Cheap Funerals

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When a loved one dies, comparison-shopping is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.

But the average funeral costs over $7,000. That’s a lot of money, even if we weren’t living at a time with 10% unemployment. A Hartford Courant story tackles the normally taboo topic of spending less on funerals:

“When you can’t afford the cost of living, you certainly can’t afford the cost of dying,” says Joshua Slocum, director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit, funeral industry watchdog organization. “We’re hearing from funeral directors and consumers that the economy is affecting choices. People are planning ahead. They’re reconsidering long-held traditions for simpler, more personalized funerals.”

What a world we live in: Who knew there was such a thing as a “funeral industry watchdog organization”?

Among the trends involving the recently deceased: The number of cremations, which are considerably less expensive than traditional burials, are way up, and discount retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco are selling caskets and urns.

Also, because land is so expensive and traditional burials are losing ground to cremations, towns are increasingly less likely to devote space to cemeteries.