“Mitchell says: ‘We often ship direct to hospital or mortuary – the staff there will put the person in the coffin. All you need to do is turn up with an estate car on the day.”
“CompareTheCoffin sells “ash-scattering rockets” which don’t go bang – instead, they shoot up into the air and a flap opens, releasing the “cremains” which are then dispersed by the wind over a wide area.
“Insurer SunLife has set up a free service on its website called My Perfect Send-Off which allows anyone (including non-customers) to create a document that shows all of their funeral wishes, which they can print off and keep with their will or pass on to a loved one.”
Other tips from good old Rupert …
*If you are on low income, you use form SF200 to claim from the Social Fund for a funeral you are arranging.
* Country burial sites can be cheaper than graveyards and a tree is cheaper than a headstone. A typical cost would be £600 for the plot and £400 for the gravedigging and admin. For a list of natural burial grounds go to http://bit.do/naturalburial
* You can be buried in your own garden but the Environment Agency is likely to find a reason why not and you are supposed to ask.
See a previous Filofacts on funeral songs and funeral savings at