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My grandmother died two and a half weeks ago, and my mother was telling me about all the expenses that have come up since then, expenses that she hadn't necessarily thought about in advance. In addition to funeral costs, there was the expense of dealing with the will related bureaucratic issues, packing up my grandmother's apartment and moving it, among other things.
My mother now is in the process of arranging a headstone for my grandmother's grave, and today, my mother was telling me about what she decided to do to save money.
Now let me backtrack for a second and say that I know many would bristle at the idea of even saving money on burial related expenses- our loved ones deserve the best that money can buy, don't they?
Fortunately, I have never been in a position where I have had to arrange the burial of a loved one, but my mother would agree with you. It is worthwhile to spend more to give the best to your loved one, and not skimp and not give them a proper send off or burial. However, it is possible to get as good quality, for less money- so you still give them the best, but without paying more than you have to.
My mother was telling me that the standard headstones locally are made out of limestone marble, and these are cheapest to get. While they look beautiful at first, they are entirely white, and in order for the letters to be seen, they need to be painted in, and the paint comes off over the years. After 20-30 years, they need to be repainted, otherwise they look bad, and they also start crumbling. She decided that her mother deserved better than this- she wanted to get her a granite headstone, as they don't require paint, and they hold up much longer.
However, the first price she was quoted for a granite headstone was approximately 4 times as expensive as that of a limestone headstone. But she didn't want to just pay that, no questions asked. So she called up a few other places, and each of them charged between 2.5 and 4 times as much as the limestone headstones, and all of them had an additional price per letter on the headstone.
Then my mother thought about it- they recently had their kitchen redone, and put in granite counter tops. She thought- why not ask the guy who did the granite countertops if he also makes headstones? So she called him up, and he quoted her a price that was much lower than all the other places- it was the same price as a limestone marble headstone would be.
However, he didn't do letters. So she'd need to find someone to carve the letters on to that headstone.
With the quoted price in hand, she called up the place that offered her the lowest price for the granite tombstone, and told them the price that the granite cutter quoted her, and asked them how much they'd charge to carve letters on it. They, instead, suggested that she do the whole thing with them, and gave her a price half way between their original quoted price and what the granite cutter quoted her, and they also threw in another thing on the tombstone that my mother wanted, that would have had an additional cost, free of charge.
By doing a little comparison shopping as well as thinking outside the box, my mother is now getting a great quality granite tombstone, "the best money can buy", for a fraction of the cost that it would have cost her, had she not shopped around.
When doing something in the memory of a loved one, it's not an insult to their memory to try to save money. You can save money without skimping on quality.
And knowing my grandmother, she wouldn't have wanted a lot of money to be spent on her burial. She was such a giver, and would be happy to know that instead of this money being spent on her unnecessarily, it now can go instead to her children and grandchildren to enjoy.
While this is how my mother saved money on the headstone, the same would apply to all aspects of the burial related expenses (such as coffins, funeral services etc...)- comparison shopping, bargaining, and thinking out of the box regarding craftsmen, etc... can all be ways to help, so that your pocket book isn't hurting as much as your heart is.
Would you try to save money on burial related expenses, or would you consider that an insult to the memory of a loved one? If you would try to save money, or have in the past, what did/would you do?