As funeral costs continue to rise is it time to opt-out?

With funeral costs on the rise is it now time to ‘opt out’ in favour of a more minimalist approach?

It seems like nothing is good value for money these days. Even death. Not the actual act of dying – the government hasn’t figured out a way to tax us on that… yet. It’s funeral costs that really get you in the wallet. So, how much does it actually cost to have a funeral? Whatever figure you have in mind you’ll probably need to double it! In fact, funeral costs differ quiet largely across the country. If like me, you are always on the lookout for a bargain here’s a roundup of where to die to get the most bang for your buck/cheapest funeral.

Let’s start with the 10 most expensive because, why not. If you’re dying (pun intended, goodness knows why) to discover where in the country funeral costs are at their lowest well, you just go and scroll on down.

  1. Watford £5,814 (avg. cost of a funeral)
  2. London £5,749
  3. Redhill £5,352
  4. Guildford £5,317
  5. Liverpool £5,157
  6. Newport £5,149
  7. Brighton £5,013
  8. Halifax £4,976
  9. Salisbury £4,959
  10. Aberdeen £4,942

And now the 10 most cost-effective places to die…

  1. Birmingham £4,265 (avg. cost of a funeral)
  2. Cleveland £4,308
  3. Doncaster £4,345
  4. Dartford £4,347
  5. Sheffield £4,361
  6. Reading £4,366
  7. Bournemouth £4,378
  8. York £4,380
  9. Bath £4,380
  10. Worcester £4,395

Where does your hometown sit in the funeral cost league table? View the full list here.

Unsurprisingly London and its leafy Surrey suburbs rank highly in the where-not-to-die stakes, with funeral costs in Watford edging close to £6,000.  We were, however, pretty surprised to see Bath, one of the country’s most affluent towns, languishing near the bottom end of the funeral costs scale a snip at just £4,380. But, it’s Birmingham that takes the best value funeral costs crown coming in at a shade over £4,250. Although, that is a LOT of money. Funeral costs are no joke.

Is £6,000 STILL a lot of money?

You REALLY don’t get as much as you used to for your pound (don’t mention Brexit) but, is £6,000 still a lot of money? Let’s give it some perspective. These days £6,000 will get you a loaf of freshly baked Waitrose Focaccia OR a small northern town. I’m kidding (ish) nowadays £6k will get you a family holiday JUST (don’t even get me started), or, almost all of a Dacia Sandero, which are £6,995 new – both of which do seem a far better investment than a funeral or, maybe that’s just me (it’s not though is it). The silly analogy’s aside I’m sure you’ll agree that £6k for a funeral is a ridiculously large amount of money. But, why does it cost so much? It’s not like Funeral Directors are going to run out of clients, is it? We are ALL going to die.

Why are funeral costs so high?

The funeral industry is worth a whopping £2 billion and funeral costs have gone up every year for the last 14 years. Rising an incredible 33% in 2016 alone! But why? The cynics may say that they are praying on people at their most vulnerable. OTHER people, however, may refer to our statement at the opening of this article – EVERYTHING is getting more expensive and that means Funeral Directors running costs.

Although, in January of this year Dignity, the UK’s only public listed funeral company, reduced the cost of their cheapest funeral by 25% – wiping £500m off the value of their company in the process! After more than a decade of price hikes, Watchdog launched an investigation in June to see if people are being charged too much it looks like there may be a change in the funeral industry – watch this space.

How to keep funeral costs down

Don’t have one.

We’re serious.

We’re not suggesting burying your nearest and dearest under the lawn, there are laws against that. What we’re talking about is a minimalist funeral. Don’t waste money on having a funeral because that’s what “we do”, what’s expected of us. Opt-out. Break with tradition and don’t have a hugely expensive funeral. It’s actually not as crazy an idea as it sounds and the whole non-funeral, funeral it’s becoming increasingly common. David Bowie, reportedly, didn’t have a funeral. Preferring, instead to go down the minimalist route. The average cost of a minimalist funeral? £1,000.

Or, have it in Birmingham.

What is a minimalist funeral?

A minimalist funeral is when the body is taken directly from the hospital or home and cremated – no ceremony and no mourners. The ashes are then scattered by the undertakers or given to the family. This type of funeral costs around £1,000.

But it’s more than just about saving money. Breaking the Victorian funeral tradition, I don’t think is a bad thing. Many of us do not have faith – why then would you want a church service? And, watching the curtains close on the coffin although pretty dramatic, it’s something that we could probably do without. Do you know what I’d do? I’d take that £3,000 I saved on funeral costs and throw everyone a HUGE PARTY. I want my friends to drink, dance and laugh the way we’ve always done.

Everyone will need some sort of funeral at some point we ALL should be paying a fair price for a quality service regardless of whether you opt for a horse-drawn carriage affair or get taken out of the back door of the hospital straight to the crematorium.

There are many other types of funerals available including many eco options, find out more here.

How can you ensure your funeral wishes are carried out?

Tell people. I know that we all have an aversion about talking about DEATH. But if you don’t tell people what you want then how will they know. Do mention the D WORD lets start breaking down the taboo. Also, write a Will, here you can document your funeral wishes. You just need to hope your family looks at your Will before they hold your funeral!

Should you need to write a new Will or update an existing one get in touch today – 01322 664885 or email

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