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Penny pinching ways of celebrating funerals

Funerals. Itís a touchy subject Ė but letís just be frank and talk about it earnestly. It seems inescapable, our departure that is, so we must confront the issue at some time, either for ourselves our nearest and dearest. Funerals can be expensive, and while it may seem disrespectful talking about money in times of grief, the bottom line is funerals are not free; a little bit of planning can avoid cost without compromising the sincerity of the occasion.  

Burial or cremation?

  • Cremation is now the preferred option, with over half making this preference. Crematorium prices vary but it is slightly cheaper than buying a burial plot and gravedigger (sextant).


  • Caskets can be expensive when purchase from a funeral director. You donít have to buy one from them. You can provide your own, either build it yourself or buy from a cheaper source.

Casket wreath

  • I made a casket wreath for my father in-law, as he was not a "keeping up with the jones" person, and I made it to suit him, which had weeds, grasses, shells, hooks, pheasant tails and heather. He lived off the land where he fished, farmed, went shooting, and at his back yard was the West Coast beach, as was the heather on the hills. You might think this was being a cheapskate, but in fact this was him....and the cost was to go out and get them!!!!!!!!!  nil - RMS


  • Here are some costs (as at July 1995 - so they will have gone up since) quoted by a funeral director.

Walnut veneer casket $428
Funeral directors costs $1,000
Funeral plot and grave digging $670
Clergy donation $75
Flowers: Casket display $50
Death certificate copy $14
Advertising death notice $140
GST $297
Total $2,674
Cremation casket $178
Funeral directors costs $1,000
Crematorium fee $290
Clergy donation $75
Flowers: Casket display $50
Cremation certificate $40
Death certificate copy $14
Advertising death notice $140
GST $223
Total $2,010

Financial assistance

  • Social welfare benefits are available to assist with funeral costs. You should make enquiries with the Department if Work and Income.


  • Upright ones cost +$2,000. Flat headstones start at about $500 and can cost as much as +$2,000.

Prepaid funerals

  • The Funeral Directors Association (FDANZ) have a prepaid funeral scheme that allows people to pre-arrange and pre-pay their funerals. The scheme enables people to pay for their funerals at todayís prices Ė you pay the current price for the casket and funeral service, regardless of when you die.




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