One of the most important decisions to make during end-of-life planning is what happens to your remains after you pass. Traditional burial is still a common choice. But one increasingly popular option is cremation, in which the remains of someone who’s died are incinerated and returned to their loved ones to be scattered or maintained.
Cremation has become more popular than burial for a variety of reasons. Chiefly among them is that it’s often a much more affordable option. Learning more about the costs of cremation can help you determine whether this alternative to burial suits your needs.
How Much Does Cremation Cost?
The cost of cremation is influenced by a variety of factors, including your location, whether you do a memorial service and what you do with the remains after the cremation. As such, cremation can range widely in price, costing anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars or more. The average cost of direct cremation — cremation without a funeral service — in the United States is roughly $1,100.
How Much Does a Cremation Urn Cost?
While there are many lower-cost options available, cremation urns can be among the more significant expenses in the cremation process. As the name implies, a cremation urn is the vessel that serves as the final resting place for a person’s cremated remains. It’s worth noting that there are many different types of cremation urns, and the type directly influences the cost. These include:
- Standard adult urns, which typically cost between $75 and $350
- Keepsake urns, which store smaller amounts of remains and cost between $25 and $60
- Companion urns, which intermingle the remains of at least two people and cost anywhere from $350 to $600 on average
- Biodegradable “green” urns, which cost between $50 and $350 and are usually used in cremation burial plots
With keepsake urns, one person’s remains are divided into multiple urns so several people can keep them. This may increase the cost of processing the remains.
How Much Does a Cremation Burial Plot Cost?
A cremation burial plot is a sort of hybrid between a traditional plot and a cremation. The remains are cremated, then interred in a burial plot. Cremation plots take up less space, allowing multiple urns to be buried next to each other. This makes it easier for people to create companion plots, family plots or something more unique, like a memorial garden.
Cremation burial plots vary in cost based on numerous factors, including location, whether or not a full headstone is used and whether multiple urns are buried in the same plot. However, average costs usually start at $200 and increase to thousands of dollars. Keep in mind that this is just the cost of the plot, and not any service, headstone or the cremation itself.
What Are the Cost Savings for Cremation Over Burial?
As noted above, the average cremation cost is around $1,100. Like cremations, burials can range widely in pricing as well. That being said, the average cost of an all-inclusive burial is a little over $7,500.
If you take the average cremation and the average full burial, the cost savings quickly become apparent: A cremation (without a burial) can save you roughly $6,400 over the cost of a burial.
There is no question that the cost of a cremation can shift based on various factors. These factors include holding a memorial service, processing the remains into something long-lasting like jewelry and traveling to spread the ashes. However, on average, a cremation can save you quite a bit of money over a funeral, particularly when compared to the cost of a full burial.