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Four Factors That Affect Whether A Cremation Is More Affordable Than An In-Ground Burial

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When planning your own funeral and memorial service in advance, your choices may be affected by personality, budget, and other factors. Many Americans have been choosing cremation as a more affordable option; in come cases, it can indeed cost much less than a traditional in-ground burial. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that cremation is the most budget-friendly option in every scenario. Here are four factors that can affect whether or not cremation will be the most affordable for you. 

1. How many add-ons you choose

A basic cremation will be the most affordable option, but the more you add to it, the more expensive it can become. For example, if you decide on having a viewing rather than a direct cremation, you may wish to choose a fancier coffin, which means you'll have additional expenses. You'll also have to pay for embalming and, potentially, the use of the funeral home during the viewing period. And if you wish to have your ashes placed in an urn in a cemetery, you'll still have to pay for a burial plot, albeit a smaller one than a traditional burial would use.

2. Where you want to have your ashes scattered

Cremation allows many more options afterward than traditional burial; you can have your ashes buried, kept in a memorial urn, scattered, or something else. If you want to have your ashes scattered, it may be free (depending on local regulations) but if you have something special in mind it could be very expensive. For example, having your ashes scattered from a plane, a hot air balloon, a rocket to space, or from a ship at sea, could add a considerable cost to the total.

3. What type of memorial you want

Many types of memorials are available, some of which are highly personalized. You can have your ashes combined with paint and made into a portrait of you, have them installed in a memorial reef, or have them included in your own set of memorial fireworks. These are customizable options that can meaningfully memorialize your life, but they can also add considerably to the total of your cremation and memorial budget.

4. Whether the cremation providers let you pay in advance

Some cremation providers will allow you to pay for your cremation in advance so that you don't have to worry about rising prices and inflation in decades to come. If you can find an offer that allows you to lock the price in, you may be able to save quite a bit of money that way, but if not, there's no guarantee that inflation and the surge in demand for cremation won't drive prices up in future.

These four factors all interlock to create a continuum of prices for cremation that can affect whether a specific type of cremation is a better deal than a specific type of burial or not. Consider which cremation services you're likely to choose for your memorial and memorial service before you decide whether cremation or in-ground burial is the best choice in your situation.