Cremation Vs. Burial

There are two ways to look at cremation versus burial; through a religious lens and through a financial viewpoint. Both are equally important and should be given consideration.

cremation vs. traditional burial

More people are choosing cremation over traditional burial every year. Cremation; both flame-based and water-based was the subject of several TV shows and the cover story for Time Magazine recently. Religious beliefs and financial considerations are the two driving factors.

Jewish & Muslim religions.

Members of most Jewish sects and all Muslims are strictly forbidden to cremate. In fact, it is the only time in the Jewish religion when it is permissible and mandatory for children to go against their parents’ wishes. Reformed Jews do cremate and the taboo seems to be lifted as they are the fastest growing group choosing cremation as a means of final disposition.

Christian religions.

Cremation has been permissible in the Protestant faiths since its’ inception. The Roman Catholic Church was given the nod since 1963. It should be noted that cremation is condoned, not recommended. The preferred means of final disposition for Christians is traditional, in-ground burial.

Cremation versus burial costs.

For many comparing cremation costs to burial costs is where the rubber meets the road. There can be a considerable price variance between the two means of disposition. At the opposite extremes, in Oregon one can get a direct cremation for $350 while in Manhattan, a recent funeral for a celebrity cost $300,000.

On the average you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 – $2,000 for a direct cremation and from $1,600 – $3,000 for a cremation with a funeral service. The average cost of a traditional funeral in 2012 was between $6,500 and $7,700 according to the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association).

Cremation numbers are growing.

Ever since cremation numbers started climbing over traditional burials, funeral directors have had to adjust their sails and row in a new direction. There have been a growing number of people choosing the same funeral services as they would with a traditional burial except for the end result. They cremate instead of choosing to be buried.

More service offerings for cremation.

With the rise in cremation, also comes an increase in the use of cremation casket and rental caskets.

Both of these alternatives to traditional wood and metal caskets are surprisingly affordable and are readily available at all funeral homes.

There is no need to purchase a casket for thousands of dollars when you can spend under $100 for a cardboard casket and around $700 to $2,500 for a fully combustible casket that has the aesthetic appearance of a traditional burial casket. Even better, you can rent a burial casket for around $1,000 and purchase an “alternative container” for the cremation. Urns can be purchased through your funeral home or online for under $100 to specialty urns costling $2K.

Final thoughts.

In summary, you can have the funeral you always wanted for substantially less than a traditional funeral with burial, if you choose cremation instead of burial in a cemetery. You can still have a visitation, full funeral services (including a memorial service) and you can even choose to have your urn interred in a grave site designed to hold your cremains. The choices are yours and there are many.